THE SCIENCE OF BETFAIR GRAPHS

1. General

Betfair graphs are one of the most important tools, to make a profitable trading investment. By using graphs, you have a strong indicator of where things are going and by studying Betfair graphs, we can find the most appropriate time period, to make our short time trading, during a football match, . In this article, we will define some main principles of Betfair’s graphs behaviour in Over / Under markets. What's more, we should work on real graphs, in ordrr to understand some specialized trading techniques and strategies. The reader has to be familiar of how to use Betfair exchange market and of course with the basic definitions of trading.

2. The idealized Behaviour of Betfair Graphs for Under Markets when there is no Goals

An Under goal market is a very strong and famous market for traders. The graphs of Under goals markets (Under 2.5 etc.) are usually very predictable in price movement during a football match. The fundamental law of an Under goal graph during a match with no goals scored is reduction of prices (odds), as the possibility of the event to happened increase. Figure 4.1 shows the above behaviour. When there is no scoring in the match the possibility of Under 2.5 market increase as it shown in Figure 4.1a. At the same time there is a reduction of the odds as it shown in Figure 4.1b.

Figure 1: Idealized behaviour of possibility & price movement during a live Football match

The idealized behaviour of odds movement as it shown in figure 4.1b starts from a value n0 when the football match begin and follow a smooth curve 1 until t1 time. Between t0 & tE time the inclination of the curve 2 are steeper than curve 1 and after tE close to the end of the game the curve is getting smoother (curve 3). The explanation of this behaviour is:

Curve 1 : From the beginning of the match until t1 time, which is usually t0=10-12min, the possibility of the event to occur does not change dramatically, because it is a very short time of the game and the two teams usually do not attack enough. Nevertheless, it is very interesting to learn that at the first 10min of a football match, there is a big possibility of scoring (www.betpractice.com, Trading Statistics & Research).

Curve 2 : The inclination of this curve is definitely steeper than the inclination of curve 1. This curve represents the main part of the match, from time t0=10-12min until tE=70-85min. As there is no goal during the match the possibility of the event (Under 2.5 or 1.5 etc) to occur increases (figure 4.1a) and because of that the odd prices reduce, as it shown in figure 4.1b.
Having in mind that curve 2 represented the idealized behaviour of average price movements. In real Betfair graphs (see paragraph………) curve 2 include many fluctuations or parts with different inclinations. About turning points the exact values of time t0 and tE are different among markets Under 1.5, Under 2.5, Under 3.5 and Under 4.5 and of course it depends of the type of the match. A generalized rule is that value of t0 is close to 10min and tE ranges between 70 to 85min.

Curve 3 : Represents the price movements for the last minutes of the match. At that time and because no goal were scored, the possibility of the event to occur (Under 2.5 etc) is already high. The odds price is already small (value ntE, figure 4.1b) and because of that the inclination of specific curve is smooth and until the end of the game.

2.1 Definition of Rating in Betfair Graphs

Trying to understand Betfair graphs is very useful to define the Rate of price movements. In figure 4.2 there is a typical section of a Betfair odds graph showing the inclination of the curve. To define the inclination of the curve we have to measure the number of ticks the price reduced in one minute. So the definition of the Rate is:

r= (tick reduction) / minute

Figure 4.2: Typical inclination of a Betfair Graph

Example 1:
At time t=10min the odd for Under 2.5 is n=1.80
At time t=11min the odd for Under 2.5 is n=1.78

The rate r of the curve is:
Price reduction (1.80-1.78)=0.02 that means 2 ticks (because between odds 1.01-2.00, one tick=0.01)
Time difference is 11-10=1min.
So r=2/1 that means r=2 tick/min

Example 2:
At time t=22min the odd for Under 2.5 is n=1.65
At time t=30min the odd for Under 2.5 is n=1.57

The rate r of the curve is:
Price reduction (1.65-1.57)=0.08 that means 8 ticks
Time difference is 30-22=8min.
So r=8/8 that means r=1 tick/min

Rate r is a very useful index because it shows the reduction of price movements. When r has a high value that means there is a good opportunity for trading. When r has a small value that means there is a small reduction of prices, so trading is not so profitable.

Table 4.1: Methodology of Rate measuring

In table 4.1 there is a framework of measuring rates in a football match. At the first 15min of the game, we record the back values every minute. In column (3) there is a calculation of price difference between minutes (etc. between 6 to 7min price difference is 1.76-1.75=0.01) and in column (4) there is a record of rates r. For example from 6 to 7 minutes of the game the rate is 1tick/min.
Looking the values of table 4.1 we can assume that until 10min of the game the rates are steady and small, but from 10 to 15min rates increased. Trying to estimate the average values there is:

Time Period 0 to 10min :
r=(0+1+1+0+2+0+1+1+1+1) / 10=8/10=0.8 tick/min
Time Period 10 to 15min :
r=(2+1+3+3+3) / (15-10)=12/5=2.4 tick/min

It is obvious that after 10min of the game the rate r increase and if you make trading at this period you will take more tick in one or two minutes. Of course, tick has no decimal value but an integer value. We cannot say 0.8 or 2.4 ticks. However, estimation of average value in column (5) has a theoretical meaning of tick reduction. Values of 0.8 ticks/min means, 0 or 1 tick movement and 2.4 ticks/min means, about 2 or 3 ticks in a minute.

Classification Chart of Rate
Smooth         0-1 ticks
Quick            1-2 ticks
Sharp           >2 ticks

3. The idealized Behaviour of Betfair Graphs for Under Markets when there is Goal scoring

Figure 4.3 shown a typical idealized graph of a football match with two goals scored. Let’s have a look at the graph:
• Time t0
Until time t0 the curve has an average rate r0, which is usually a small rate due to the start of the game.
• Time t0 to tG1
After t0 curve is being steeper with rate r1 as it has been explained in previous paragraphs. At time tG1 a goal is scored and because the possibility of the event for etc Under 2.5 reduced, there is a sharp and perpendicular increase of the odd price. From now on we call this price movement as peak.
• Time tG1 to tG2
After the goal there is a period of time that the rate rG1 of the curve is steady to smooth, because many people sell and buy bets. After that period curve with rate rG1a is becoming quick and usually steeper than curve with rate r1. When the second goal comes at time tG2 another peak moves the price at high values.
• Time tG2 to End of the Game
After the second goal there is a period of time that the rate rG2 of the curve is steady to smooth. If, for example, you are in Under 2.5 market this period will be stayed a lot of minutes, more than the correspondence period of the first goal, because with an another third goal market is closed.
After that period curve with rate rG2a is becoming quick and sometimes sharp, usually steeper than curve with rate rG1a.

Figure 3: Idealized behaviour during a live Football match with two goals scored

4. Handle the Graphs (Scalping Windows)

The main reason to understand and explain the behaviour of the graphs is to make secure and profitable trades during the game. The basic concept is to find short periods of quick to sharp rates to make Back↔Lay trades.
In practice when we make trades (Back↔Lay) for a short periods we call it Scalping. From now on these short periods that give the opportunity of scalping we call it Scalping Windows (SW). It is very important to predict periods of Scalping Windows during a football match. Probably, it is the main target of a trader in football.
In figure 4.4 there is a detail section of a Betfair graph. During a football match there is some periods that price movements remain almost steady. From now on we call it odds Pressure Periods (PP). Pressure periods generates for many reasons during the game as:

1 Some minutes after a Goal scored
2 When a team strongly pressures for a goal and attacks last long
3 Before a free kick outside the “big” area
4 Before a corner
5 When one team plays much better than the other team
6 When there is a strong team

Just after the Pressure Period ends it is usually fundamental, that there is a Scalping Window as it shown in figure 4.4. Figure 4.5 shown some standard SW during a game. Usually there is a SW after time t0 and some minutes after a goal. A SW sometimes generates at the very last minutes of the end of the game. Of course there are more SW during a match as it has been explained above.

Figure 4.4: Typical behaviour of a Pressure Period and a Scalping Window.

Figure 4.5: Idealized behaviour during a live Football match with two goals scored.

5.  Studying and Practice with Real Betfair Graphs

In this paragraph we are going to practice our knowledge so far about graphs. We will try to investigate Pressure Periods (PP) and Scalping Windows (SW) in Under 1.5, Under 2.5 and Under 3.5 markets.

1. Example 1:

Figure 4.6: Typical Betfair Price movements for Under 2.5 Market

Under 2.5:
When the game started the price was about 1.70. There was a clear pressure period PP1 at the start of the game until time t0 and then the idealized average curve until time tE. There is a small SW1 just after PP1 and we can distinguish some very short PP and SW. The reason there are no many SW is that there is no goal.

2. Example 2:

Figure 4.7: Typical Betfair Price movements for Under 1.5 Market

Under 1.5:
When the game started the price was about 3.80. There was a clear pressure period PP1 at the start of the game until time t0 and then a clear linear curve until time tG1. There is a small SW1 just after PP1.
There were no PP after the goal, but there were a clear and very sharp SW2 for a long period. Under 1.5 market usually presents a SW just after the first goal.

Figure 4.8: Typical Betfair Price movements for Under 2.5 Market

Under 2.5:
When the game started the price was about 1.80. There was a clear pressure period PP1 at the start of the game for a long period until time t0 and then a clear linear curve until time tG1. There is no clear SW just after PP1. Maybe there was a SW but for a very short period.
There were a short PP2 after the goal, and a clear sharp SW2 for a long period. There were also a PP3 at price 1.60 and then a clear SW3.

3. Example 3:

Figure 4.9: Typical Betfair Price movements for Under 2.5 Market

Under 2.5:
When the game started the price was about 2.20. There was a clear pressure period PP1 at the start of the game until time t0 and then a clear SW1 just after PP1. There is also another short PP2 and SW2 before the first goal. After the goal there was a clear PP3 and a very sharp SW3 after. Another 2 PP4-SW4 and PP5-SW5 are clearly distinguished. After the second goal there is a clear PP6 and a very sharp SW6 after.

4. Example 4:

Figure 4.10: Typical Betfair Price movements for Under 3.5 Market

Under 3.5:
When the game started the price was about 1.55. There was a clear pressure period PP1 at the start of the game until time t0 and then a clear SW1 just after PP1. There is also another short PP2-SW2 before the first goal. After the first goal there was a clear PP3 for a long time and a very sharp SW3 after.
After the second goal there is a clear PP4-SW4 case, the same after the third goal PP5-SW5.

5. Example 5:

Figure 4.11: Typical Betfair Price movements for Under 2.5 Market

Under 2.5:
When the game started the price was about 1.65. There was a clear pressure period PP1 at the start of the game until time t0 and then a clear SW1 just after PP1. The curve after t0 was steady and linear with very few short SW. It is very important to notice a PP2 before the goal. That means the team pressured to score and the prices couldn’t reduce.
There is also another short PP3-SW3 quite long time after the goal.

6. Example 6:

Figure 4.12: Typical Betfair Price movements for Under 2.5 Market

Under 2.5:
When the game started the price was about 2.00. There was a clear pressure period PP1 at the start of the game until time t0 but not so clear SW. There is a PP2-SW2 & PP3-SW3 during the game. That means the game was very strong with a lot of opportunities to score. It is very interesting to notice the pressure PP4 just before the first goal, a sign that there was a pressure for scoring.
A clear PP5-SW5 and PP6-SW6 exist just after the first and second goals.

7. Example 7:

Figure 4.13: Typical Betfair Price movements for Under 2.5 Market

Under 2.5:
When the game started the price was about 1.65. There was a clear pressure period PP1 at the start of the game until time t0 but not so clear SW. Although there was one goal the graph didn’t has clear PP and SW. That probably means the game was not so strong for scoring.
There is a PP2-SW2 after the goal and a PP3-SW3, PP4-SW4 before the end of match.

8. Example 8:

Figure 4.14: Typical Betfair Price movements for Under 2.5 Market

Under 2.5:
When the game started the price was about 1.70. There was a clear pressure period PP1 at the start of the game until time t0 and a clear very sharp SW1. Although there was only one goal the graph has many PP and SW that probably means the game was very strong and there were many opportunities for scoring.

As a conclusion, it is obvious that understanding and studying Betfair Graphs we can conclude very useful results for our Trading and investment. Almost all Betfair graphs follow some simple rules presented in this text. A careful understanding of the theory presented in this text can give us the opportunity to make scalping in specific periods, instead off blind trials. Although football trading graphs for Under goals are steady, in the case of a goal (peak) you can lose a big percentage of your initial stake.

In www.betpractice.com there is statistical research to understand the possibility of having a goal during a Scalping Window period. So, if you only trade in Scalping Windows periods, you can make profitable trading inside them.

A Scalping Trader has to carefully interprete graphs and statistics and that's why he needs a theory.