How To Trade [Or Bet] 2 legged Matches (The 2nd Leg)

So as mentioned in the first leg of this 2 legged article, I have noticed many newbies make the mistake of trading matches that are part of a 2 legged tie in the same way as they would trade a normal one-off match. This is quite a big mistake and you should really approach these matches in a very different way.

So now we are going to look at betting and trading on the second leg and this is where the fun really begins…

Avoid backing teams who do not need to win

A school boy error is backing a team to win the 2nd leg of a 2 legged tie when they are already ahead in the overall tie. If they do not need to win on the night then you are running a big risk with backing them. Would you ever want to back a team to win that has no need or motivation to win?

On the flipside, this can create HUGE opportunities. I have seen strong favourites go into the 2nd leg 2, 3 or 4 goals ahead yet the markets still price them super odds on in the match odds market. Remember, the favourite can lose the game 0-2 and still win the tie so, like I said, this can create good laying opportunities.

Keep the favourites motivation in mind

Like above if a team is already 2+ goals ahead then they will be highly motivated to keep the game tight. Therefore, strategies that favour goals might be best avoided in these situations. You might even find great opportunities based on this since if the markets expect goals you can oppose the goals knowing that it might be tighter than the markets expect.

And on the flipside of this, if the favourite needs goals to try and get through then using strategies that favour goals is a positive move since they usually go for it from the start. I have seen some pretty crazy 2nd leg matches where you begin to literally lose count of what the score is. A good example of this was the PSG-Barcelona tie in the Champions League last season. PSG were 4-0 up from the first leg, so Barcelona who were the favourites needed at least 4 goals in that match. In the end there were 7 goals as Barcelona won 6-1!

NOTE: I must stress you should only keep the motivation of the favourite in mind since they are the team expected to set the tone for the match. If the favourite needs goals then use strategies that favour goals, if the favourite needs to keep it tight then use strategies that do not favour goals.

Be wary of the possibility of extra time!

If the tie is level then you will often find teams “settle” in the closing stages of the 90 minutes to go to extra time and you might not see any urgency for a late goal. So late goal strategies are much less likely to be effective and the same goes for one-off knock out matches. No team wants to really “go for it” in the late stages knowing that if they concede they have no time to respond. So most managers will settle and plan for extra time from the 80th minute onwards. Watch out for it the next time this scenario comes up.

Also it is important to remember that once you get into extra time the markets have a specific ET market to trade and sometimes you might have to refresh your Betfair screen to see it. But do keep in mind that the statistics from the World Cup and the European Championships suggest that 49% of matches that go to extra time do not see any further goals. So a straight back of 0-0 we see you find good value in any price above evens!

Be wary of the possibility of a penalty shoot out

Extra time is usually a bit of a damp squib. The teams are usually both exhausted and you are probably relying on a mistake to produce a goal. So this means that penalty kicks are usually an inevitability. Do remember if you want to trade the shoot out then to use the “to qualify” market. Betfair has experimented with a kick by kick market but there is never usually any money in there and sticking to the “to qualify” market is your best bet.

With regards to strategies for trading the shoot out itself. The only one I have found success with has been laying the underdog if the favourite misses a kick early on. It really does depend on the underdog and I only have a handful of these trades to recall from over 10 years of football trading so is quite hard to reliably suggest a good strategy to use when a shoot out arises.

Be aware of the “Away goals” rule

Every competition has their own version of the away goals rule and this is quite crucial to be aware of. A scenario where a home team is leading 2-1 going into the late stages is actually a lot closer than it looks since one goal for the away team will send the away team through on away goals. This can actually create good opportunities in the “To Qualify” market since I have regularly seen teams trading sub 1.20 in this market despite a 1 goal swing potentially sending them out of the competition.

PRO TIP: If its a nervy finish and a 1 goal swing could send the underdog through then look to lay the winning team in the “to qualify” market if their odds are low enough. Manchester United traded sub 1.10 on the below famous night in 2004 when a last minute goal from Porto knocked them out of the champions league. They were 1-0 up and looked to be going through on away goals but they were still only one goal away from being eliminated and many money buyers got burned in that match.

So once we get to the business end of the season you will find yourself trading a lot more 2-legged matches and I do hope this guide will help you know what to look for and what do when they come up.

Personally, I like to skip the first leg but I love to get involved in the 2nd leg. These can often be a football traders dream 😉


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