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Football Trading: How to Find Success on Betfair

Written by Steve Brown

A man sat in front of his laptop and punching the air after making a football trading profit on Betfair.

Betting exchanges, such as Betfair, give us the ability to trade football in-play and this has completely changed football betting.

Rather than place a bet and then hope it wins, football trading means we can let games kick-off and then decide whether or not to bet based on the action on the pitch.

For example, if we plan to back the home team to win, we can make sure that they are creating chances before taking any risk.

There are plenty of other benefits to trading as well. We can take advantage of better prices, reduce liabilities as goals are scored and secure profits before the final whistle.

In this article I'm going to explain how football trading works and I'm also going to give you a FREE football trading strategy so you can get started today!

What is Football Trading?

Football trading is when you place bets on football matches, either before kick-off or in-play, using a betting exchange such as Betfair.

As football traders, we make our profit by taking advantage of price movement, often exiting our trades before the final whistle.

As well as being able to back teams at better prices, we're able to lock in profits and avoid the agony of late goals spoiling our bets.

You can think of Betfair trading as a '90 minute stock market'.

Let’s say that Dave is a financial trader looking to buy shares in Coca-Cola.

He checks the financial history of the company, strength of the competition, current market conditions and so on.

Based on all the data he can find, Dave makes an informed judgement about future profit and growth potential.

He looks at the share price and, if it shows some value, he decides to buy.

If Coca-Cola release some good news – perhaps a new flavour that starts selling very well – the price rises and Dave can sell his shares.

The difference between the price Dave bought his shares at and the price he sold them for is his profit.

Switch out Coca-Cola for Manchester City and the same criteria apply.

The Coca-Cola and Manchester City logos

As a football trader Dave checks previous performance, strength of the opposition, recent form and any other useful statistics that he can find.

In exactly the same way, he makes an informed judgement about Manchester City’s likely performance in their next match and looks for value in the various markets.

It may be that Dave expects Manchester City to score the first goal of the game during the first half. He then has a number of markets he can choose to trade in.

Each of these markets lasts for a maximum of 90 minutes and Dave will know the outcome of his investment either when or before the final whistle blows.

It’s as if a stock market has been condensed into a very small amount of time.

As football traders, we have complete control over our risk/reward.

There are a number of ways that we can adjust positions in-play depending on goals, cards, substitutions and even something called 'time decay'.

I will explain what this is shortly.

How do Betting Exchanges Work?

A traditional bookmaker offers punters the chance to back various outcomes.

It might be the home team to win, over 2.5 goals, a particular player to score, or any one of dozens of other options at prices set by the bookie.

But at a betting exchange it is punters who set the prices on both sides of the book.

In other words, you can choose to back an outcome as if you were using a traditional bookmaker or go opposite and lay it.

That's right, you can do what the bookies do!

Backing then laying (or laying then backing) is how Betfair traders make their profit.

Once you can accurately predict which way a betting market is likely to move, how much and when, you will be able to make money from it.

Here's an example of Betfair's Match Odds markets.

Betfair betting exchange Match Odds market for the English Premier League

The prices to back are blue and the prices to lay are pink.

If you're new to all this, I have explained betting exchanges in much more detail here including back and lay betting, commission, Betfair's Premium Charge and more.

Now let's look at how football trading actually works.

Why do Betfair Prices Move?

Price movement is all you need to make money with football trading.

The only challenge is that you need to figure out which prices are going to move and in which direction so that you can 'buy' or 'sell' in the football stock market.

There are 3 main reasons why betting exchange prices move in-play:

Time Decay


Red Cards

Time Decay

If you've looked at in-play football markets before, you'll have seen very low 0-0 prices towards the end of football matches.

That's because there's not much time for either of the teams to score a goal so it's very likely to end 0-0.

The 0-0 price may have been very high at kick-off but it has steadily 'decayed'.

If there are no first half goals, 0-0 will often be a third of the price it was at kick-off. The price continues to tick down through the second half and hits 1.01 at the final whistle.


If a match kicks off with the home team priced at 2.00 to win and they take the lead, they are now more likely to win the game and the price drops accordingly.

The price of 2.00 converts to 50% probability of a home win. At 1-0, perhaps the probability of a home win rises to 75% which makes the price now 1.33.

That's fantastic price movement that football traders can certainly profit from.

Our free hedging calculator shows that if you back the home win for £100 at 2.00, you would then be able to lock in £50.38 profit (before commission) no matter the final result.

Hedging calculator that shgws how price movement produces a football trading profit.

Red Cards

Many fans think that a team with 10 men will automatically go on to lose by a large number of goals, but football traders know differently.

A 10-man team may sit back to defend, especially if the score is level.

It's not easy to break down a well organised defence when a team has 11 men and it's not that much easier against 10 either.

The market, however, usually moves in favour of the team with 11 men and sometimes that isn't helpful.

Personally, I don't trade matches with red cards. There are so many fixtures played worldwide that I can quite happily avoid taking any unnecessary risks.

If a match I'm already trading has a red card, I try to scratch (exit the trade for no profit or loss) and move on to the next opportunity.

A football referee holding up a red card

Football Trading Strategies

Most new traders believe that they just need to buy a good football trading strategy and then they will make a lot of money.

Unfortunately, it's not quite as simple as that.

Think about it... if profitable football trading was so easy, then you wouldn't go to work on Monday morning!

You'd be sat at home, pulling money out of Betfair like it's a magic money tree.

But you don't do that, do you?

No, nobody does!

The truth is that successful football trading is not so much about strategies, but how you select matches to trade and how you manage your bank.

A sign that points to "Success" and "Failure" in opposite directions.

For example, when you join Goal Profits you'll see that we use 'lay the draw' often.

It's a great strategy that's been around for many years and there's no secret to it... you lay the draw and then, at some point, you back the draw again.

You'll see examples of lay the draw all over YouTube and the rest of the internet. You'll also see traders who make money with it and others who don't.

The difference is that smart traders patiently wait for the right opportunities to come along, while others just want to have a bet or some entertainment on a Saturday.

It's not really about the strategies themselves, it's about you.

To be a successful football trader, you need to learn and develop a range of skills over time. Patience, discipline, bank management and all that other 'boring' stuff.

Of course, you also need to be able to pick out the best trading opportunities in the first place. That's where our Team Stats tools come into play.

Traders need access to the right football stats, presented in the best way for quick and easy research. Team Stats from Goal Profits is the perfect solution.


FREE Football Trading Strategy

If you haven't traded football before, it can be difficult to know where to start.

I'm not going to tell you that you can start trading today and immediately start to rack up huge profits. In the real world, success does not come easily and we all know it.

But... everybody has to start somewhere, right?

Here's a very simple system to get you started. It's completely free, makes a steady profit and I'm even going to give you FREE football trading tips for life!

Our Team Stats software is going to help you pick out the best opportunities each day.

Make as much profit as you like, then progress to one of the exchange betting strategies that has a bit more going on.

Membership of our fantastic football trading community includes full access to our 'Goal Profits Academy' course.

It's going to help accelerate the time it takes for you to learn how to trade, but you should still be patient and have reasonable expectations.

Remember that Betfair is full of clever and ruthless traders whose sole aim is to take your money. Don't make it easy for them!

Goal Profits Academy is our complete football trading course. Learn how to trade, based on proven methods that we’ve been using successfully for many years.


Football Trading Mindset

Professional Betfair traders avoid losses as much as possible. While you may argue that all bettors, traders and gamblers do that, it's subtly different.

Avoiding a loss is not the same as trying to win a bet.

It's a strange concept for most who are new to trading because their mindset is geared up towards winners, winners and more winners.

A simple football betting system usually has two outcomes; win or lose.

When you trade, however, there are always 3 possible results; win, lose or scratch.

A scratch trade is one in which you neither make a profit nor a loss.

But remember... every time you make scratch, you have won your stake back and had a free bet.

Scratch is a winning trade and once you see it that way, trading becomes much easier.

In order to be profitable on Betfair, you literally have to take money from other traders who are aiming to do exactly the same to you.

It's a ruthless game of cat and mouse!

If you log in on a Saturday afternoon looking for entertainment, you will lose money. Of course you will have winning days, but overall you will lose.

The winners will be those who have more discipline and patience.

Even the best Betfair strategy in the world will fail if you don't have the patience to use it at the right times!

It’s no secret that trading psychology and mindset is a vital ingredient for success, but how exactly do you start to think like a professional Betfair trader?

Read More ABOUT thinking like a professional betfair trader

In-Play Football Trading

Most of us now have fast internet connections, mobile devices and access to apps that help us to stay in touch with football matches all over the world.

Because of this, the popularity of in-play trading has risen in recent years.

Almost any betting exchange market can be traded as long as there is enough liquidity.

In other words, there needs to be enough interest from other traders who are also looking to back and lay in the same markets so you're able to get your bets matched.

When I first started trading, there was not a lot of liquidity in the Betfair Correct Score market. However, the growth of in-play trading has made a huge difference.

These days, you can get large stakes matched even in some smaller leagues on a Saturday afternoon when the biggest leagues are playing.

That opens up so many more correct score trading opportunties.

We use 3 correct score strategies at Goal Profits, plus team member Bryn Roberts is having huge success with our Assured Soccer Profits strategy.

Correct score trading on Betfair is exciting and profitable! Learn how to predict correct scores and profit with easy-to-use football trading strategies.


Does Trading Need Lots of Time?

We're often asked how long it takes to trade football as opposed to betting.

Quite obviously, trading takes a bit more time than betting, but you don't have to sit in front of your screen the whole time.

Once your trading position is open, what do you have to do?

You're usually waiting on a goal so you can go watch TV, read a book or do some housework. A score site such as Flashscore will tell you when a goal goes in.

Download the Flashscore app and go outside to wash the car if you want. With the Betfair app on your phone, you might not even need to come back inside the house!

And no, you don't need to watch the football matches you trade.

Our Live Stats Module (LSM) tracks the in-play stats for hundreds of football matches all over the world. Shots, corners, dangerous attacks, attack ratings - it's all there.

Goal Profits members know exactly which football matches have plenty of action and which teams are actively trying to score. What an advantage that is!

Our Live Stats Module (LSM) is the best in-play football stats tracker available online. It’s ideal for beginners but essential for professional traders.


An entire football match is only 90 minutes and many Betfair trading techniques focus on either the first or second half which immediately cuts that in half.

For example, I save time by only researching second half trades in matches that have a favourable half-time score. I can easily do that during half-time thanks to Team Stats.

And our Live Stats Module tracks all the action during the first half, so I don't even need to login until half-time!

"I don’t have time to trade" is really not an excuse these days.

Trading gives you complete control over your money and it's definitely more profitable than set-and-forget betting could ever be.

If you really want to be a successful football trader you will find a way to make it work for you, just as every professional trader did.

Trading Football For a Living

The world of professional trading is very different from what most imagine it to be.

In order to trade football for a living, you don't need to watch football all day or know what colour laces Phil Foden wears in his boots.

It's all about mathematics.

In particular, compounding and working your trading bank smartly.

Financial security and life-changing freedom is well within the grasp of everyone but, just like football trading itself, it's a lack of patience that trips most people up.

You don't need to be a genius, you just need time.

Here is your complete guide to trading football for a living. Plan your journey from betting beginner to professional Betfair trader and then make it happen!


Compounding Your Trading Bank

If you haven't heard of compounding before, this is how it works.

I'm going to explain how a £1,000 bank becomes £30,913 in just 3 years.

Let's assume that you start trading today with a £1,000 bank.

You split it into 100pts (points) worth £10 each.

We'll also assume that you make an average profit of 10pts per month from your football trading and that you reset your bank to 100pts at the end of each month.

It means that your stakes rise in line with your bank and it's known as 'compounding'.

So... for your first month, you aim to make 10pts profit.

£10 x 10pts = £100 profit

If the month has 30 days, then you need to make an average of £3.33 profit each day from your £1,000 bank.

By the end of the month, your bank will be worth £1,100.

You reset your stake to 100pts (£1,100 / 100pts = £11) and continue through the year.


Opening Balance


Monthly Profit

Closing Balance

Month 1





Month 2





Month 3





Month 4





Month 5





Month 6





Month 7





Month 8





Month 9





Month 10





Month 11





Month 12





Of course, not every day can end in profit and you're bound to make some mistakes. It's better to learn with small stakes though, right?

But... once you're able to make a steady 10pts profit each month, your £1,000 bank will be worth £3,138 after the first year.

Continue for another 2 years and your bank compounds to £30,913!

Of course, if you're brand new to football trading then there's a lot to learn and it's going to take time before you can regularly hit your monthly target.

Maybe it takes a year of learning before everything clicks into place, but then you turn £1,000 into £30,913 over the next 3 years.

Would you be happy with that return?

I'm sure you would be!

You can start learning how to trade football at any time, but why wait?

As the old saying goes, "the best time to start learning is 10 years ago. The next best time is today".

Goal Profits

Are you ready to learn how profitable football trading works, generate a second income, or simply improve on past returns?