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Author Topic: Sports Trading  (Read 1598 times)

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Sports Trading
« on: February 24, 2018, 08:45:18 PM »
So far, I haven't discovered a method to win at roulette longterm. I can't say the same for sports trading. It is the method I use to make the majority of my income. I know there are people from many jurisdictions on the forum. For some sports trading won't be possible due to the absence of a betting exchange. If you do have access to a betting exchange, preferably Betfair then you can make longterm profit. Alternatives are Betdaq, Smarkets and Matchbook. If you know of others, especially available outside the UK please let us know.

The sports I specialise in are horse racing and tennis, although I do dabble in football (soccer) occasionally.

Prerequisites for successful sports trading.

An account with a betting exchange that supports in play betting.
Software for the exchange that allows you to submit bets faster than their website does. (Bet Angel, Geeks Toy, Cymatic Trader to name a few, most have a 1 month free trial.)
A reasonably fast computer.

Rather than betting the outcome of an event we are trading price movements. I have included a Betfair guide which teaches the basics, but ignore the sections on bonus bagging and bookmaker arbitrage as that isn't related to trading. I will share with you the methods I use to make money in future posts. Once you meet the prerequisites there is nothing else to buy. All the information required is available on free websites.

If this is an area of betting that interests you please let me know by thanking the post or leaving a comment, so I can guage whether there is enough interest to continue.

Thanks Iain
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Re: Sports Trading
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 08:42:23 AM »

Ever tried smarkets? It has a lower commission than BF and is much more user-friendly IMO. It doesn't have the liquidity of BF but things have improved a lot over the last couple of years. Not that I do much trading, I tried it a few years ago but found it stressful being glued to the computer for hours on end. Perhaps I was doing it wrong.  ;D

Anyway, I'm interested in learning how a real pro goes about it.


Re: Sports Trading
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2018, 12:50:12 PM »
Any reasonable info on how to trade multiple choice? Like many team results in single ( multiple ) tickets?


Re: Sports Trading
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2018, 03:04:11 PM »

Yes I have an account with all the exchanges mentioned above including Smarkets which is needed when Betfair goes down and I quickly need to close a trade. In my first post I mentioned trading software which isn't currently available for Smarkets, so I only use them as a backup. The majority of trading I do is in play, apart from Betfair the in play liquidity is very poor at the other exchanges. If you have to accept a much poorer price because of poor liquidity then lower commission is no advantage. Trading can be stressful but it is more likely you were using too large stakes for your experience.

Many newcomers learn a trading strategy and believe they can use it on every horse race, football or tennis match, that is certainly not the case. I certainly don't spend hours in front of the computer screen. I look through the racing card in the morning and decide then which races I will trade and there will be absolutely no loss chasing. For tennis I use flashscores, select tennis and live games. there are different sound effects for game won, break of serve, set won and match won. these alerts prompts me to look at the stats for the match and decide whether to open a trade or not.

I suggest you treat trading as a business and you must adopt a trading mindset. The downfall of many would be traders is to let the gambling mindset take over. For example trading horse racing pre race some people convince themselves that a trade going against them will magically turn around. Then they let it go in play and are facing a massive loss if the horse doesn't perform. Remember you will be using much larger stakes for trading than you would for straight betting. However, initially I suggest setting aside a trading bank of £100 and use £2 stakes. Completely write off this money as already lost. Tell yourself that £100 is your learning fee. If you can do that it will make accepting losses much easier.


You cannot bet multiples on the exchange. When you select multiples on Betfair you are redirected to their sportsbook. With a sportsbook you are facing the bookies overround, while on the exchange there is no overround, so you will always be laying at higher odds than you are backing. The only thing I have seen is a spreadsheet for exploiting bookmaker bonuses on multiples. If that is what interests you I will try and find the spreadsheet?
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Re: Sports Trading
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 08:49:40 AM »

I think the reason I found it stressful was because I didn't really have any clear plan or system for selecting potentially good trades, I was just winging it. It wasn't so much because I was using large stakes, although as you say, you must use  larger stakes than in traditional betting, so I suppose that DOES contribute to the stress. It's a little like arbitrage in that respect, although riskier of course.

I look through the racing card in the morning and decide then which races I will trade and there will be absolutely no loss chasing.

Which raises the question : how do you select a potentially profitable trade? What is it that makes one trade riskier than another? Trading is probabilistic, just as using a rating system is, or betting based on form analysis, etc. Do you analyse trading histories for certain kinds of events, looking for patterns? I think I'm right in saying that BF provides this kind of data.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 09:19:21 AM by Mike »
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Re: Sports Trading
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2018, 01:22:54 PM »
I do pre race and in play trading.

The approach is different for both, with pre race I am more interested in current price movements and use the graphs from Betfair or the trading software to determine short term price movement. I don't do any pre race analysis for this type of trading.

In play trading you are looking for horses that have previously traded well and/or historically like to lead at the start of a race. I use 3 websites, Patternform, Attheraces and Timeform. To see the required information you need to be a member of Patternform and Timeform, but it is free and there is no commitment to buy anything. Patternform: go to the Moneyform card for today and select the race you are interested in, select Pace V3 and this displays a page with the runners and pace numbers. The lower the number the more likely it is to lead especially if there is only one horse with a low number. Attheraces: go to the racecard and select the race you are interested in (you can select all races from 1 meeting on a single page.) Click on pace and you will see similar information but displayed graphically. Timeform: You can get the Betfair SP plus how low/high the horse traded in running for previous races. There is a hints section telling you how likely the lead will be contested plus horses(s) that have previously traded well. In order to watch races live on Betfair you need to place a minimum bet of £5, but if you are using smaller stakes just place a back bet and a lay bet for £5 on the favourite. It will only cost you if the favourite wins. eg. back £5 @3.20 and lay £5 @3.25 will cost you £0.25 if the horse wins and nothing if it loses.

Once you have a contender you think will trade well, you can approach it two different ways. You can trade live in running and if the horse doesn't contest the lead you can get out straightaway only costing you a small loss. If it does lead you have options to take out part of your stake, green up or wait and see, but if it looks like losing the lead GET OUT.

The other method is dobbing (DOB = double or bust). This is where you aim for a 100% return on your stake. Say you back a horse with £10.00 @10.00, you submit a lay bet at half the odds and double the stake, so £20.00 @5.00, selecting the keep in play option. If the horse drops to 5.00 or below then you earn £10, if it doesn't you lose £10. This is a cross between trading and gambling, but is certainly less stressful than live trading. Of course you can aim for a smaller profit, but will always lose your entire stake if it doesn't meet it. I will leave the Pre race selection method for another time.
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Re: Sports Trading
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2018, 08:05:06 AM »
Thanks Iain, very interesting.
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Re: Sports Trading
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2018, 02:53:04 PM »
A few things I need to add to yesterdays post about trading in play. There are some things we want to know regarding the horses experience and profit potential.

1. Distance: Is this the horses preferred distance or is its trainer trying something new? We want to trade with a high chance of success and don't want to speculate on the horses ability to adapt to unfamiliar conditions.
2. Class: Is the horses class the same as its previous 3 runs? Classes for horse racing in the UK range from 1 to 6, class 1 being the highest. If a horse is moving down in class it is likely because it isn't performing at its current class, but that by no means confirms it will perform at the lower class. There can be other reasons it isn't performing, health, fitness etc. A horse moving up in class is likely performing well at its current class but will it be able to handle the stiffer competition?
3 Going: the going describes the condition of the ground and some horses perform much better on their preferred ground. So we want to confirm it can handle the ground.

All of the above can be found at Patternform. Using The Pace V3 I previously mentioned, the leftmost column of numbers are the pace predictions for todays race. The other columns show its actual pace in previous races with the second column being its most recent. Next to its previous races is a C and D symbol, which may have a plus or minus sign next to it. That indicates whether that race was a higher or lower class or distance. When you hover over any of the previous races it will tell you in abbreviated form the date, class, going, race type, race value, a short description of how it ran and its opening price.

Distance: If the race we are considering trading is long, beyond 1 mile 4 furlongs then a front runner at the start will have less impact and you should concentrate on its previous trading history at the same distance, available at Timeform.

The horses price: Clearly there is a huge difference between trading a horse @10.00 than @2.00. I prefer trading larger prices as the potential profit is higher. In fact I often trade horses with 3 figure prices, 100.00+.
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Re: Sports Trading
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 07:58:49 AM »

It seems you focus on horse racing in your trading, any thoughts on soccer? It seems to me that it might be less volatile, although I could be wrong.


Re: Sports Trading
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2018, 05:13:06 PM »

You are right, trading soccer is less volatile. In fact trading in play the odds move in a predictable uniform manner. Unless you are attempting to trade cards or corners (very poor liquidity) then you are relying on goals, either being scored or not. With an average goals scored of between (2 and 3, depending on league), a goal is a very significant event and has a huge impact on the odds. For example, if you back an outcome which is winning at the start and will win outright if there are no goals in the match, 0-0 correct score, under 2.5 goals or draw in match odds, as time passes the odds will drop and you will be able to secure a profit. One thing is at the very start of the match, odds movement often stalls for the first five minutes, so it can make sense to delay your entry. Of course when you are on the other side of the fence and you need goal(s) then you will profit when a goal is scored, if early enough. Lay 0-0 you will gain profit provided there is a goal scored at any time, but as you are trading you don't want to risk your entire stake so you need to set a stop loss. Backing over 2.5 goals, you will profit if a goal is scored in the first half. However, a goal at the end of the first half means you will at best be in a break even position and you now need another goal reasonably early in the second half. Betting on either team to win or laying the draw (a famous strategy) you will be in a profitable position if you backed the team that scored. Laying the draw still depends who scored the goal.

If you lay the draw with a reasonably strong favorite and the underdog scores the first goal then the market will assume there will be an equaliser and the draw odds will shorten (laying first you need higher odds to back for a profit). Now you can exit for a small loss or wait and see. You either need the underdog to score another goal or the favorite to score 2. The exit point for most people is when the draw odds hits 2.00 (usually between 65'  and 70') which means you will lose the amount you staked or possibly a little more. Remember if you lay the draw @4.00 with £100 then your liability is £300. When you back it @2.00 with £200 you have secured a £100 loss regardless of outcome.

Here is a list of pros and cons for trading soccer.

Odds move slower with predictable movement.

You can mix and match different markets to protect your stake/enhance your profit.

It can be very exciting, especially trading correct score.

A single goal can produce a substantial profit.

Lack of goals can produce a substantial profit.

Betfair suspends the market when a goal is scored, a penalty awarded or a red card issued. When a goal is scored Betfair cancels all bets in the market and it will take time (2-3 minutes) for the market to reform. If there is a second quick goal you will be facing a much larger loss than intended because you couldn't close your trade.

Even worse is when Betfair is trigger happy with the suspend and often they will suspend the market when no significant event has occurred. Often the market can remain suspended for several minutes.

You intend trading a match that is scheduled to support in play betting so you open your trade before the match starts. However, the match suspends at the start and never opens for in play betting. Usually happen because Betfair has problems with their live feed.

A single goal can produce a substantial loss.

Lack of goals can produce a substantial loss.

Requires a lot of analysis which is very time consuming.
The biggest problem is the Betfair suspension which can wipe out many successful trades. You can approach Betfair for a refund. Good luck with that they have covered themselves in their T & C's.

So soccer isn't my favorite sport to trade, but I do it occasionally.
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