Your Complete Guide to Trading Football for a Living

Written by Steve Brown

A desk with a laptop, cup to tea, pen and bookie slip on it

Becoming a professional Betfair trader is the ultimate dream for many, whether it be just football or broader sports trading.

It's certainly achievable - there are Goal Profits members doing it right now - but how do you go from frustrated gambler to full-time sports trader?

Is it even what you should be aiming for, or would part-time trading be better?

In this article, I'll attempt to answer all of your questions.

I'm going to share my experience of trading football for a living, explain what I do day-to-day as a football trader and I'll help you to plan your own path to full-time trading.

What are Your Expectations?

If you have some experience of trading on betting exchanges already, you'll know how tough it is to trade profitably.

Betfair is full of clever and ruthless traders whose sole intention is to take your money.

They really don't care that you may be new to trading. They make decisions based on probabilities and value, feeling no emotion after a win or a loss.

Your first expectation has to be that full-time trading takes a lot of hard work. It's not all fun and games, watching football matches every day!

Secondly, you must understand that it's going to take time to gain the experience you need in order to bank profits consistently.

If it was as easy as buying a few trading strategies and logging into Betfair, everyone would do that instead of go to work on a Monday morning!

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

Yes, I can teach you the fundamentals but you can only become an experienced trader yourself by actually trading over a period of time.

It sounds painfully obvious when I put like that, but you wouldn't believe the number of people who start trading today and expect to make money tomorrow!

So... if you really want to become a professional football trader you will need plenty of hard work, patience and the determination to keep going when things get tough.

From day one, make sure that your expectations are reasonable and realistic.

Why do You Want to Trade for a Living?

Why does trading on Betfair for a living appeal to you so much?

If it's because you want to impress your mates down the pub, you're going to struggle to remain motivated after a run of losing trades.

If you dream of laying on a desert island and logging into Betfair every now and again to top up your bank account, you're living in a fantasy world.

So why are you reading this article?

There are lots of emotions that drive our motivations; love and hate perhaps being the strongest. What is going to keep you focused and drive you forward?

Here are some examples:

  • I love my family and I wish to spend more time with them
  • I would love to achieve financial security for me and my family
  • I would love the freedom of being able to live and work from almost anywhere
  • I hate sitting in traffic on my way to the office
  • I hate my job and I can't see a way to make it bearable
  • I hate the fact that I'm not in control of my life

What are your motivations?

Focus more on the positives than the negatives; your hopes and dreams rather than fears. Positive emotions are stronger and longer lasting.

After all, you will love your family long after you've left the job you hate.

The more motivations you can find, the better. When football trading seems difficult - or even impossible - you will refer back to your list, refocus, clear your head and try again.

Without strong motivation, you are far more likely to quit and that doesn't get you anywhere.

Goal Profits member Bhagubhai turned a £1,000 bank into £10,000 over two years. He used the money to pay for an ‘Eye Camp’ in his home village of Kadoli, India.

Read More about trading to raise money for an eye camp

When Trading Becomes Your Job

Like any job, trading Betfair for a living has positives and negatives.

Perhaps the best part is being able to work from home... though if you struggled working from home during the COVID lockdown, then you may not agree with me!

I love working from home because there's no commute and no traffic to worry about. My alarm goes off in the morning, I switch the coffee machine on and get to work.

There's no boss peering over my shoulder, so I have to motivate myself. Getting up at 10am and then watching daytime TV for a few hours makes exactly £0.00 profit!

Having said that... I do prefer to work late into the night.

As well as keeping track of fixtures in North and South America, I can plough through my to-do list without being bombarded by emails and phonecalls.

That may not suit you though, especially if you have a family.

A naked man working from home with his laptop on his knees

Working from home has certain benefits...

Rather than balance my laptop on my knees, I have a dedicated work space.

Yes, there are times when I trade while watching TV, but I have already done my research on the games and I can hit 'pause' if I need to concentrate for a few minutes.

I feel much more in control of my life now than I ever did when being pulled all over the UK by my job at BP.  However, that wasn't the case from the start.

When I worked for BP I had the security of a salary, holiday pay and sick pay when 'man flu' hit. As a Betfair trader though, there's none of that.

On the flip-side, I'm making more money now than I was in my old job so I can afford to save more. Over the years, I have saved as much as I can to build my financial security.

Daily Routine of a Trader

As a professional Betfair trader, I have to motivate myself. I find that a routine helps enormously so I set myself lists of tasks that need to be done on certain days.

For example, most of my preparation for weekend trading is done on a Wednesday and Thursday, then Friday evenings provide a number of trading opportunities.

Of course, Saturday is the busiest day of the week for fixtures during the winter.

It's very easy for discipline to slip when there are lots of games in-play, but with my research done ahead of time I have a strong shortlist to work with... and I stick to it!

Sundays are generally quieter, but there are plenty of fixtures across Europe to keep an eye on. Sometimes, fewer games is better because there are not so many temptations.

I only trade on Monday and Tuesday when there are particular games of interest.

Often, I am mentally drained after a hectic weekend so Monday is a chance to relax and go over my results for the previous week.

I tend to ignore cup games and internationals completely. There are already more than enough league games played all over the world and they suit my trading style perfectly.

The rest of my time is spent developing and testing systems plus, of course, supporting Goal Profits members with the rest of the team.

The Goal Profits team has more than 75 years of football trading experience. Read our personal stories and find out how we help our members find success.

Read More about goal profits award winning trading community

Research and Analysis

In my early trading days, I manually updated stats spreadsheets every day.

I had to do it myself because no website provided all the trading stats necessary. Even the best ones I found were plastered with annoying ads that slowed down my research.

I would regularly clock up 40 hours per week in order to get all my stats updated... and that was before I'd even managed to trade!

Thankfully, the Team Stats software at Goal Profits takes most of that time consuming admin work away. I simply couldn't manage without it these days.

Rather than limited stats over a small number of leagues, I now have every number I could ever dream of for 85 leagues worldwide.

I can even create very specific sets of filters that do a lot of the initial research with one click. Each day, shortlists are built for me within seconds. It's a game changer!

On top of that, our Live Stats Module tracks all the relevant in-play stats while matches are played so I don't need to be anywhere near my screen most of the time.

I now spend less time researching trades but I am able to dig into the numbers in much more detail. It has transformed my trading results.

Stats are the tools of the trade (no pun intended!) and only the best are good enough.

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.

Read More about team stats

Football Trading Strategies

So many new traders think that the 'secret' to profitable football trading is following the right strategies, but it's not that at all.

If you think about the Match Odds market, you can back or lay the home win, away win or draw. That's it. There's no magical new angle to be discovered.

The ever-popular lay the draw strategy is well-known by everyone. You will see it all over the internet, but everyone is doing it the same way... laying the draw.

The only differences are how traders identify opportunities and manage risk/reward. As always, it comes back to maths and probabilities.

Also... Betfair markets are constantly evolving, so traders must move with them.

For example, I know that the strategies that work for me today may not be as effective in 6 months time so I need to be ahead of the game.

The maths are always changing and, as a team, we carry out a huge amount of testing to ensure that Goal Profits members always have access to the best trading shortlists.

When you start working towards trading for a living, make sure to allocate a good proportion of your time to system research and analysis.

Start learning how to trade football today with our complete guide to football trading. We explain how trading works and how to get started with simple strategies.

Read More about how to find success on betfair

How do Pro Traders Trade Football?

The job of a professional trader is to identify potential opportunities, then patiently wait for the right prices at the right times.

While it's impossible to predict the future, it is possible to find consistent teams doing consistent things and then take advantage of those repeating patterns.

I love finding opportunities using less conventional methods because it's often more profitable to go against the crowd.

Thinking 'outside the box' has certainly paid dividends over the years.

It really doesn't matter whether a particular trade wins or loses. I know that I will end up with a profit long-term and that my bank will grow over time.

That's all part of a professional trader's mindset. I don't get too high after a win and I certainly don't feel low after a loss because I have confidence in what I'm doing.

Of course, that's a very simplified explanation and a lot of experience goes into each stage but I'm sure you get the idea.

All Goal Profits members receive full access to our 'Goal Profits Academy' football trading course.

We explain how to build a personal portfolio of football trading strategies, how to select matches, when to enter and exit trades, how to manage your trading bank and so on.

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.

Read More about goal profits academy

How to Become a Football Trader

Ok... so you've decided that you really want to become a pro trader and you've identified strong motivations that are going to be your fuel.

Now, you need a plan... exactly how are you going to make this happen?

1. Proof of Concept

Unless you're crazy, you're not going to quit your job before learning how to trade!

The first stage is to learn the ropes, gain plenty of experience and prove to yourself that you have the discipline required to be a full-time trader.

You might need to prove it to your partner too, if he or she isn't sure!

It's very difficult to put a time-frame on this part so you're going to have to be flexible. 

Aim for a minimum of six profitable months in a row - preferably more - and be honest with yourself. This isn't a bragging contest, so be sure to record results properly.

"It's a great day to start something big" written on a napkin next to a cup of coffee.

This is the stage at which quitters quit, usually picking out a poor excuse to explain why it's not their fault.

"I don't have time" is the most common, followed by "I'm too busy at work".

Both of those are absolute rubbish!

If you want it enough, you'll find a way... the same as anything in life.

The good news is that hardly anyone quits after the 'proof' stage. After this part, it's just a matter of time before you reach your goal.

2. Transition

Once you've proven to yourself that you are disciplined and skilled enough to trade profitably, decide how you're going to make the transition from 'worker' to 'trader'.

You could, of course, just quit your job and immediately dedicate all of your time to football trading.

A handful of Goal Profits members have done that, but it's a very aggressive approach and not something that I was comfortable with myself.

The better way is to save up until you have enough to cover your bills for the next six months (minimum).

There are two big benefits to this method:

  1. Your trading decisions will not be under pressure from day one
  2. All the profit you make for the next six months (or more) will strengthen your trading bank

My recommendation is to transition gradually from full-time working to part-time working/trading, then from part-time working/trading to full-time trading.

This can be done over many months so that you do not put yourself under pressure.

A man working in a grocery store

You may even be able to stay with your current employer and gradually cut hours or, if getting out of that job is one of your motivations, look for something else.

3. Settling In

When you become a full-time trader, it's likely to be quite a change for you and your family. You will all have a completely new routine to settle into.

You'll be spending much more time at home and (as we all know from COVID lockdown) that takes some adjustment. A bit of space tends to be good for relationships!

You're also going to view money differently. Whereas before it would magically arrive in your bank account every month on payday, that won't be the case any longer.

You will be working for every penny you make and that is likely to make you very protective of it!

This one really does take time to adjust to and it's why I recommend going part-time first. It's much easier to make these changes and get used to them before you're 'all in'.

You may even find yourself in the same position as a number of Goal Profits members who started the transition but then stuck at part-time because they enjoy it so much.

They still get out of the house to work - though it's far less stressful - then they get the enjoyment of trading too. Best of both worlds!

If trading turns out not to be all you dreamed of, you can always go back to work again... but I bet you don't!

What Size Bank do you Need?

Before you first opened your Betfair account and started trading, you probably had a full-time job with a set salary that was paid into your bank account each month.

You know whether it was enough for a comfortable family life and that's a great starting point for calculating the size of betting bank you are going to need to trade full-time.

Let's assume that you used to take home £20,000 per year from your job after tax. In the UK betting profits are tax-free so make sure to look at the 'take home' amount.

During your 'proof of concept' stage, you split your bank into 100pts (points) and made an average of 10pts profit per month.

That's all the information you need!

  • £20,000 annual take home salary / 12 = £1,667 per month
  • £1,667 / 10pts profit = a point value of £166.70
  • £166.70 x 100pts = a bank of £16,670

Therefore, with a bank of £16,670 you would expect to make your annual profit target of £20,000 (tax-free).

Of course, if you alter the figures then the required bank size rises and falls accordingly.

Also, as you gain trading experience, you will adjust stake sizes according to your confidence in each trade and, perhaps, get involved in more trades.

While £16,670 might seem like a large amount of money, it's much more achievable than you may think.

For example, if you start trading today with a £1,000 bank and make 10 points profit per month (resetting to 100pts monthly) in just 30 months your bank will be £17,449.

Full-time football trading is not as impossible as many assume it to be, you just need to want it enough and patiently grow your bank over time.

Betting bank management is an essential part of professional football trading. Here’s how to secure your hard-earned money, then grow it safely over time.

Read More about betting bank management

Put Your Plan into Action

Trading isn't easy and there are no shortcuts. You can learn all there is about the theory of trading, but experience is only gained through 'doing'.

Here's a perfect example...

Our Assured Soccer Profits system works brilliantly. Bryn Roberts (one of the Goal Profits team) started trading ASP with a £500 bank in August 2022.

He made a few mistakes, learned from them, gained experience and his bank started to grow steadily. In fact, that £500 bank hit £8,000 in March 2024.

Compare these results...

  • During September 2022 (£500 bank) Bryn made £74.74 profit.
  • During February 2024 (£7,000+ bank) he made £861.84 profit.

After seeing these results, we've had new members join Assured Soccer Profits and immediately start trading with banks of £10,000+.

None of them have been successful.


Because they have not gained the experience necessary to trade profitably.

Every full-time trader started trading with zero knowledge, made mistakes, learned from them and improved over time. Nobody did it in a matter of weeks or months.

The sooner you start, the sooner you'll be in a position to think about trading for a living.

You may even settle for trading part-time and that's a great place to be.

You can earn a significant tax-free income from your trading that will pay for a few luxuries in life or help build a retirement fund.

The only certainty is that everyone is different.

Decide what you want and GO FOR IT!

Steve Brown

About the author

I'm the founder of Goal Profits and creator of our Team Stats research and trading tools.

Since 2011, I have been sharing my football trading experience with Goal Profits members.

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