Over/Under 2.5 Goals: How To Trade (And Profit) – 2022-2023 Guide!

 The Over/Under 2.5 Goal markets on Betfair are one of the most popular markets for football traders and in this article I am going to show you exactly how you would approach betting or trading on it in-play in order to make a profit. 

I have broken this article up into trading the Under 2.5 side of the market and the Over 2.5 side of the market since you will need a different approach for both.

And approaching both the same way is actually a common newbie mistake.

You should also keep in mind that a lot of what is being wrote about here regarding the 2.5 Goal markets can also be applied to the Over 0.5, Over 1.5 and Over 3.5 etc markets too.

However, the main reason we like to focus on the 2.5 market is because that is usually the most liquid market of all of them and perfect for football trading.

Hope you have a nice drink or snack ready as this should be a very good read… 🙂

What Is The Over/Under 2.5 Goals Market.

So to quickly summarise, when you bet on Over 2.5 Goals you are betting on the football match having a 3 goal minimum and so 3 goals or more.

Here below is how a typical Over/Under 2.5 Goals market looks like.

Especially with both outcomes priced around 2.0 which indicates a 50% possibility on both outcomes. It is the “coin flip” style odds that you often get in this market which help make it so popular.

When you bet on Under 2.5 Goals you are betting on there being no more than 2 goals in the match.

Many newcomers to the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market get confused by the 0.5 aspect to the title and I have to admit I was the same when I first saw this market a few decades back.

Basically, the 0.5 is there just to give clarity to what outcome we are actually betting on.

If the market was Over 2 Goals, for example, some may wonder if 2 goals being scored would give you a winning result.

Since you can not score a 0.5 goal in football this makes it more simple to understand.

Either you have scored more than 2.5 (3 goals+) or you have scored less than 2.5 (2 goals or less).

This removes the possibility of the match finishing with 2.5 goals exactly and some punters not being sure if they won or not.

I guess the bookies were fed up of the riots it often caused when punters thought they had won but hadn’t! ?

So when you are betting on the Over 2.5 Goals market this market will close and be settled once 3 goals have been scored.

What makes the Over 2.5 Goals outcome so popular for punters to bet on is the fact that they are betting on something they all want to see (goals) but also the fact that you can win your bet during the match if 3 goals are scored early on and at the same time your bet is technically always still alive all the way through the match.

Since even if the match was 0-0 heading into the 90th minute there is still some chance 3 goals could be scored before the final whistle.

Not a big chance at this point but a chance all the same.

On the flipside, the Under 2.5 Goals is a pretty unpopular outcome for the average punter to bet on.

And definitely not the type of bet you will see in the front window of a bookies or during those Bet365 adverts.

This is mainly due to most punters wanting to bet on matches they want to watch and watching football not wanting a goal to be scored is not something your average football fan will want to do.

Also, Under 2.5 Goals can not be considered a winner until the full time whistle is blown. So if the match is 1-1 or 2-0 with plenty of time left on the clock it can be an uncomfortable watch for those who have bet on Under 2.5 Goals.

And lets face it, no casual punter likes to feel uncomfortable!

All this being said, there is plenty of theory among expert gamblers that it is easier to find value betting on the “Under” outcome. Mainly because of the reasons just mentioned.

The prices of the two outcomes are linked together and so due to the masses all betting on the “Over” outcome in certain matches it could force the price on Under 2.5 to offer more value.

The Trading Approach Explained

Of course you are on a website that is dedicated to the trading aspect of sports and so you might be wonder how we would approach trading these markets compared to betting on them.

And the difference is actually night and day.

As football traders who trade the Over 2.5 Goals market the strategy often involves being in the market for just ONE goal rather than the 3 required for a winner. Yes, just the ONE!

This is simply so the trader can profit from the market movement a goal being scored can cause. (More on that to come).

Similarly, a football trader getting involved in trading the Under 2.5 Goals market is looking to stay in the market for short periods of (goalless) time in order to profit.

And they are very likely to exit the market for a loss after one goal is scored rather than waiting around for 3 goals to confirm the full loss.

So it can be quite hard for a newbie to understand what a football trader is trying to do on these goal markets when you consider what the market is about.

Especially those who come from a sports betting background and who have had regular bets on this market before.

How To Trade Under 2.5 Goals On Betfair

So now lets take a look at the market itself in more detail and both side of the market starting with UNDER 2.5 GOALS which is where you would be betting the match will finish with 2 goals or less.

As touched upon above, the aim of trading this market is to be in the market for short periods of time during the match and then getting out for a profit if no goals are scored.

And the main reason this is possible is because of this…

Under 2.5 Goals Market Behaviour

The beautiful thing about the Under 2.5 Goals market is that it is easy to predict the movement.

Once the match kicks off the market will begin trend downwards unless a goal is scored which is quite similar to the draw market. The longer the match goes without a goal being scored the MORE the markets deem that Under 2.5 is likely to happen and so the price will shorten.

This is often referred to as “Time Decay” or “Time Value”.

This is quite a unique concept in trading and one that is pretty exclusive to football trading. Imagine a trader in the currency markets being able to confidently get in the markets knowing which price it was going to move in?

Of course, the problem can arise if a goal is scored and then it will make the price trend upward and you would have to take a loss.

But generally if you can get in and out of the market without a goal being scored then you should stand to make a profit. The longer you stay in, the more profit you could make.

Some like to do this for 5 minutes some prefer 20 minutes. It all depends on your attitude to risk.

Want to know how to PREDICT where the prices will move to after a goal? Download this FREE football price predictor cheat sheet to get more of an idea.

Under 2.5 Goals Trading Strategies

So let us now take a look at some of the most common Under 2.5 Goals trading strategies.

Back To Lay Swing Trading

So based on this, one of the most common approaches to trading Under 2.5 Goals is a simple back to lay trade.

This involves backing Under 2.5 Goals (Often right at kick off) then looking to lay in-play at lower odds and lock in a profit over both outcomes.

Many like to do this for the first 5 minutes of the match and aim for a profit of around 10% of the stake.

Whilst some traders prefer to take a longer approach and stay in for the first 20 minutes or even the whole of the first half before taking their profit.

Here is a quick example (Scroll down for full video of this)

And here in this match from La Liga in Spain we have backed Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.93 with a £100 stake right when the match kicked off.

And after 17 minutes without a goal you can see the price dropped on Under 2.5 goals to 1.61 and we could cash out for a profit of £19 over both outcomes.

That is over a pound a minute!

But of course, when trading with this approach it is important to consider your down side and that is where the prices will go to and your expected loss if a goal goes in while you are exposed in the market.

From my own experience of trading this market, if you are caught by a goal whilst in the market then the average loss to expect is around 40% of your stake.

So using this information you can work out your preferred risk-reward ratio and what sort of profit you want to aim for before you enter the market.

And the best thing to do is to get into the market and run some experiments! (Small stakes of course!)


Another approach to trading the Under 2.5 Goals outcome is by scalping the market.

Again, this market is perfect for scalping since we know the direction it is heading in and so that eliminates one part of the decision making process.

When scalping you are often getting in the market and looking to gain 1,2,3 or even 4 ticks at a time.

The idea is to minimise the amount of time you spend exposed in the market and thus minimise the risk that a goal is scored whilst you are exposed.

Those who are experienced with scalping the Under 2.5 Goal markets will have a good feel for the moments when the markets will move at their fastest and will time their entry points alongside that. Many newbies go wrong with scalping since they just go in, aim for a few ticks and hope for the best without realising they are leaving themselves potentially exposed for longer than necessary.

The big danger with scalping is that being caught by a goal is likely to erase all profits not just for the match but from several matches and can be quite damaging.

An experienced scalper will be able to accept that and carry on with their approach but most newbies will be scared off by this experience and probably never return.

Having sports trading software and access to up to date pictures is also very important for scalping since you will want to be out of the markets at times of danger such as a dangerous free kick into the penalty area.

Free Bet Leverage

A more advanced approach to trading Under 2.5 Goals is whereby a football trader would use the same back to lay approach as mentioned above but instead of locking in a profit they will leave all the profits sitting on the Under 2.5 Goals outcome.

This could be left to be a free bet for that trader but some like to leverage this against other markets and other outcomes and potentially create some sort of insurance against another outcome.

Depending on how the match is developing one approach could be backing Over 3.5 goals at higher odds knowing that if it remains Under 2.5 Goals you are covered with the free bet on the Under 2.5 outcome but if you do manage to get the 3 goals in a certain time period then you could stand to profit nicely on the Over 3.5 Goals price which should have then shortened.

As said, this is pretty advanced stuff and something only the more experienced football traders will be comfortable with doing.


As mentioned, I have covered much of the above in a full video and also include some full demonstrations of the strategies so do watch this video for even MORE information. Everything becomes a lot clearer once you see the strategies happening before your eyes 😉

By the way…

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Common Under 2.5 Trading Newbie Mistakes

Trading Obvious Low Scoring Matches

Many newbies learn about the market and then assume it is the path to easy riches since then all you have to do is look for matches you “know” will be low scoring and then trade those.

The problem is this is what everyone else is doing and so these matches will likely have a low SP on Under 2.5 Goals. Anything below 1.80 is usually considered to be a low price for Under 2.5 Goals. With some high profile matches in tournaments such as the World Cup often having an SP of around 1.50 on Under 2.5 Goals.

And so it is hard to find an edge doing what everyone else is doing and the best approach is to actually go AGAINST the markets.

Identify matches where the markets expect goals but you don’t and trade those. You will find the price on Under 2.5 Goals drops much faster and you will spend less time exposed in the market.

In football a goal could, in theory, happen at any moment so every second counts if you want to be long term profitable.

How To Trade Over 2.5 Goals On Betfair

So now lets take a look at the more popular outcome in this market and that is the “Over” outcome. As mentioned earlier, those who bet for recreation are usually doing so because they are watching the match live.

And so when they watch it live they instinctively WANT goals to be scored which is why it is such a popular outcome to bet on.

And also a popular market to trade on too.

As a big football fan myself I would be lying if I didn’t say that one of the best feelings in the world is seeing goals going in knowing they are making you money!

Anyway, we are now going to be looking at how to trade it rather than bet on it right now and it is important to first understand the market behaviour.

Over 2.5 Goals Market Behaviour

So the market behaviour of Over 2.5 Goals is the opposite of what you would expect in the Under 2.5 Goals outcome. These two prices are closely linked and so if Under 2.5 Goals is trending downwards then Over 2.5 Goals will trend upwards.

And this price will trend upwards whilst no goals are scored which means the price will increase.

And only when a goal is scored will the price go down and when it does it will go down sharply.

So the best way to profit is being in the market when a goal is scored and taking advantage of the price decrease immediately after a goal.

Of course, being in the market at the right time is easier said then done!

Over 2.5 Goals Trading Strategies

Back To Lay In-Play

And so because of the market movement and the need for a goal to be scored in order to profit on this market when trading a back to lay approach is the most common.

The idea being to back Over 2.5 Goals before a goal is scored and profit from the price difference after the goal.

For example, if you would back Over 2.5 Goals with £100 @ 2.08 and a goal was scored at that instant moment you would expect the price on Over 2.5 Goals to move into around 1.37.

From there if you would then LAY Over 2.5 Goals at this lower price thus trading your bet you could be in one of the two below positions.

Laying with the same stake will leave you with a FREE BET on Over 2.5 Goals of £71.

Or trading out for an equal profit no matter the outcome would leave you with a profit of £51 guaranteed.

However, this above ideal scenario will not always transpire since more than likely the goal will not arrive right away unless you are lucky.

And so with the price on Over 2.5 Goals trend upwards you are best served splitting your stake up and entering it as the price rises.

This will ensure that you stand to profit when the goal eventually arrives.

For example, if we backed Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.08 and the first goal arrived late in the first half or beginning of the second half then the price on Over 2.5 Goals AFTER this goal might actually still be higher than 2.08 and so no profit would be achieved.

Many novices make this common mistake when trading the goal markets since they do not think in the fourth dimension and consider the impact that TIME will have on the prices when a goal goes in.

Careful planning of how you get your stake into the market is definitely required.

I demonstrate this and give you some extra tips and REAL LIFE trades performed on Betfair in the below video.

Trading Over 2.5 Goals – Extra Tips

So if you are going to become a football trader this is likely a market you will be spending a fair amount of your time.

And so here are some extra tips that will aid you in your journey!

So if you are going to become a football trader this is likely a market you will be spending a fair amount of your time.

And so here are some extra tips that will aid you in your journey!

Stats Play A BIG Part!

I use a lot of in-play stats as part of my trading but this does not mean I ignore the pre-match stats. I will profile matches before kick off so I have a vague idea of whether or not I should expect goals in that particular match. If you can spot a match where the markets are not expecting goals but you are then you likely have a very good opportunity in your hands.

If I am not expecting goals then I will usually avoid trading that match as there are plenty of other opportunities to get stuck into. Having this sort of information in your mind already can help you avoid silly mistakes and the more information you have the better.

Be Flexible

Many novice traders have the old-skool belief that you lock in your profits when a goal goes in and move on but you really need to maximise the profits you can potentially achieve.

Inside Ultimate Football Trading, I show you ways that you can minimise your downside or give yourself a risk free trade whilst potentially doubling your profits at the same time. It is important to remember that time and goals are on your side. There is no rush to get out of the market once you are in a position of profit after the first goal goes in. You can stay in longer and a second or third goal can make you even more money.

Don’t Go In At Kick Off

So if I have profiled a match before Kick off and I feel there is value in the Over 2.5 Goals price. This is great of course, but it does not mean I put my money in before kick off.

As soon as the match kicks off you will see the price on Over 2.5 Goals rise, sometimes by quite a few ticks in just the first 5-10 minutes. Fair enough, If a goal goes in during that time then I have missed an opportunity but with hundreds of in-play matches every week I can just move on to the next one.

I was trading a Premier League match this weekend gone and the price on Over 2.5 Goals was 1.90 at kick off. After a slow start in the first 15 minutes this price had increased to 2.25.

The pace of the match picked up and I got in to the markets and there was a goal in the 23rd minute. By being patient and waiting for my opportunity I took a much better price which put me in a strong position for the rest of that match.

In this game, every tick counts!

Take Match State Into Account

Something that many novices fail to consider is who is scoring the goals as this can have an impact on how many more goals we see and the motivation either team has for more goals.

For example, if Chelsea are playing at home to Brighton and concede the first goal to go 0-1 down then my thoughts would be that Chelsea are going to go hell for leather to score 2 goals and win the game at least 2-1. So I would be more aggressive and stay in the markets for longer and potentially let it run to the end.

However, if the first goal went to Chelsea to make it 1-0 I would be more conservative as you would expect a team like Chelsea to control the game from that point and potentially only look to make it 2-0 or 3-0. You might then be depending on Brighton to get on the score-sheet and a strong team like Chelsea may be motivated to just keep the ball and win the match by the 1 or 2 goal margin. In this situation I would be likely to trade out after the first goal and take my profits.

A common newbie mistake is getting in the market expecting there to be more goals when the stronger team has no motivation to chase more goals. Try and get in the market when everything is in your favour.

The Over and Under 2.5 Goals markets are a HUGE part of football trading and some of the most fun markets to trade. If you are going to be trading football at any level then ensuring you understand these markets is very important.


I cover how to trade the goal markets fully inside my premium course, Ultimate Football Trading. That includes the fireball methods which can be used on both Over 1.5 and 2.5 Goal markets.

And also the snowball method which can be used to profit on the Under 2.5 Goals market and also has a unique way of getting out of the market which minimises the losses when you get caught out by a goal but maximises the profits that can be made.

If you want to take your football trading to the next level then get on the waiting list for the next opening.


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