Knockout football can offer a unique edge when it comes to trading. It’s a very different mindset for teams who need to score, or need the other team not to score.
As another Champions League season draws to a close, we have the Euro 2021 (Euro 2020) Knockout games to look forward to this summer. I can see this tournament breaking some records as football fans are allowed to enjoy life again as the Covid19 crisis comes to an end. Stadiums will have some fans, some pubs will be packed – it’s going to be a good summer!
I’m going to summarise a few different knockout trading angles in this blog.
We could see a lot of these strategies develop in-play at Euro 2021…
Knockout football strategy can be applied to most competitions. But for this article, we’re going to focus on Champions League trading because it’s Europe’s most elite competition. The strategies will work on the Europa League, Euro’s and World Cup’s – even the Nations League and to a lesser extent the likes of the FA Cup and so on.
To fully understand what games will benefit from each strategy, it’s best to break the Champions League down into different stages.
Champions League Group Stages:
First, you have the first three/four games of Group Stages. You should approach these games just like any usual domestic league weekend game (with your stats). It’s not quite like trading knockout football. The game should flow normally with both sides having the same goals or nothing unusual to aim for.
Second, you have the last three/two games of Group Stages. By this stage, you should have a lot of angles as to what teams need to do or sometimes more importantly, what they don’t need to do. For example, Man City might have won their first four games in the Group, and now they can play their second XI for the final two games.
Teams might need to win, and that will be reflected in the play on the pitch as they will be attacking more, so you’ll have to alter your scalping or trading the goal markets strategies. Teams will also need (or be happy with) a draw, so you’ll see them wasting time in the second half and that can suit scalping or taking advantage of time decay.
There’s a lot of angles in the final two Group games. The third place in the Group goes into the Europa League, so even the smaller teams will have something to play for. Sometimes an ideal opportunity could be a team already through having won their first four games and a small team, with home advantage, needing a result for a Europa League spot.
Champions League Knockouts
Third, you come to the First Leg Knockouts. This is where you can find a lot of first-half strategies to exploit. Teams don’t want to throw away their chances early when they have 180 minutes of football ahead of them, and usually, we can see quiet starts in the opening 20 minutes. This helps to scalp and trade under 2.5 goals for example.
There’s also an angle in the second half too as teams don’t mind drawing, especially with away goals and teams don’t mind losing by one goal either. Losing 2-1 with an away goal in the bag isn’t a bad first leg result, and you won’t see teams open up in the final 15 minutes like they usually would when behind. This suits time decay and with accelerated time decay towards the end this can be very profitable. Of course, you can get some crazy first legs with two attacking sides and plenty of goals, but this doesn’t happen often.
Fourth, you have Second Leg Knockouts. This is where you see the game open up when trading knockout football, and we tend to see more action in front of the goal. You don’t want to have a big stake on under, or scalping when teams chase a game and leave gaps at the back. The market can behave very erratically too.
An obvious one too – there’s also an angle outside of the match in front of you in the sense that a team might be losing, but because they won the first leg they don’t need to chase the game. They are happy with losing 2-1 if they have won the first leg 3-0. In those situations, you have to ignore the actual match scoreline and focus on what teams need to do when thinking about trades. The team losing might actually be the team wasting time! If they are the better team and sit with 11 men behind the ball, you could take advantage of time decay. Away goals are a huge factor, and you will see a lot of teams play for a draw.
Fifth, and finally, we have one-off games (Finals usually but all knockout games in the likes of the Euro’s and World Cup’s). These games should be easy to approach as we know exactly what teams have to do. In the Final, clearly, it’s a one-off game. However, when we have Quarter Finals’ likes, we do have some lateral trading opportunities in the Outright Markets.
Football Trading Video Pack
This week, we’ve updated the Football Trading Video Pack to include a full section on the Champions League. This section has an example of live trading using the strategies ideally suited to knockout football and the strategies can be applied to any knockout tournament.
The section has six modules and they include:
- CL overview
- CL Directional Trading
- CL Outsider Reaction
- CL Scalping & Reaction
- CL Stalling Points
- CL Discipline
I feel this section offers some excellent trading edges, and I hope Football Video Pack users enjoy the update!