Correct Score Trading Strategy for Betfair Football Markets

Football stadium full of fans

In my opinion, correct score trading is by far the most enjoyable way to trade football on Betfair.

It's not easy to predict exact football results since a match can end 0-0, 4-0, 3-3 or any other score. However, it's this challenge that makes trading correct scores so exciting!

The key is to get enough result predictions spot on, so that the overall profit is more than enough to cover the losses. That's definitely a balancing act which takes a bit of practice. Is it worth all that effort? You bet!

In this article I will explain how to go about correct score prediction, how the betting exchange Correct Score markets work and how to trade them profitably. I will also share some ideas for correct score trading strategies that you can use this weekend.


How do Correct Scores Work?

You probably know how Match Odds markets work; there are three possible outcomes; home win, away win and draw. It's a simple market and one which many beginners use when they start trading football.

However, the Betfair Correct Score market has nineteen possible scores!

Here's an example of the Betfair CS market for a game between Tottenham and Manchester City.

Betfair correct score market for the Premier League fixture between Tottenham and Manchester City

Backing the away win in the Match Odds market covers 0-1, 1-3, 0-4 and even an exciting 2-5 away win! However, if you choose correct score betting then you need predict which exact score will come in.

You don't need me to tell you that it's far more difficult to determine that Manchester City will win 1-3 than it is to simply to predict that they will win the game.

Of course, the market knows this and you will get a much better price for Manchester City to win 1-3.


What does 'Any Other' Mean?

At the bottom of the Correct Score market, you will also notice three more score options:

  1. Any Other Home Win
  2. Any Other Away Win
  3. Any Other Draw

These cover scores in which at least one of the teams scores four (or more) goals.

For example, 'Any Other Home Win' covers 4-1 while 'Any Other Draw' will pay out if a game ends 4-4.

These scores are not too common, even when strong 'elite' teams are playing against much weaker opposition. The prices can be very attractive, but you won't hit them often.


Correct Score Betting

It would be nice if you could place a few correct score bets, then get on with your life while your winnings mount up. But in the real world, of course, that simply doesn't happen.

The better prices do open up the opportunity of using a correct score Dutching betting system whereby you back a number of likely scores all at once in the hope of hitting one of them. However, you're still not going to hit winner after winner.

And if you have any thoughts of hitting a correct score accumulator... forget it! 

It's simply not realistic and you will make the bookies a bit more profit. Sure, someone somewhere is going to get very lucky and hit a big correct score acca at some point, but someone is also going to win the lottery (probably not me or you!).

What is Dutching? Dutch Betting Explained & FREE Calculator
What is Dutching? Well, firstly it has nothing to do with the Netherlands! Here is our complete guide to Dutch betting, including a FREE Dutching calculator.

Correct Score Trading

Trading correct scores gives you many more opportunities to manage risk and bank profits. In my opinion, it's much better than picking out some correct scores and then betting that one of them will be the end result when the final whistle blows.

You can still Dutch a number of scores and take advantage of the bigger odds. But with trading, you are able to chip away at the liability and - if things go to plan - lock in some profit before the game ends.

Correct score trading can be really quite simple or as complicated as you wish to make it. I guess that’s the beauty of this particular market on Betfair; it is incredibly flexible.

Of course, In order to have profit (green) somewhere on a Betfair market, there also has to be liability (red).

The same as every other football trader, you are in complete control of your liability. You can choose exactly how much red you are prepared to risk from your betting bank in order to potentially reward yourself with green.

We all love big wins, but are you able to take a bigger loss on the chin too?

If not, scale the risk back a bit. There are plenty of options to suit everyone, that’s for sure.

Scales balancing "Risk" and "Reward".

Finding Correct Score Trades

There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to find suitable games for trading. They all revolve in some way around past performance, whether it be recent form or previous seasons.

I don’t have a crystal ball which I can use as a football scores predictor and I’m assuming that you don’t either, so we work with what we have. At Goal Profits, for example, members have access to various Team Stats shortlists which are generated daily.

Seasonal performance is the most obvious method of finding matches to trade.

You will look for teams which perform consistently, perhaps scoring plenty of goals or keeping lots of clean sheets. That will give you a pointer as to what you can expect in future fixtures. 

Remember that football is a wonderfully random game, so accurate correct score prediction is not easy.

Would you predict the final score of Chelsea v Crystal Palace the same as Chelsea v Liverpool? Probably not, but both could end up with exactly the same result.

Oh... and Barcelona always score right? Wrong! Even the best teams have a 0-0 result now and again.

Final score showing Getafe 0 Barcelona 0.

A correct score prediction formula which tends to be popular is looking at recent results only, often known as "short form".

No team goes through an entire season playing at their very best; they go through periods of high performance but will suffer dips in form. Short-form traders find teams which are both playing well and anticipate that it will continue into the next fixture.

Some other traders use head-to-head results, known as "H2H". The idea is that lightning often does strike twice but, with managers and players moving around so much these days, it's not a method I rely on myself.

H2H does give me some added confidence if I see that the same fixture last season had goals, but that's about it.


Target Scores

Cartoon archery target with an arrow in the bullseye used to illustrate the point that football traders should always be working towards an overall target.

Once you find a fixture to trade, you need to decide on the scores you are going to target.

You may decide to Dutch two, three or more scores in the same match so that you have a bit of a 'scatter gun' approach.

For example, if you think that the final score will be 2-0 you may decide to cover 2-1 and 3-0 as well. When the home team goes 2-0 up you have a third goal covered either way. No stress there!

Also, when you find a fixture which has a strong chance of both teams scoring, you can ignore 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 and 0-1, 0-2, 0-3. This narrows down your target score options significantly. 

On the other hand, if there is a strong chance of both teams not scoring, you can ignore 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 1-3, etc.

Rather than try to predict full-time results of games - which is ridiculously difficult - it is much more profitable to trade around profits on target scores.

As long as you get near a target score or two in the second half, that will be enough. It allows you to use the green built up on target scores to guarantee a profit.

Big wins are nice, but trading is all about controlling losses so that those big greens do more than simply cover other losses.


How to Trade Correct Scores

Once you've backed your target scores and the game has kicked off, there are two elements to your trade:

  1. Reducing your liability (without creating too much risk).
  2. Banking a profit (without missing out on a bigger return).

Let's imagine you Dutch 1-2 and 2-1 target scores for a total of £10, perhaps using our free Dutching calculator to work out the stakes or football trading software such as Fairbot.

Once matched, you will have an equal profit on each target score and all of the other possible scores will have £10 liability.

In order to reduce that £10 liability (your original stake) you can lay other scores. For example, you could lay 0-0 for £10 and then just one goal would leave you with scratch - no profit or loss - and a free bet on 1-2 and 2-1.

The downside of this is that the 0-0 price to lay would be quite high - especially in the first half - which would leave you a much bigger loss should the game end with no goals scored (and any game can!).

Is it worth the risk? Only you know whether you can stomach big losses from time to time (I prefer to avoid them).

A better option is to wait for the 0-0 price to fall due to time decay. Or, you could lay additional scores, perhaps 0-0, 0-1 and 1-0 which would spread the risk. Alternatively, you could simply lay 0-0 for a much smaller amount so that the liability is comfortable.

A football team scores a goal.

After a goal is scored, you can lay again to chip away further.

Once you hit a target score, you can use the profit to reduce liability and/or lock in a guaranteed return. The later you hit a target score, the more profit you'll usually end up with because the price to lay will be lower.

The challenge here is to use the profit available before the next goal is scored... if another goal is scored... without laying off all your potential profit too quickly at higher prices.

As you can imagine, this is a fine balancing act! Sometimes you get it right, other times you wish you'd done something different. All you can do is make the best decision at the time and live with it.


Half-Time Correct Score

One way of hitting more accurate score predictions is to split matches in half.

Our Team Stats Database shows us that the average football match has 1.15 first half goals and the "Half-Time Score" Betfair market has ten outcomes rather than the nineteen in the full Correct Score market.

You will get more half-time score predictions right than when you target the full match and it's a fantastic option.

Betfair half-time correct score market for the Premier League fixture between Tottenham and Manchester City

No team ever has to score in the first half, which means that time decay works faster.

In other words, the 0-0 price falls at a faster rate and you are able to lay it with less liability should there be no goals.

In most games, the half-time 0-0 price will reach 2.00 by 25-30 minutes whereas the full match 0-0 price may still be in double figures. It's much more appealing.


Second Half Correct Score

As well as your first half correct score options, you can also wait until half-time before entering a trade.

With a second half correct score trade you use the full market, but the prices will have already moved a lot. For example, the 0-0 price will usually be around a third of what it was at kick-off. Quite a discount!

Whereas you will often be looking to target one goal in the first half, after half-time you can go after two or more goals much more confidently. Teams need to score goals in order to win matches and, as time runs out, the pressure mounts. 

Of course, you still may not wish to lay the correct score at half-time, but if you're patient the prices will come into range.

Red marker pen changing the word "impatient" to "patient"

At Goal Profits, we have an advanced strategy which goes after second half correct scores and achieves some really big profits.

All full members have access to it, once they have completed their initial trial period. As with all correct score trading, it's higher risk and requires some experience so we introduce it a little later on in our Launchpad football trading course.


Profit Expectations

Here are two very important statements:

  1. It is possible to make a monster profit from one correct score trade
  2. It is not possible to make a profit from every correct score trade

It only takes one big target score hit to make an entire weekend profitable but, without being able to predict football scores in the future, you don’t know in advance which match will be the big winner.

Your aim as a trader is to get away with scratch trades wherever possible and bank small profits when opportunities arise, while waiting for a match to go exactly as you predict. Once the big one hits, it’s all worthwhile.

Patience is key. There are likely to be runs of scratch trades and you cannot let temptation get the better of you. Wait for the right opportunities, trade smartly, control your risk and the profits will come. Long-term profit is what trading is all about.

What you do have to remember is that a scratch trade (no profit or loss) is actually a win. You have backed the target scores and then won your stake back so, while it may not feel like a win, it certainly is one. Pat yourself on the back!

If you can make scratch often enough, when you hit a profit it will really count and boost your trading bank nicely.

A man holding a bottle of beer, watching a football match on television and celebrating a goal

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