Trading the draw on football games is a popular bet trading technique. Check any well known forum like, online betting guide or punters lounge, and you will find plenty of talk about ‘trading the draw’ strategies. Something noticeable was that there was no talk of really successful strategies, that was something common among forum members. This makes sense, as any successful draw betting strategy will have a price. The cost is money or time. Or both, of course. Due to the cost it is no surprise that this information is not shared with lots of people.

This post looks at how to trade the draw properly and hopefully profitably. As with any trading, bet trading the draw is a game of choosing high confidence trades to place, in this case, selecting the matches most likely to produce a profitable move in the odds. In terms of Betfair trading if the odds move there is an opportunity to profit.

Let’s continue, and look at what football leagues to use, which games to use to trade the draw, and, how to exit trades to limit loses and maximise gains. Some things readers will already know or will need to learn include the the basics of Betfair swing trading,  which betting software to use, and staking plans.

Briefly, trading the draw on Premiership football games follows the basic idea that to make a profitable trade people must lay at low odds and back at higher odds. The trader would place a lay bet on the draw and back the draw later when the odds increase.

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]The odds increase after a goal because it is less likely that the match will result in a draw.[/box]

Why trade the draw?

Firstly, the odds often react in a predictable manner. Let’s say we have a match where there is a good chance one team will score. The trader can assume that the odds at the start of the match will be shorter than the odds after a goal has been scored.  Trading the draw could be quite a difficult task if the trader had to input all the bets needed to complete a trade individually.  Using bet trading software the process is made much easier because the trader can complete a trade with just two clicks of a mouse.  Let’s Compare Bets recommends Bet Trader from Racing Traders. Bet Trader has a free version where traders can practice or trade with real money on Betfair.  This is good for beginners.  There is a paid version for people who need more speed. For more information read the Let’s Compare Bets Bet Trader review or just access the website directly (both links open in a new window).

Something to bear in mind is that the odds of a draw will actually decrease as the match progresses if no goal are scored. As such, there can be a period during the game where the odds after a goal may not actually move significantly higher than the odds before the goal. This is one reason why a good match selection system is needed for draw trading.

League choice boils down to what information is available. Stats are important. The technique described in this post focuses on using football stats to help select which matches to trade.   The Barclay’s Premiership is a good choice of league because accurate stats are freely and widely available. There are also some very good paid services. The following stats can be useful for selecting matches for draw trading.  These include among others, goals for / against home and away, goal difference, and, corners won and conceded.

There are some key betting stats about the Premiership that help traders choose the best games (source Secret Betting Club’s Essential football guide). Home win advantage is something that is well known to people and it is strongest in the Barclay’s Premiership compared to other UK leagues. Moreover, some teams will have a much stronger home team advantage than other teams, meaning we know there is a much higher chance of that team scoring first, making it a great match to trade the draw.

Another useful stat is that if the home team won their last away game it also increases the chances that they will win (the game they are playing at home).

Which stats should be used to select high confidence games to trade?

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  • Shots for and against for home and away games
  • Shots on target
  • Goal difference


Let’s look at an example of a good match. It is good practice to look at the home team first.

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  • The home team has relatively high goal for numbers, a high positive goal difference (indicating they score lots more goals than their opponents) and has high shots on target.  Home team stats only.
  • The away team has high goals against numbers, high negative goal difference, and low shots on target.  Away team stats only.


Looking at this match it is highly likely that the home team will score more goals than the away team, especially if the their previous game in the same league was a home team win.   This would be a good game to lay the draw and back for guaranteed profit after one or two goals.These stats can be used in a variety of different combinations to predict which games will be best for trading the draw.

A free resource which is most worthy of a mention is the Sunday Times Fink Tank football predictor (source Secret Betting Club’s Essential football guide).  It uses a statistical model and a ranking system to produce match predictions, ranking factors and a game simulation.  Fink Tank is free and it uses shots on target as one of the main ranking factors.  One feature of Fink Tank which is useful for selecting matches for high confidence draw bet trading is the predictions for up coming matches. The chance of a draw is given as a percentage, which makes it easy to see which games are mostly likely not to draw.

Maximizing gains and minimizing loses of Premiership draw trading.

Entry and exit timing is an important part of increasing gains and reducing loses.   The trader may decide to only enter a lay bet after 15 minutes.  The average Premiership game produces a goal after about 20 to 25 minutes.  By delaying the entry of the trade it ensures the entry odds are as low as possible.  Also, the swing of odds will be larger after a goal is scored producing a larger profit.

How much of a loss should a trader allow before closing a trade?  The trigger for closing a trade is measured as a percentage of the betting bank or by time.   For instance if the trade moves against the trader by more than 20% it is close, or if there has been no goals at half time the trade should be closed. Another method is to close the trade if it risks more than a certain percentage of the betting bank overall.

Loosing trades are closed quickly.  The number of winning trades need to outweigh the number of loosing trades to make the strategy a success.

What problems can occur with draw trading?

One risk is that the away team underdogs score first, in which case the odds might not move at all.  Now the trader needs to either close the trade or sit tight until the odds lengthen enough to produce a profit.  If the home team favourites score the odds will drop and a large loss can occur.

An example of trading the draw on a football match

Our guinea pig trader was watching the Euro 2012 group stage match of England Vs Wales and decided to trade the draw. It’s not a Premiership draw trading example, but it will do. It’s show it’s easy to do on any match as long as the stats suggest it is a suitable game. Why was this game selected.  First of England where the favourites and playing on home turf (Wembley Stadium).  They came out of their last game with a win.  They have also been very good a winning corners, and more than the other side.  Goal difference is on there side, etc etc.

When was entry made?

Unusually, England hadn’t scored after the first 20 minutes (this allowed the odds to shorten slightly).  Our trader decided that this was a good time to enter a lay bet for £20.  The game continued with no goal, which caused the odds to shorten, taking the trade into a loss.  10 minutes before the second half Ahsley Young scored a goal. The result is shown below: an image from bet trading software our trader uses. Look at the top right hand corner. That was the value of the trade after the goal was scored.

Swing trade on the draw


When to exit the trade?

England looked like the stronger side so our trader took the bold move of letting the trade run.  Anyone without experience should have taken a profit here.  If Wales equalise the odds will swing in the opposite direction and produce a loss.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]This software is free from Racing Traders.  The match odds are shown in the ladder format, England win, Wales win, and the draw.  The column in the middle is the odds and the green box shows the odds being matched in real time (or very close to it).  The blue column to the right shows back bets and the pink column to the left shows lay bets. The figures show the amount of money matched at those odds.  There is a graph to the left of the column charting odds movement. The chart of odds for the draw shows that they jumped upwards just before the image was taken.  To secure the trade and bank the profit the trader needs to click the green profit figure, top right.[/box]

Any one who watched the game would now that it was no plain sailing there was at least three occasions where Wales looked like they would score, so the odds got very choppy.   After 75 minutes Wales started to dominate so our trader clicked the green number top right and banked the profit for a 32% return on the stake.  Ideally England should have scored another goal and really guaranteed the result.  In which case the trader could have let the trade run for the full £20.

What resources are good to use?

The Sunday Times Fink Tank is good for selecting games to dig into the stats. Football 365 is good for goal difference, and Betfair has a good form guide with head to head stats accessible from the football section. To make the trades Let’s Compare Bets recommends Bet Trader from Racing Traders, because it’s free and has been designed by a trader.

Swing trading should form a part of any serious trader’s kit of trading tools. The draw market is a good market for trading swings in the odds and Premiership football is a good place to start due to the availability of free stats. To subscribe to our Trading and Investing section click the button to the top right of the screen, press Control D.

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