Football Trading Foundations

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Football Strategy: Football Trading Foundations – How to Tap Into the Key Markets

I will be focusing here on the key tradable markets that we can use in Football In-running betting.

Here are the key tradable markets:

  • Match Odds
  • Correct Score
  • Over/Under 1.5 Goals
  • Over/Under 2.5 goals
  • Over/Under 3.5 Goals
  • Over/Under 4.5 Goals
  • Next Goal
  • Half-Time
  • Asian Handicap
  • Total Goals


The best markets to trade

From the above tradable football match inrunning markets, the following are the best markets to concentrate on, and will be most reactive to goals:

  • Match Odds
  • All Over/Under Goals markets
  • Correct Score
  • Total Goals

We have to think about liquidity when trading. If there is not enough market forces in a single market, then trading can be difficult.

Focus on match odds

The main focus of this article will be on the match odds market which has no problems with liquidity and market forces.

The match odds market is the traditional market where we can back (or lay) the home team to win (or not win – we win with the draw) away side to win (or not win), or the draw.

It is important to remember that laying any of the above eventualities is actually the equivalent of having two back bets on the other outcomes.

As you can see above, by laying Mallorca we are effectively backing Barcelona and the draw.

The match odds market and trading

I have spoken before about GOALS being the key, would a goal affect the above market?

If Barcelona score first, their odds will reduce because the market believes their chances of winning AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME, are enhanced.

Mallorca’s odds will increase because they now have to score two goals to win.

The draw odds will increase but not markedly because at 1-0 there is still a chance for opponents to score a goal and equalise.

This has happened here. Contrast the odds in the above screenshot with the odds in the first screenshot after Barcelona scored the first goal:


Original pre match odds 3.75

Odds after Barca score 9.4


Original pre match odds 2.32

Odds after they score 1.45


Original pre match odds 3.2

Odds after Barca score 4.6

How can we take advantage of these price movements?

The first thing we have to decide when trading the match odds market is which bet do we place?

There are six options:

1. Back the home team

2. Lay the home team

3. Back the away team 4. Lay the away team

5. Back the draw

6. Lay the draw

Back the home team

This type of bet is ideal if you actually fancy a team pre match OR expect the home team to be strong and score the first goal.

It can allow for a quick trade – trading the price movement BEFORE the goal and after the goal. Look for teams with distinct ability to score and score often – teams such as Barcelona spring to mind immediately. Although you are unlikely generally to get good prices, it is not the price that is the concern. It is the DIFFERENCE between the price you backed the team at, and the price after that team has, hopefully, scored first.

In the above game, Barcelona were 2.32 to back.

They scored first. Their odds reduced to 1.45 allowing us a nice profit, as you can see below. We have a free bet now on Barcelona, BUT in this unpredictable world, it really is better to spread the profit on all outcomes. (In this example, Barcelona scored first BUT eventually lost the game 2-1 -hence the disciplined approach of “greening up”.) In the above example, having backed at ?100, we need to LAY at ?100 to get our stake back and create a free bet.

BUT, if you want a “green screen” and a profit on all outcomes (because we never know!) then a simple rule is to lay using the stake you backed (in this case ?100), and ADD the profit you would like on the draw and Mallorca win.

In the above example, if you had laid Barcelona at 1.4 after they scored for a stake of ?166, you would have a profit on all outcomes of ?62. (This whole process is made a lot easier with bespoke software such as Fairbot.)

Trading by laying a team

In this example, laying a team can provide us with a huge price difference between the lay price pre goal and the lay price after a goal is scored by the opposition simply because the team you have laid, AFTER GOING A GOAL DOWN, now need to score two goals to score.

Remind yourself of Mallorca’s lay price pre goal (3.85 in the first screenshot) and compare that price with the price to back Mallorca after Barcelona scored first – the price reached 11.

If we lay at 3.85 we can effectively “buy back” our stake at much higher odds of 11 and, again spread the profit.

Again, note the right-hand side of the screen. We have nominally laid Mallorca for a stake of ?100 with a liability of ?275.

The idea with trading is to negate any liability or stake AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. Barcelona score a goal.

The market thinks that Mallorca will find it difficult to score two and thus win the match so the odds to back Mallorca reach 11. Remember we have to NEGATE LIABILITIES OR STAKE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

A stake of ?34 backing Mallorca at the much greater odds than you laid them will produce a green screen of ?62 ON ALL OUTCOMES.


Mallorca actually won this game 2-1. Lay the draw The draw in this game was 3.1 to back and 3.2 to lay before any goals had been scored.

Now you have no doubt heard about laying the draw, and this is a good example of laying the draw. Barcelona scored, and the draw price increased to 5.1.

Note that this price difference is much shorter than you will find laying Mallorca – simply because it is entirely within the realms of possibility that, at 1-0 only, the losing team can equalise.

Again, the green up profit is lower than that found by backing Barcelona or laying Mallorca.

The advantages of laying the draw is that it involves BOTH teams. The hope is that the team the market favours will score first (in this case Barcelona scored first and they are renowned goal scorers).

If Mallorca scored first, the market would have expected a draw to be the next outcome simply because of the power of Barcelona.

In this case, you may not have seen the price rise you want to enable a profit, and may have to settle for a loss.

How do we determine who is going to score first?

In a future article as part of this series I will be focusing specifically on techniques we can use to actually determine the trading decisions we are going to make. For a sneak preview, check out the article on actually laying short priced football teams.


Enhanced bets – the sole preserve of the match odds market

Let me use the above game as an example.Let’s say that, in this case, you noticed that Barcelona had already won La Liga (which they had and thus this game represented an unwelcome distraction with the match holding no real significance for Barcelona)… that Barcelona have a Champions League Final to prioritize with the League now wrapped up (which they did)… that Barcelona were playing with a weakened side minus Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi and without their usual first choice goalkeeper and defensive unit purely to keep these players fit for the Champions League showdown… and that Barcelona were playing away from home.

Barcelona’s odds pre match of 2.32 are representative of the above factors (they usually are priced up at 4/9, 1/3, 1 / 4, 1/5).

A good argument then for perhaps taking a chance on Mallorca. BUT, we decided not to get involved and see what happened in this game. BARCELONA SCORE FIRST! Interesting given the above factors.

If you have convinced yourself that Mallorca can still play some part in this game despite being a goal down, you have two enhanced bets options:

1) You can lay Barcelona at 1.45 (their price to lay pre match being 2.32 – we, as layers, always want to lay at the lowest price necessary).

2) You can back Mallorca. Their price now is 11. Their price pre match is 3.85. Here you can place a tenner and hope for the best.

Even if Mallorca equalise we can still trade out for a profit at 1-1 because Barcelona are no longer winning (hence the 1.45 price at 1-0 will increase) and Mallorca are closer to winning at 1-1 as compared to 1-0 down (remember the price of 11 assumes Mallorca score two goals to no reply against a team renowned for scoring, albeit with a stronger squad and better motivation than was seen on this occasion).

FINAL SCORE – 2-1 Mallorca.

In this case the bet came in and you backed a team at nearly 3/1 pre kick-off, at a massive 10/1!

This is not an isolated incident as I have highlighted in my eletters:

Man Utd 1-0 down to Wigan – Man Utd go on to win

Man Utd 2-0 down to Spurs – Man Utd go on to win

Bordeaux 1-0 down to Le Mans – Bordeaux go on to win

A quick guide for enhanced bets success next season

The key to this form of betting is not to plan for an enhanced bet, rather to stumble across an opportunity. I was following the Man Utd game against Wigan, and Wigan happened to score first. THEN I POUNCED!

I did not expect Wigan to score first – then again I didn’t expect Man Utd to be two goals down to Spurs either.

These surprises will happen and the key to success is not to plan the bets, BUT to plan in which matches these bets are likely to occur.

In the above two matches, the market was telling you it expected a Man Utd win in both cases. I expected a Man Utd win in both cases.

1) Go to Go to Sports. Under Soccer click on Today’s In-play coupon which will list all of the day’s football matches which are in play and thus tradable!

2) Look for all home and away teams priced at 1.5 and lower (preferably 1.4 and lower). Expectation here is for those sides to win their matches.

3) Do some research at along the lines found in the laying short odds football teams article, just to increase your confidence in the prices being justified.

4) If you want to, open up Betfair’s unique LIVE SCORE facility – select the leagues you are interested in, and ensure the sound is on – this will alert you to a goal without you needing to constantly monitor. Simply react to the beep when a goal is scored.

5) If any of your shortlisted “bankers” find themselves a goal down, consider either laying their opponents or backing them at enhanced odds.


The opportunities are many and are not limited to the favourites going a goal down. No! What if it’s still 0-0 with 80 minutes on the clock? You can still back the team then in the hope they will prevail (in the knowledge this is a game of 90 minutes) – or you could, of course lay the draw.

Last season, for instance, I backed Celtic at odds of 10 in the 90th minute against a team they were priced to beat. Shunsuke Nakamura took a last gasp free kick and WON THE MATCH FOR CELTIC 1-0.

Backing at such odds means stakes can be minimised and returns (potential returns) maximised! The bets will not always bear fruit because we are hoping for the unexpected – A SURPRISE – but at least we know we are getting good odds ALL THE TIME. It’s a simple bet based on the element of surprise.

I am sure you can recount your own personal experiences with late goals (prevalent this Premiership season) and you will no doubt recall 10 man Barcelona nick a late goal in THAT match -here you would have laid Chelsea to cover the draw OR backed the draw as late as possible in the game to get the biggest odds (if backing) or the shortest odds on Chelsea (if laying) – if you kept faith with Barcelona in the Champions League Semi-Final. The unexpected can occur, and you can gain from it. So next season, watch out (or rather don’t watch out) and let the enhanced bets come to you.

– A favoured team goes a goal down

– It’s a draw and the game is in the 80th+ minute GET ON AND MAKE A VALUE BET! If you continuously back 1/3 shots at 5/2 you are always getting value!

Bottom line I hope you can see with the match odds market that there is scope for trading and profiting from trading.

I hope I have shown you the impact a goal can have for the backer or the layer and how you can profit from it, and I want to remind you that in this day and age there is software to do all the calculations for you – my preferred software is Fairbot from

I hope, too, that I have shown you how the price fluctuations can lead to enhanced betting opportunities where your outlay in relation to possible return is huge.

Most recently, I backed Lokomotiv Sofia (originally 1.25 pre game) at EVENS when they went a goal down. I greened up for ?25 profit BUT I could have made ?100 had I kept this bet, and kept faith in the original price being reflective of their chances. The scope is great here!

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