Mastering the tennis markets on Betfair comes down to the efficiency of your entries and exits.
Most of the time, the biggest problem is NOT clicking when tempted…
Let me explain with a tennis trading example from this weekend. It was a classic (although it did result in a small loss). I’ll unpack what happened and what I was thinking in 3 parts.
#1 Analysing The Opening Games:
Trading tennis isn’t about gambling or taking risks, so it’s always wise to sit out the first two games of any match. There are always exceptions to the rule but the first two games of a match are always full of pressure, as I mentioned in a recent post about the most likely turning points.
In this instance, both Beatriz Haddad Maia and Sorana Cirstea had a wobbly start. Check out the point-for-point scoring on the right of the image below…
Choosing when we trade is one of our biggest advantages. Staying out of trouble is just as important as pulling the trigger at the right time.
I’ve also highlighted that first break in service on the Betfair charts at the bottom.
Now I have to be honest. At this stage, it was almost tempting to get involved. The match was clearly going to be full of breaks in service, and the favourite was trading at around half the opening price. However, neither player had settled into their rhythm and a double break appeared a possibility.
It turned out to be a sound decision when we look at what happened next.
20% Discount for Wimbledon: Tennis Trading Guide
#2 Capitalising On a Clear Advantage:
A second break in service, just three games into the match.
At this point, there had been several breakpoints and play had gone to deuce 9 times. The favourite broke the underdog both times, although it seemed to be far from a one-sided matchup. This was ideal, lending itself to one of my favourite tennis trading strategies.
Playing an early double break makes a lot of sense mathematically within the market. Check out the price history and points scoring here:
Everything lines up nicely here, it’s just a question of what’s happening on the court. As I said, the underdog didn’t look like they were going to get steamrollered at this point so we were presented with a very clear value entry. Long-term the odds were on our side, which is all we can ask for. Trading isn’t about winning every time after all.
Average entry – 1.31.
And then this happened…
No real shock there, right?
To re-iterate; this made sense because effectively, we were being offered a highly compressed price early in a match where everything could change (and it looked like it might).
If there had been a second bread back in service prices would have doubled again, beyond the original starting price. This is because the market always expects the favourite to deliver. If they should be evenly scoring, later in a match, their price drifts. It’s a bit like time-decay in football markets.
Now the original plan was to let this play out longer-term, but the continual struggle to finish a game without going to duece made me nervous. For that reason, I exited at 3 – 2.
Once again I was willing to sit on my hands and wait. Depending on play and the first set’s outcome I would be looking to enter again, this time at a point of tension on court and compression in the market.
#3 Big Payday, Fair Chance…
Beatriz managed to secure the first set, although again, not easily.
Sorana had to serve first in the second set which was much like the first set. In fact, the whole match was flip-flopping point for point. In the first game of the second set she lost serve once more.
Now I had what I would gauge as a fair opportunity with a very large payoff. Prices in the market were extremely condensed, and although Beatriz had a clear advantage – it wasn’t proving an easy task for her.
The percentages were in our favour again, so I opened up at 1.12.
It was just sod’s law that Sorana practically gifted Beatriz her first service game in the second set, leaving me in an unfavourable position…
At 1.02 there wasn’t much point in trading out. Sure I could have saved a little downside although, with £14.80 total exposure, it didn’t seem worthwhile.
Sorana went majorly off the boil from this point, unfortunately leaving me at a small loss. It felt like she had fallen to pieces after being broken in the first game of the second set, one of those key points I mentioned in that turning point post.
However, it’s worth mentioning that if Beatriz’s first service game had been different with a break back, it would have left us £400+ in the green. The downside risk was low, but the upside potential was massive. Only 4 short games previously it looked wide open. Despite the loss, I’m happy enough with how this went.