With the Australian Open well under way and with a whole 11 months of tennis to look forward to, I thought it would be a good time to post about the sport that I have found most success at Betfair on, tennis trading. I have just listened to the podcast on Pro Trader Tip with Scott Ferguson from Sport is made for Betting. Even though I haven’t done much trading for a while mainly due to time constraints, it has got me all inspired to do get involved again.
The podcast is here: http://www.protradertip.com/x-traders-guide-week-22/ and it’s very helpful particularly for new tennis traders.
Tennis is great for inplay trading mainly because of the regular fluctuations in the prices of the two places during a match, giving multiple opportunities to come away from a match in profit. There’s also a lot of tennis matches every year (into the thousands) and there’s plenty of money circulating on the Betfair markets inplay.
Because of the volatility of the markets you have to be very careful because just as it’s easy to win money it similarly easy to lose and you can end up chasing your tail until you are massively red on both players. I would recommend watching the markets and paper trading or using A Geek Toy’s in test mode to see how well you can read the matches and markets before wasting any money.
When you do actually to decide to commit your own cash, I would start off putting a regular stake into the market at a time and make sure that this is something you are then able to put on the next match at least 10 and preferably 20 or more times over, should you lose on this one.
To trade Tennis effectively the following things are essential:
1) Historical Data – A good source of past data is crucial e.g. for form info, head-to-heads and surface based results. On Court’s brilliant software (http://www.oncourt.info/) is the best for this but there are also some good subscription based sites like tennis insight (http://www.tennisinsight.com/index2.php). For the more analytical trader who wants to see historical odds data try tennisdata (http://www.tennis-data.co.uk/ pre-match only) or Betfair Historical (http://data.betfair.com/).
2) Trading Software – A piece of software like A Geeks Toy (http://www.geekstoy.com/) or Gruss (http://www.gruss-software.co.uk/) to make use of one click trading and to make trades quickly is essential.
3) Up-to-date video feeds. A lot of matches are on Betfair video but a Sky Sports and Eurosport subscription is recommended. Whatever you do don’t press live pause on the sky plus by mistake and find yourself trading on old pictures! This is something I myself have done. Incredible I know but true.
4) Time – Plenty of time to dedicate to trading a match is important as tennis matches can go on for hours. Having a good set up with little distractions is also important for all types of trading. For me tennis trading is very enjoyable. Although the opportunities are there, you really have to enjoy doing it because it can take up a lot of your time.
My top tips for tennis trading are:
1) Specialise on either WTA or ATP. It is possible to trade both but it’s hard enough keeping track of just one of these and they also require different trading methods. It’s important to know how players perform on each surface. I specialise on WTA because the markets are more volatile and knowledge on players least widely known.
2) Have a Staking Plan – Put the same amount of money into the market each time. I would certainly do this to start with because it staking decisions are very difficult to make on the fly during a match. Overreactions, overconfidence and panic will take over but if you put 10 units into the market each time, this will enable you to stay disciplined and breed habit. At the very least have a max stake or maximum liability per match.
3) Back high, lay low. This old cliché is actually very good advice. Backing 1.02 with half a set remaining is unlikely to be value for any tennis player and leaves you with little manoeuvre to trade. Tennis is a sport in which momentum changes very quickly and due to the scoring system, a player can go from a seemingly winning position to a losing one in just a few minutes.
4) Trade Early – Make most of your trades (particularly entry points) in the first 2 thirds of the match. In a 3 set match I usually trade anywhere from the first couple of games to early on in the second set. There will usually be plenty of price movements here and should a trade go wrong you will still be able to get out at a decent price for not a huge loss. Starting trades late on in the second and possibly last set can leave you with very few options.