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 any match can end 0-0, 4-0, 3-3 or any one of a dozen other scores. It is this challenge, however, that makes trading the CS market so exciting.
Plus, the rewards are excellent when you get it right!
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! It's not an easy way to trade football and most will give up after a few losses, leaving the rest of us free to take advantage of all the opportunities they have left behind.
In this article I will explain how to go about correct score prediction, how the betting exchange 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.
Introduction to Correct Scores
Correct score trading can be really quite simple or as complicated as you wish to make it and I guess that’s the beauty of this particular market on Betfair; it is incredibly flexible.
As human beings, we are all different and that's exactly the same for football traders too. Whereas one person may be comfortable with taking a risky approach in order to make bigger profits, another may prefer much less risk but smaller profits on a more regular basis. Only you know what level of risk/reward you are comfortable with, so take some time to figure it out.
In order to have profit (green) somewhere on a Betfair market, there also has to be liability (red). How much red are you prepared to risk 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.
Correct Score Betting
Wouldn't it be nice if you could place a few bets, then get on with your life while your winnings mount up? In the real world, of course, that simply doesn't happen. Despite the promises of easy riches you may read on various websites, you're not going to pick up a few correct score betting tips and make a fortune.
When betting in the Match Odds market there are three possible outcomes; home win, away win and draw. However, the Betfair Correct Score market has nineteen possible scores! You don't need me to tell you that it's far more difficult to determine that Chelsea will win 3-1 against Stoke than simply to predict that Chelsea will win.
Of course, the market knows this and you will get a much better price for Chelsea to win 3-1 but it could also end 2-0... or 1-0... or 4-2. The better prices do open up the opportunity of using a correct score Dutching system whereby you back a number of likely scores all at once in the hope of hitting one of them, but 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).
Correct Score Trading
Just as football trading is smarter then betting, trading correct scores is also the way to go. You can still Dutch a number of scores and take advantage of the bigger odds but you are able to chip away at the liability and - if things go to plan - lock in some profit before the match ends.
There are two parts to a correct score trade; the first is reducing the liability and the second is attempting to hit a target score in order to make a profit.
Let's imagine you Dutch some 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. If you were to choose 1-2 and 2-1 as your target scores, you need three goals in order to hit a profit. However, you could lay 0-0 for £10 so that one goal leaves you with scratch - no profit or loss - and then you have a free bet on 1-2 and 2-1.
The downside of this is that the 0-0 price to lay will be quite high - especially in the first half - which will leave you a much bigger loss should the match end with no goals scored. Is it worth the risk? Only you know whether you can stomach big losses from time to time (I prefer to avoid them).
There are other options though. You could wait for the 0-0 price to fall due to time decay, you could lay additional scores - perhaps 0-0, 0-1 and 1-0 to spread the risk - or you could simply lay 0-0 for a much smaller amount so that the liability is smaller. Once a goal is scored, you can lay again to chip away further.
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.
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 go 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 matches - 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 at a good time in the match, 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.
Half-Time Correct Score
One way of hitting more accurate score predictions is to split matches in half. The average football match has 1.16 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 ninety minutes and it's a fantastic option.
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 matches, 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 goals much more confidently. Teams need to score goals in order to win matches and as time runs out, the pressure mounts. This does mean that the prices are higher and you may not wish to lay the correct score at half-time, but if you wait patiently they will come into range.
Correct Score Prediction
There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to select matches 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 have to work with what we have.
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 would predict the final score of Arsenal v Crystal Palace the same as Arsenal v Manchester United? 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.
A correct score prediction formula which tends to be popular is looking at recent matches 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 here and there. The idea here is to find teams which are both playing well and anticipating that it will continue into the next match.
Many 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. It does give me some added confidence if I see that last season a match ended on a score I’m targeting this time around, but that's about it.
Correct Score Prediction Websites
There are a number of free correct score prediction sites you can bookmark:
Which is the best correct score prediction site? Well, we wondered that too and tracked results for a few years. After logging thousands upon thousands of predictions and results, we were left with the following figures:
Number of Predictions
One Goal Out
Win Draw Win
So Win Draw Win turned out to be the best correct score site if you're looking for an exact score prediction, but is 9.9% any good? We put that to the test by developing our own prediction algorithm and logging results alongside the other three sites. We achieved the following results:
Number of Predictions
One Goal Out
It turns out that we have the best correct score prediction of all the sites, both for exact score and one goal out. Although we put some time into testing, our algorithm was not incredibly scientific and it does make me wonder how basic the prediction sites are.
Should you follow their correct score tips? Well, now you have the figures so you can decide that for yourself.
Here are two very important statements:
- It is possible to make a monster profit from one correct score trade
- 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.
Betfair is full of very clever traders just waiting to take your money. In order to win you have to outsmart them more often than they get the better of you – and that ain’t easy! If it was, do you think there would be many people going to work on Monday morning?!
Trading is a skill which you will learn over time. You will not crack it in a week, a month or perhaps even six months but you will become consistently profitable if you want it enough. If you think that after reading a couple of eBooks you’ll be on your way to buying a Ferrari, you’re living in a dream world. It’s just not reality.
With the right attitude, however, everyone can succeed at football trading. Go into it with a positive frame of mind and keep it up throughout. Don’t get carried away by wins, don’t let losses destroy your confidence and - in time - you will succeed.
Losses will happen, but deal with them in a controlled manner. Analyse your trading moves, look for red flags you may have missed, learn from any mistakes. Get all the positives you can from the experience and move on to the next trade. You definitely can't afford to throw a tantrum and give up! That's the only sure way to never, ever make a profit and miss out on a fantastic life-changing opportunity.
Football trading may take months to master, but the many years of profit to come are definitely worth the effort.
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