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Betfair Trading – 2 Quick Examples

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In my first month’s matched betting summary I mentioned how I’ve been experimenting with Betfair trading. The particular technique I’ve been trialling is “scalping”.

Essentially we are looking for low risk trades where we can make a small amount of profit in a short period of time. By completing lots of these types of trades we should be able to create a decent cumulative profit.

For a low scoring football match a popular trade is to BACK a football match to finish under 2.5 goals. Often this is done at halftime or when the game is nearing completion. The odds are much lower because it’s almost certain that this will be the outcome but there is still profit in the trade.

The concept of betting on a match to finish under or over 2.5, 3.5 goals etc. might seem slightly odd. After all how can you have half a goal? For 2.5 goals this simply means a total of 2 goals scored by both teams. For 3.5 goals, 3 goals scored in total etc.

Example 1 – A Successful Betfair Trade

In this example I’m BACK‘ing the St Etienne vs Nancy match to finish under 2.5 goals.

About 30 min into the game the score was 0-0.  So I BACK‘ed the game to come under 2.5 goals at odds of 1.27.  15 minutes later at half time the score was still 0-0 and the odds had dropped to 1.13 i.e. it had become even more likely for the score to remain under 2.5 goals.

Now at this point I have a couple of options.  I can leave that bet to run for the rest of the match and hope my bet pays off and make £2.70 on my original stake of £10.

However, I decide to lock in my profit and LAY the opposing result for £10.  Now, assuming my original BACK bet of under 2.5 goals wins I’ll be £1.40 in profit.  This is calculated as –

£1.40 = £2.70 (BACK bet wins) – £1.30 (liability from LAY bet losing)

If the game does end finishing up over 2.5 goals then I’ll have made £0 profit.  However, the important point is that I’ll have covered my position and not be at a loss.  This is calculated as –

£0 = £10 (LAY bet wins) – £10 (original BACK stake lost)

Once the game finishes we can see the bets have been settled –

St Etienne v Nancy

The final score was 0-0 so I did make the £1.40 profit.  Remember that due to Betfair’s 5% commission the actual profit is slightly less at £1.30.


Example 2 – When it goes Wrong

In this second example I show how a trade can turn against you.  At half-time I BACK the Fiorentina vs Napoli game to finish under 5.5 goals i.e. less than 6 goals total scored.

This seemed like a reasonable trade given that Napoli were only 1 goal up at half-time.

However as you can see the game finished with a total of 6 goals scored! –

In play progress

Therefore I lost my original stake of £40.  If my bet had won I’d have made £2 profit.

Fiorentina v Napoli

Whilst this might have been an unusual occurrence it demonstrates what can happen.

In hindsight as additional goals were scored I should have started to LAY my position to reduce my exposure and limit my loss.



Odds on Betfair, can and do, dramatically change.  An outcome that looks certain one moment can quickly become less likely.

Whilst this creates risk a skilled trader can use this to their advantage.  This is nicely explained in the Guide to Matched Betting Blog and covers the different trading strategies.

If you’re bit of a statistics nut and want to use your knowledge to gain an advantage there are sites such as WinDrawWin that include stats on teams that have scored over/under 2.5 goals etc.

Trading is definitely something I want to revisit again in the future as I think there’s huge potential here.  The key advantage is that all of your trading is completed on Betfair – no bookies are needed!  Indeed, some people such as Caan Berry show that it’s possible to make a living trading on BetFair fulltime.

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