Soccer In-Play Trading: Laying the Draw

July 6, 2011

The ability to do in-play trading is one of the greatest advances of online sports betting. Rather than trying to predict which team is going to win, soccer in-play trading in Betfair allows bettors to make money from patterns in the odds that occur over and over again. This is surely easier than picking the winner!

Laying the draw is perhaps the most popular soccer in-play trading technique. In essence, you lay the draw of a soccer game, and as soon as the first goal is scored, you back the draw at significantly higher odds. Typically the odds for the draw before kickoff are around 3.5-4.0, but when the first goal is scored, they skyrocket to 8.0 or even as high as 10.0.

This difference in the odds enables you to make a healthy profit. For example, if you place a lay bet of £20 at 3.5, you stand to make £20 if either of the teams wins, but you will lose £50 if the game ends with a draw.

Now, let’s assume that the first goal is scored and the odds for the draw increase to 8.0. Now you want to place a back bet since you can make a guaranteed profit whenever you back at higher odds than you lay.

The optimal back stake in this case is close to £9, so let’s assume that we place a back bet of £9 at the odds of 8.0. This bet will win £63 in case the draw does happen (£9 * (8.0 – 1) = £63), and it will lose £9 if either of the teams wins.

Now, combining the two bets together, we make £13 in case of a draw (£63 – £50), and we also make £11 (£20 – £9) if either of the teams wins. Regardless of the outcome, we have secured a guaranteed profit! But no so fast… There could be some problems, too.

The biggest concern with this system is goalless games. If the first goal is never scored, the odds for the draw will never increase. In fact, they will steadily keep getting lower as the draw becomes more and more likely throughout the goalless game.

One way to deal with this is to back 0 – 0 in the ending scores market. This bet can protect you in case the game actually ends without any goals, but it will also decrease your profits in all other cases. Another option is trying to determine which games are likely to be high-scoring (using stats, for example), and only picking those games.

Another potential problem is goals that are scored right next to each other. If the team that just lost a goal happens to score one immediately after the game resumes, you may not be able to place the back bet that quickly. In that case, all your profit will be gone and you will have to wait for another goal. To avoid this, always try to place the second bet as soon as the market reopens.

Finally, it’s best to pick games in which both teams are about equally good. If one team is a clear underdog and it happens to score the first goal, the odds for the draw may in fact decrease as many bettors expect that the best team is going to score as well. It also helps to choose a popular game with a lot of money matched in Betfair, because that will enable you to get your in-play bets matched more quickly.

Laying the draw in soccer is indeed a valid in-play betting strategy that can make you some money or simply make watching soccer more interesting. However, the results from this system tend to be somewhat inconsistent; you can, in fact, lose in several consecutive games, and the losses can easily wipe out your past profits.

For this reason I prefer to stick to matched betting as the profits of matched bettors are more consistent and you don’t have to worry about the outcome of the game. Matched betting is also less time consuming than in-play betting. To learn more, check out our matched betting tutorial and start making some easy money from bookmaker free bets!

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