It amazes me that I still receive emails which say, "I'm going to wait until the Premier League season starts again before I get trading". Liquidity aside, the Premier League is nothing special!
If we assume that the majority of traders are looking for goals, then note that the English Premier League had fewer games ending over 2.5 goals than Italian Serie A, Spanish Primera, German Bundesliga and Dutch Eredivisie during the 2016/17 season.
And it was a long, long way behind top place which went to the Swiss Super League at 63.9%.
I understand why I receive these emails... inexperienced traders are more comfortable trading leagues and teams which they have some footballing knowledge of. But trading is all about the numbers and very little to do with who's playing up front for Manchester United.
You don't need to know anything about Norwegian First Division teams and their players in order to trade them, for example, you only need the numbers.
The 40+ winter leagues covered by Team Stats saw an average of 50.0% of games go over 2.5 goals during the 2016/17 season. Compare that with the summer before though; the 20 summer leagues achieved a higher average of 50.4%. If you want goals, you can find them all year round.
Top 5 Summer Leagues for Trading
There are some terrific leagues worth trading throughout the summer and I'm going to take a look at my top five:
1) Sweden Allsvenskan
This league has had plenty of goals in recent years and market liquidity on Betfair is pretty good too. Although Malmö often end up as champions, there are a high number of BTS (Both Team to Score) games as many of the other teams are fairly competitive. It is my clear favourite for trading in the summer.
2) Singapore S League
Ok... so not many people will have heard of "Home United" or "Tampines Rovers" but anyone who has traded football will have certainly come across the S League. During 2016, there were more "over 2.5 goals" and "BTS" games in Singapore than any other league. The only thing which holds it back is Betfair liquidity, though it's not as bad midweek.
3) USA MLS
"Soccer" is on the rise in the United States, though it still has a very long way to go before it comes close to challenging the popularity of NFL football, MLB baseball, NHL ice hockey and NBA basketball. Even college sports are far more popular, for example University of Michigan's stadium has 109,901 seats! That being said, MLS is picking up and Betfair liquidity is good enough for trading. There are generally goals, but that's often because the defending is still a bit naive.
4) Norway Tippeligaen
This has been a strong trading league for many seasons, though suffered a dip in goals during 2016. In previous years it has often out-scored the Swedish Allsvenskan and a bounce back to form will be very welcome. Division 1 is often better for goals, though many games don't go in-play on Betfair so you have to be very careful.
5) Iceland Urvalsdeild
There are plenty of goals in Iceland, but liquidity can be a bit tricky. Also, the season is quite short - only 22 games played - so waiting for teams to settle into form doesn't leave too much time to trade. On the plus side, games often kick-off later in the evening which fits in nicely with those who need to put the kids to bed first.
As for the rest...
There are definitely a few leagues which I tend to avoid. Brazilian football is often associated with attacking flair, but it's a very inconsistent league and lacks goals. This is a major surprise to many new traders whose preconception is goals, goals, goals.
The Finnish Veikkausliiga struggles badly for goals too. In fact, it had the fewest games end over 2.5 goals during the summer of 2016 at just 41.6%. On the flip side, find one that does go over and you'll get a great price!
The Japanese J League used to be my favourite summer league by a mile, but they changed the format from a standard league system to apertura/clausura and it's gone downhill ever since. It's still very feasible for strategies which don't need lots of goals though, such as match odds.
The Irish Premier League is a little up and down, but the Irish First Division had a bumper 2016 with a massive 60.4% of games ending over 2.5 goals. The biggest issue with this one is liquidity and games which don't go in-play on Betfair.
The Paraguayan Primera Division has had a solid couple of seasons for goals and I will be looking at that one much more in 2017 to figure out consistency and market liquidity.
Then there's the Chinese Super League which we added to Team Stats in 2017 for the first time. We have ten years worth of data, but there has been a lot of money pumped into the league over the past few years so any stats further than a season or two back are useless. It will be interesting to see how it performs though from a trading point of view.
Even games without the prospect of goals can be profitable though. Thanks to our League Table Analysis method of selecting home wins, away wins, first half wins, etc. we only need a single goal in many cases to return a nice profit.
As always, the key is finding the best risk/reward to take advantage of a match situation and our 16 week 'Launchpad' football trading course explains in detail how to do that.
If you're waiting for the English Premier League to start back up, then you're missing out on some terrific trading opportunities.Team Stats gives you all the information you need to trade any league in the world successfully, so get cracking and make the most of the summer.
Doing research on a laptop while sat outside in the sun beats working a 9-5 any day!