Pre-Match Football Trading Vs In-Play Football Trading

 pre match football tradingWhen you hear people talking about FOOTBALL TRADING it is important to understand there are actually two main types of ways to trade football on Betfair. That is either pre-match or in-play.

Some traders do both, whilst some prefer to specialise in one key area. Either way, it is important to understand that they are actually very different beasts.

I guess, the key question everyone wants to know is… Which is more profitable? A question which can often be translated into “Which is easier for me to make money at?”.

So, let’s take a quick look at the strengths and weaknesses of each type of trading

Pre-Match Trading

Trading the prices before the match or event is as close to “real” day trading as you could possibly get on Betfair. A lot of the same trading principles apply in the pre-event markets such as weight of money, technical trends, fundamental trends and, plain old, greed. When trading pre-match, you probably do not need a great knowledge of the sport as you can simply follow certain signals (I.e The Paperchaser) in order to know where the prices are going to be.

When trading pre-match the price moves are much less volatile which means you can get much bigger amounts in the market without worry that a goal will go in and your whole stake will be gone. Many professionals easily get 4 figure stakes into the market on the pre-match football markets. On big events, I know of big traders getting 5 figure stakes in. This means that you only need a shift of a few ticks to make a worthwhile amount of money. Also, since the markets move so slow during the day this means you have much more time on your hands to make your decisions.

The downside is actually that the markets do move so slowly. This can be frustrating for new traders who are part time and have other stuff to get on with during the day. When trading pre-match you often have to open a position in the morning or even the night before and keep an eye on it leading up to kick off. If you are not a full time trader or simply lead a busy lifestyle then this is probably not ideal for you.

However, if you can find the time for it I am sure you will soon realise that trading pre-match IS the easiest form of trading on Betfair. The prices usually keep traveling in the same direction and it is easy to maintain a high strike rate.

In-Play Football Trading

When trading football in-play the price moves can be much more volatile. Instead of looking for a 5-10 tick move you are usually looking for the 100+ tick moves that are usually produced when a goal is scored.

This means you will have to use much smaller stakes then you use pre-match as a goal the wrong way will mean a much bigger loss. However, the volatility can also be used in your favour since if you are on the right side of a goal then there can be much more significant profits available to green your book with.

The upside of all this is that when you sit down to trade a football match in-play you know that you will be wrapped up within the 90 minutes which gives you much more free time to do other stuff. The fact that most matches take place on evenings and weekends also fits in well with work schedules for those who trade part time.

Also, it might sound unprofessional to say it but in-play trading can be quite thrilling at times. It can be a great feeling to catch a low priced team in-play, lay them and then see them throw the lead away late on for a huge profit for yourself.

With in-play football trading you will definitely require a good knowledge of the sport itself. If you can watch the match live and spot opportunities this is good but usually you will also have to consult match stats websites to give you a better idea of what positions to take in-play.

The main downside of in-play football trading is the fact that you are relying on the players themselves to hold up their end of the bargain. Missed penalties, missed open goals and silly mistakes by the players can cost you when trading in-play. I have been there and seen it myself and it can be frustrating but it is all part of the game and you have to accept it rather then getting annoyed by it.


There is no reason why you have to pick one or other other type of trading. Personally, I like to trade pre-match in order to build up some profits on the markets before the match goes in-play. Then when it is in-play I wait for opportunities to try and increase those profits. It does not always work out well but I get it right more times then I don’t.

In my view trading pre-match is much easier then in-play but it can be tricky to get the hang of initially. The important thing is to recognise your own trading strengths and to play to them.


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  1. GnomeTradere says:

    Most of my profits come from in-play trading. I am yet to master pre match trading and its definitely not as simple as written in here. Weight of money trading is not free money as it used to be due to big players manipulating the market and the price tend to oscillate a lot and not moving straight in one direction, often misguiding the traders.

  2. Hi.
    Very good article as always!
    Any particular pre-match strategy you prefer?

    // Patrik

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