The Anatomy Of A Trade

Having structure to my trading is something that is fundamental to my success.

This can be broken down into many parts. You could call it a checklist of sorts. If the boxes are not all checked, then the bet doesn’t happen. This is my method.

  1. Analysis the data
  2. Define an entry point
  3. Have a exit strategy
  4. Protect my bank

Analysis of data

This could also be called “have a reason to bet”. I think the number one mistake made by people is they bet without reason or discipline. If you ever enter a trade or bet on something because “you fancy it” without regard to the price your getting or the stake you are using. Then I can pretty much guarantee you are one of the people the pro’s feed off. That sort of bet is ok if you spend your time down the betting shop all afternoon, or you don’t really care if you win or lose. If you want to take your betting seriously and want to move on to a level where you actually make money from watching and betting on sport, having a reason to bet is a good place to start.

To help me explain how I structure a trade, I am going to walk though a real example of a trade I have been setting up in the game on Friday 15th Feb in the Bundesliga between  Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich.I am using a  bank of £1000 in this example. The most I am prepared to lose is 2% of this bank or £20. I am flexible +/- a very small amount.

I use match profiling extensively through the BetformPro soccer statistics software. My analysis of this fixture has turned up something I think is a way to profit from it. In the past 25 matches that have involved Wolfsburg at home and Bayern away against similar level of opposition has produced goals in the first 10 minutes in 13 of these matches or 52%. So the odds of a very early goal are 1.92 or 10/11. I need to find a way of exploiting this powerful statistic.

Define An Entry point

My entry point here is to back OVER 2.5 goals for the first 10 minutes of the match. Looking at the goal expectation on Sporting Index which is 3. I can work out that the expected drift in over 2.5 goals will be from 1.77 . My intention is to stay in the market for the first 10 minutes and see if an early goal is scored. According to the stats we have a 52% chance of success. If a goal is scored I expect the Over 2.5 goal odds to be 1.35 at 10 minutes.

Have an Exit Strategy

Ok, so we know we are entering the market at 1.77 and if a goal is scored we can exit in profit. What if there isn’t a goal? What is our plan? What stake do we use?

With the expectation of an early goal I think the odds will hold up well, before an accelerated decay around 8/9 minutes. By 10 minutes Overs will be at around 2.02 (if the match starts at 1.79) Sometimes some adjustment is needed. let me recap some of the things we know.

Entry: 1.77

Exit if no goal: 2.02

Exit if goal: 1.35

Stake: Unknown

Max loss (Stop Loss) 2% of £1000 bank = £20


I know the closing odds are 2. £20 /2 = 10. My stake needs to be around 10 times £20 = £200.

The “what if” feature on the Betfair market page helps here.

Anatomy of a trade bf screen


So what if there is an early goal? I expect to be able to take around 1.35. If you have trading software (Highly recommended) it’s a 1 click operation and the calculations are done for you.

This is a screen I hope to see. Two nice green numbers.  A profit of £62.22 (less commission)

trade out

There are other alternatives when it comes to trading out. If you think there will be more goals, you could reduce your liability or even LAY overs at 1.35 for your total stake. This gives you zero liability and all your profit goes onto over 2.5 See below

reduce liabilityNo profit or loss if under 2.5 or £84 if over 2.5

Protect My Bank

The final, and most important part of the trade. Before I “pull the trigger” on a bet, I go over every aspect of the trade and double check all my figures.

  • What is the risk?
  • What is the reward?
  • Is the risk worth the potential reward given the “true” chance of success?

The risk is 2% of my bank (£20)

The reward is £59 or 5.9% increase to my bank. The risk v reward ratio is 1:3. I am winning 3 times my risk. a 3/1 chance in betting odds.

What is the “true” chance of success? The stats say 52% (10/11 chance)

So I getting odds of 3/1 for a nearly an evens shot. I think this trade passes the test.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and it helps you to understand who I put together a trade. A time of writing this on the morning of this match, the likelihood is the prices will chance slightly before kick off and the calculations be differ. However, it was not my intention to put this up as a “tip”. It was to show how a trade is constructed, and the sorts of things I go though before deciding to bet.

I welcome your comments and will do my best to give an honest and comprehensive answer to any queries.

I have received a comment on my Twitter account (@itsamugsgame) from someone with a very fair comment that I want to address/discuss. The poster asked why I don’t just back Time of 1st goal 0-10 mins for £20 at 4.7? This is of course an alternative and deserves a proper reply.

My reason for structuring the trade this way is I feel it offers me more flexibility. If there is a hold up in play using the time of 1st goal bet, the time is decaying while there is no prospect of a goal. Where as in the over 2.5 goals markets any hold ups in play see the market usually  I also have more flexible trade out options regarding part or all of my stake/profits. Of course there are other options and markets that can be used. Most of the markets are connected. This is a perfect example of that. I intended this post to be an insight into how I structure a trade as opposed to a tip. It was a good point though.

Update: I have just finished trading this scenario so I can share the result with you and explain how the trade went. I have made a video of the trade. The screen is the Bet Angel ladder interface.

As expected there was action straight from the start. At the 2 minute mark Bayern had a great chance to score from a cross, the striker headed just wide. The game was open and frantic, which backs up the stats that favoured an early goal. What i want to concentrate on here is the way the price moves as you watch the video. The video is 12 minutes long as I wanted to capture how the market moves for the whole time. The video is best watched in HD 720p for clarity.

You will see i put in my £200 at 1.77 a couple of minutes before the start, it gets matched just before the match goes in play. At 2 minutes into the match the price is BELOW the 1,77 I took. At 4 minutes it was 1.8 – potential loss £3.33. At 6 minutes 1.81 a loss of £4.22. At 8 minutes in a loss of £7.61 at 1.84. Just before 10 minutes the ball went out of play and I decided to trade out. I tried for 1.9 but eventually took 1.91 for a loss of £14.66.

In these 10 minutes there were 3 chances to score. The 1st one was a sitter. I could have stayed in until 14 minutes when the price hit the stop loss trigger. But I lost 1.46% of this bank.

Is this trade about predicting what will happen or making an informed judgement on the mathematical chances of something happening, turning that into a price point and applying a strategy that can take advantage of it with minimal risk for a greater reward? I am not bothered for 1 second that this trade lost. I had a great VALUE trade.


If you are interested in the Soccer profiling software that I mentioned. BetformPro. You can get a free 28 day trial.

BetForm Pro

17 thoughts on “The Anatomy Of A Trade

  1. Hi.

    From what I can see, your approach is based on using analysis of team form, pitch conditions, etc, to assess the true odds of what will happen. Given that the Betfair odds are known to be extremely accurate overall, how can you be confident that the market has got its assessment of the true price wrong?



    • That’s a really good question Jeff. It’s well known that the efficiency of the Betfair market runs to something like 99.8 % in the long term. Betting is all about opinions. I think for the most part many punters are not savvy. There are many reasons. 1) Lazy, they cannot be bothered or do not have the inclination to work out a bet. 2) They do not have the tools or information that is required. 3) They do not have the skill set required. etc etc. So by doing some or the hard yards you get to arrive an analysis that you think is a decent opportunity. If there have been 5000 people who have took part in a market I guarantee that the vast majority have not thought out the bet.
      If we use the Wolsburg as an example. Over 2.5 goals was expected in the market – hence the price of only 1.77. You would expect the market to behave in a certain way. If a short price on overs these odds usually drift in a predictable way throughout the match. I have a statistical model that gives me a price point at any given time in the match.But if you watch the video you will see that actually the price hardly moved for the majority of the first 10 minutes. Why? Because the game was frantic and open from the start, there were a couple of good chances in the first few minutes. The punters watching the match believed there was going to be a goal. By doing the pre match work I had already figured that out, and had a position open in the market ready to take advantage of it. Do I get it right all the time? No, of course not. But my risk is always less than the reward give my assessment of the “true” chance of success. The assessment is highly subjective. It’s based on MY opinion and usually backed up by my money being where my (big) mouth is 🙂 The game ended 0-2, so the market got it wrong. The efficiency is in the long term, there are always occasions when the market is wrong. The trick is using your skills to exploit this occasions.
      Does everyone who has put money into this market have access same information? Of course not. Does every bettor understand how markets behave? Not a chance.
      The debate about market efficiency is a fascinating one. But my “edge” comes form me making sure I know more than the average guy. Wether that is statistically, market understanding or knowledge of the sport I am betting on. Just small amounts give a big advantage.
      I hope this answers your excellent question. I hope you enjoy the blog and come back often.

      • Thanks for your reply.

        The question of market accuracy is one that fascinates and perplexes me.

        On the one hand, there are stats that prove how efficient the market overall (such as those at Also, there is a school of thought that says that the average of a huge number of people’s guesses about the true value of something is likely to be highly accurate – see for example – and that is arguably what the market price represents.

        All that said, your average punter probably isn’t an original thinker or massively intellectually curious. Not only that, people often like to follow the herd, which can result in trends lasting longer than is rational. If, as I suspect, the people who create the market price largely look at the same factors in much the same way, can we really expect the price to be bang on?

        So all in all, I’m undecided about market efficiency, although I agree with you that there will be instances where the market gets it wrong. The question is: how do I exploit the knowledge that some markets are incorrectly priced? I’ve tried backing drifters and laying steamers before, but with mixed results. I think the problem is that I’m up against insider information, and if a horse steams from 5/1 to 2/1, it might be that that’s because the trainer knows that it performed like an evens chance in training yesterday! Perhaps the way to identify likely value is to have a detailed knowledge of a sport that enables you to realise when the crowd is likely to have got it wrong.

        Any thoughts? 🙂


        • I think you have that just about right Jeff. Nowadays the access to information is incredible. Take a horse race, we can go though all the stats, form and make comparisons on statistical models and collateral form. But that thing that is always variable if we are dealing with human beings and animals. When you see tennis pros 2 sets and 4 games up in a match and they lose. How? They choke. The emotional side to sport kicks in. How many times have we seen a horse about to win and the jockey does something stupid, like dropping their hands. I think most gambles have nothing to do with insider information. Like you say the herd mentality kicks in. People feel safe in a crowd, they crave acceptance and confirmation. You will see many of my trades and think? Why the hell is he saying that? Well, if you swim with the crowd you will lose.
          The best way to learn about betting is to spend the afternoon in your local bookies.Things will become very clear after that. I don’t think you need detailed knowledge, but I think you need to know how to use what info you have to it’s best advantage.
          I think sometimes we are all guilty of over thinking, looking for reasons that are not there. I think a lot could improve their betting by finding more creative ways to collect and use the information thats around.

  2. hi there,

    Good read, always interested in how seasoned pros approach their trade. Just one question, you mentioned in the article that there had been 13 occasions out of the 25 that there had been a goal in the first 10 mins in matches these two teams have played. I also get this at 52% but that makes it a 1.92 chance and not 1/2?

    • The dangers of writing something at 2:00am 🙂 I have amended the page and thank you for pointing it out. I’m sure you agree this was still a great value trade. I thank you for pointing out this embarrassing error.

      • I was not trying to catch you out, and wouldve personal messaged you if i could. Obviously still a great value trade. Is this football software a good piece of kit? You could put the time in yourself to put some stats together but time is the biggest commodity in life!

        • This software is like an ATM.I have extensive databases of stats and statistical models but once I saw this I don’t bother with them. I have only just touched the surface really. You can try it for free on the28 day trial. Nothing to lose. If you can’t make it pay for itself cancel.That’s the measure I use on all my betting tools. If they don’t pay for themselves they go. If you know how to work out implied odds v digital odds you will fill your boots. 🙂

  3. Yet another great read as soon as I saw the data put together the trade made complete sense and great value.

    My question is, with SO many matches to choose from over so many countries. How do you narrow down your trades?

    I could spend hours going on checking the goal markets e.t.c, then ofcourse you would have to wait for the line-ups of each match and then decide based on who is playing (compared against the top goal scorers e.t.c). It must take a very very long time to establish a single trade?

    I only ask because I have read two opinions so far of trading and I am trying to find my niche in the market:

    1) Knowledge is everything, making solid selections based on form and when the market is trading wrong.
    2) Throw all knowledge stats and form out the window, throw on some music and listen to/feel the market. I guess this is more true for scalping or swing trades though on high or medium volatile markets….


    • Hi Ash, Welcome to the blog. A really good (and tough) question, but I’ll give it a crack. Narrowing down trades come into a few different brackets. In no particular order.
      How much time do you want to dedicate doing research. For example if you wanted to interrogate certain markets such as 2.5 goals, BTTS or Asian Handicaps. You would need a searchable databased software package such as BetFormPro. (There is a banner on my home page). This will help you to find opportunities to exploit the markets you are interested in.
      Another way is to look at the matches with the highest liquidity. The popular European major Leagues for example. Each have their own nuances. The idea being find a trade that gives what you perceive to be an edge.
      Many just trade the matches (or other events that are on TV)
      Once you have the criteria for a certain type of trade you can set up systems and spreadsheets that will go though 100’s of matches in a few minutes. It’s then a case of filtering down and throwing out unsuitable trades. I used to be able to do the whole European major leagues in a couple of hours. Like many things it’s about getting the ground work in place. This can take much longer.

      Your 2 opinions of trading are both correct.I do have strong opinions about certain markets. I use my experience and knowledge to try and make a profit from them, but while knowledge IS power. It can also be a hinderance.
      Every type of market has it’s own behavioural differences. Take a racing market. It behaves differently at 10:00am in the morning to the way it does 5 minutes before the start time. Some markets are effected by time decay, while others like cricket and Football change completely after a event such as a goal or wicket.
      You can frame a market and have all the stats you like, but things happen in Sporting events that defy stats. Take last night’s Holland Quarter Final.You spend hours compiling information on the goal keepers as you have an idea that penalties might come into it. Then 10 seconds before the end of ET, LVG brings on a sub keeper.
      It’s surprising how quickly you can tune into markets and gain an understanding of what makes them tick. It’s the most challenging and exciting part of this whole business.

      Hope this goes some way to answering your question

  4. Like this mate….but how do you go about finding these trades…do you check through every fixture during the day for goals, corners and other stats or do you have a tool that throws them up cheers

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