Sports Trading Guide

In this sports trading guide, we explain this type of betting and its strategies. We learn how it differs from traditional betting and how you can profit by understanding and adapting to changing odds.

Table of content

Pros & Cons of Sports Trading

Like any form of investment, sports trading has advantages and challenges. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of it:


  • High Profits Potential: Skilled traders can achieve significant earnings, especially as they gain more experience and expertise reading the market.
  • Control Over Bets: Unlike traditional betting, sports trading allows you to adjust or exit your position during an event, offering more control and flexibility.
  • Less Reliance on Luck: Success in sports trading depends more on skill, strategy, and analysis than luck.
  • Market Liquidity: Platforms like Betfair provide good liquidity, making it easier to find matches for your bets, especially in popular sports.
  • Professional Tools: Access to advanced tools and data for better decision-making enhances the trading experience.
  • Diverse Strategies: Various trading strategies can cater to different risk appetites and styles.


  • Takes Time & Effort: To be successful, sports trading demands significant time investment for research, analysis, and active management of bets.
  • Risk of Loss: Like any form of betting, there’s always a risk of losing money, especially for beginners still learning the market.
  • Complex for Beginners: The learning curve can be steep, requiring understanding both the sport and the trading platform.

Understanding Sports Trading

Sports trading is a way to bet on sports where two users trade bets on a betting exchange platform. This trading happens when one player predicts an outcome (backing) and another bets against it (laying). 

They must agree on the stake and odds for the bet to match. Unlike traditional betting with a bookmaker, in sports trading, you deal directly with another bettor, not a company.

The odds in sports trading change based on supply and demand, especially during the event. This movement of odds offers the chance to make a profit. There’s no bookmaker involved, so your opponent is another player with a different view, not a company with opposing interests.

Sports trading is considered simpler than financial trading in stocks or forex because it involves fewer variables. In football trading, for example, the main focus is the goal. Understanding how odds change during a live event is a key to making money in sports trading.

Earning Potential

Your earnings are closely tied to your investment time and effort in sports trading. Simply put, the more time you dedicate, the greater your potential profits. This time investment is essential for analyzing odds movements and determining the best strategies to exploit these fluctuations.

Odds in sports trading can change dramatically – they might shift within a matter of seconds or gradually over several days. Your ability to profit lies in how well you can predict and respond to these changes, influenced by the market’s popularity and the emergence of new information that affects odds.

For those just starting in sports trading with a budget of about 100€, earning up to 40€ per day is possible. 

However, for professional sports traders who have honed their skills and understand the markets deeply, the earnings can reach several hundred pounds a day, depending on the available offers and their proficiency in analyzing the markets.

So, to sum up, earning potential in sports trading:

  • Time Investment Equals Profit: The more time you dedicate to sports trading, the higher your potential profits. It’s that simple. Devoting time is crucial to analyze how odds change and strategize to capitalize on these fluctuations.
  • Odds Fluctuations: Odds can change rapidly, within seconds, or over several days. Profits in sports trading are made by understanding and reacting to these changes, which vary based on market popularity and new, impactful information.
  • Earnings for Beginners: New traders starting with around 200€ can potentially make up to 80€ per day.
  • Earnings for Professionals: Experienced sports traders can earn several hundred pounds daily, depending on market conditions and their skill in analyzing available markets.


⭐ What is sports trading?

Sports trading involves users trading bets on a betting exchange platform, where one player backs an outcome while another lays against it, with stakes and odds agreed upon for the bet to match. Unlike traditional betting with a bookmaker, in sports trading, bettors deal directly with each other, and odds fluctuate based on supply and demand, providing profit opportunities.

⭐ Is sports trading profitable?

The profit potential is a significant advantage of sports trading. From our experience with both professional gamblers and sports traders, sports trading is easier and more profitable than traditional sports betting.

⭐ What is the best sport to trade?

Typically, the more popular the sport, the greater the market potential, offering more profit opportunities. In all these sports, the main concept is consistent: bet high when backing and bet low when laying.

⭐ Can you make a living in sports trading?

Sports trading can be a source of income for many, but it also involves the risk of losing money. Success in this field often comes with experience and a deep understanding of the sports, the odds, and the use of complex mathematical models to gain an advantage.

⭐ How do I become a successful sports trader?

Concentrate on one sport. Becoming an expert in one area is more straightforward than trying multiple sports. Invest time in learning the market, choose your trading style (e.g., scalping, swing trading, pre-match, or live betting), and consider taking a course for faster and more effective learning.

Sports Betting Odds

Trading on sports betting odds is done through a unique feature called “laying the odds.” This is the opposite of “backing an odd.” When you lay an odd, you’re betting against a specific outcome, and you could lose more than your initial stake.

In sports trading, you either back or lay an odd and then decide to exit your position, either in profit or loss, based on how the match is going. This differs from regular betting because you manage your bets actively during the game.

An Example

Let’s say there’s a match between Chelsea and Barcelona. You decide to lay over 2.5 goals with a 200€ stake, which means you’re risking 220€.

Suppose 25 minutes into the game, you choose to exit the trade. You could earn a profit, like 25€, irrespective of whether the match ends over or under 2.5 goals. This strategy is known as “greening up.” In this scenario, you’ve secured a profit early in the game, and the final score doesn’t impact your winnings.

Laying an odd means you’re betting against a specific outcome. For example, by laying over 2.5 goals, you benefit if the game concludes with fewer than 2.5 goals.


Trading vs. Bets

Sports trading is very different from classic betting. In traditional betting, people often bet based on their personal beliefs or to experience the thrill without much analysis. Once they place a bet, they can only hope for the best until the match ends.

In contrast, a sports trader analyzes the match using statistics and professional tools. They actively manage their bets during the game, adjusting their positions based on how the event unfolds.

A sports trader interacts with the market in real time. If their predictions are going well, they can close the trade in profit (known as “greening up”). They can limit their losses if things aren’t going as planned (“red up”). 

This approach is dynamic, unlike the static nature of classic betting. In sports trading, the trader actively engages with the betting exchange system, making decisions based on the match’s progress.

Who is A Sports Trader?

A sports trader professionally engages in sports trading. Unlike a regular bettor, a sports trader doesn’t just place bets for fun. Instead, they use a systematic approach and professional tools to analyze sports matches and minimize risks.

Money management is a crucial part of sports trading. It involves dividing available capital across various trades to reduce risk and leverage statistics in their favor. For a sports trader, statistics are key. 

They rely on statistical data to inform their decisions, understanding that, over time, these numbers can work to their advantage. The goal of a sports trader is to make a profit consistently through their informed trading strategies.

Betfair Platform

If you’re interested in sports trading, you must open an account with Betfair exchange platform with good liquidity, especially for live events. 

Here are the steps on how to open an account in the Betfair exchange platform:

  1. Go to the Betfair website or app and click the “Join Now” button.
  2. Fill out the registration form. This will require you to provide your name, date of birth, address, email address, and phone number. You will also need to create a username and password.
  3. Verify your email address and phone number. Betfair will send you a verification code to your email address and phone number. Enter the code into the appropriate fields on the website or app to verify your account.
  4. Submit your identification documents. Betfair will require you to upload copies of your ID card or passport and proof of address. This is to verify your identity and prevent fraud.
  5. Fund your account. You can fund your account using various methods, including credit card, debit card, bank transfer, and PayPal.
  6. Start betting. Once your account is verified and funded, you can start betting on the Betfair exchange platform.

Sports Betting Strategies

A clear action plan and methodology are crucial to succeed in sports trading. Here are some key strategies to consider:

  • Understand Different Strategies: There are various strategies in sports trading, each with strengths and weaknesses. Choose a plan based on your risk tolerance and trading goals.
  • Scalping: This popular method involves continuously backing and laying bets, taking advantage of the changing odds during a live match. To effectively scalp, you need a deep understanding of the process and technical aspects to trade with minimal delay.
  • Start Simple: Beginners should start with well-known and simpler strategies.

Examples include:

  • Laying the Draw: Betting against a draw in a match.
  • Laying Over 2.5 Goals: Betting that a game will have fewer than 2.5 goals.

Different Sports Strategies

Here’s a straightforward guide to some common trading strategies across different sports:

Football Trading Strategies:

  • Laying The Draw (LTD): Bet against a draw in a football match.
  • Laying Correct Score Markets: Bet against specific final score outcomes.
  • Laying Big Favourites or Underdogs: Bet against the heavily favored or unlikely teams to win.
  • Laying Correct Score 0-0: Specifically, bet against the match ending in a 0-0 draw.

Horse Trading Strategies:

  • Scalping Before the Race Starts: Make small profits by trading odds before the race begins.
  • Laying the Favourite: Bet against the most favored horse to win.
  • Laying Front Runners: Bet against horses that start strong but might need more time to finish.
  • Swing Trading Before the Start: Look for larger odds movements before the race for bigger profits.

Tennis Trading Strategies:

  • Backing the Server: Bet on the player who is serving to win.
  • Laying the Favourite: Bet against the player who is favored to win.
  • Scalping the Server: Make small, quick profits by betting on the serving player.
  • Laying Low Prices: Bet against players with low odds, expecting them to lose.

Do You Need Much To Start?

You don’t need a large amount of money to start sports trading. Unlike many other investment forms, the changing odds over time can lead to significant profits.

Imagine it’s the 75th minute of a match; the score is 1-0, and the odds for under 1.5 goals are around 2.00. If you bet 100€, you could double your money in 15 minutes, provided the score remains the same.

Few investments or speculative activities offer such a high return in a short time, making sports trading unique.

Starting with an account of 500€ to 1,000€ is adequate for learning and earning significant profits. Remember, correct money management is a key to success in sports trading.

How to Become a Professional Sports Trader?

To succeed in sports trading, here are some essential tips:

✔ Focus on One Sports Market: Understanding a single sports market is essential due to the numerous variables involved. Trying to track multiple sports can be overwhelming and less effective. Specialize in one sport to maximize your profit.

✔ Develop a Long-Term Strategy: Becoming a professional trader is gradual. Success won’t happen overnight, so plan your strategy for the next few months. This long-term approach will help you master the skills needed.

✔ Manage Your Budget Wisely: Money management is crucial in trading or betting. You must have clear financial goals and understand how to manage your funds. With this, you can gain everything.

✔ Distinguish Exchanges & Bookmakers: Knowing how financial and sports markets differ is key. 

Sports Trading Psychology

Emotions play a significant role in sports trading, mainly through feelings like greed and fear.

Greed leads to wanting more wins or profits, which can make traders take risky bets on uncertain teams or without proper analysis. They might also stick with winning bets for too long to get more profit or make big, risky bets, especially when they see a team or player doing well.

Fear can also make traders end their bets too early or not take risks because they fear losing. This is more common when teams are losing or during unpredictable events. Fear can turn into panic during big upsets, causing traders to pull out of their bets quickly.

Regret is another emotion in sports trading. It can make traders join in bets late because they feel like they missed out, often leading to bad timing and losses, particularly when they enter the market at its highest point.

Behavioral Biases in Sports Trading

In sports trading, certain behavioral biases can impact decision-making:

  • Mental Accounting: This is when traders treat different bets differently instead of considering all money as the same. For example, they might prefer to keep winning bets and sell losing ones, even if maintaining the losers might be more competent due to potential turnarounds.
  • Overconfidence: Traders often overestimate their abilities, thinking they’re better at predicting outcomes than they are. This can lead to excessive trading, increased costs, and poor results.
  • Herd Behavior: Traders might follow the majority, thinking there’s safety in numbers. This can happen even if it means neglecting their research, leading to poor decisions.
  • Emotional Gap: Extreme emotions, like fear or excitement, can lead to irrational choices. Fear and greed, in particular, can cause traders to overreact, either with unfounded optimism or panic.
  • Anchoring: This is when traders stick to an initial reference point, like the first price they paid for a bet, regardless of its current value or prospects.
  • Self-attribution: Traders may credit their successes to their skills and blame failures on external factors rather than acknowledging their decision-making errors.
  • Loss Aversion: This is the tendency to fear losses more than value gains. Traders might avoid sensible bets to escape losses, even if the risks are acceptable rationally.


Sports trading is a unique form of betting where you exchange bets with others on a platform. Unlike regular betting, odds change during the game, and you react to those changes.

Success depends on your time and understanding of the game. Beginners can earn daily, while experienced traders can make more with careful bet management and a solid strategy.

You can start with a small amount of money and focus on one sport for better long-term results. Sports trading offers an exciting way to bet on sports and profit by responding to shifting odds.

Dalius Mikalauskas

Sports Betting Expert

Dalius became interested in sports betting at the age of 16, although he could not place bets at that time (bets accepted from the age of 18). However, it was not forbidden to sell betting picks, which is what the author did actively on sports betting forums. Today, he has more than 18 years of experience in sports betting. In school, the auth ..
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