The Over/Under 2.5 goals market is the most popular goals market for Sports Traders to trade on.
Its popularity means there is usually good liquidity for the majority of matches in the big European leagues.
This article will look at trading under 2.5 goals and will hopefully give you a better understanding of how the strategy works in terms of when you should enter a trade and what exit strategies there are.
What is the Under 2.5 Goals Trading Strategy?
The Under 2.5 Goals Trading Strategy is a very simple strategy to deploy and for that reason, it is very popular with beginner sports traders.
The Strategy involves placing a back bet on under 2.5 goals to be scored in a match then waiting for odds to drop to a level where you can hedge for an acceptable profit.
The beauty of the under 2.5 goals strategy is that the odds on under goals will gradually fall from their pre-match level as long as no goal is scored.
As you can see from the above Betfair chart from a match between G-Osaka and Matsumoto, you could get odds of around 2.0 on the under 2.5 goals before the start of the match.
After about 30 minutes, the odds have dropped to 1.55.
In contrast to the Lay the Draw strategy, where you are in a losing position until a goal is scored, with the Under 2.5 Goals Trading Strategy, your profit will gradually increase over time as long as no goal is scored.
If a goal is scored before you are able to hedge your position, then it is likely that you will be looking at a losing trade.
The size of the loss will depend on when the goal is scored e.g. if the goal is scored in the first 5 minutes, then you may be looking at a 60 – 70% loss on your trade.
However, if the first goal is scored in the 90th minute, you should still be in profit on your trade as the market will perceive that there isn’t enough time to score another two goals.
Problems with the Under 2.5 Goals Trading Strategy
- A goal is scored soon after you enter the trade
This occurs more frequently than many sports traders think and if you were to hedge for a loss in these situations, you will probably be looking at a 60 – 70% loss on your trade.
- Two goals are scored in quick succession
This is the worst case scenario for this strategy. It won’t happen very often but when it does, you will probably be looking at a 90%+ loss on your trade.
- Odds don’t fall fast enough
If the start of a match is more open and attacking than the pre match odds suggested, then you may find the odds on the under 2.5 goals will not fall as fast as you might want.
You may want to consider scratching the trade if the odds don’t start to fall.
- Poor risk to reward ratio
Depending on how you trade this strategy, you may have a very poor risk to reward ratio.
For example, if your strategy was to place a pre match back bet on the under 2.5 goals market, with the aim of hedging for a 10% profit on your trade once the odds dropped sufficiently in play e.g. if you were placing €/£10 back bets, you would be hedging for a €/£1 profit.
So every time, you had an early goal, you might be looking at a loss of between €/£5 and €/£7 on the trade so you would need five to seven winning trades to make up for one losing trade.
With a risk to reward ratio like this, you will need around 90% of your trades to be winning trades which is not a recipe for sports trading success.
- Odds pre match unlikely to be value odds
If you are placing your bets before the start of the match, you are unlikely to be getting any value as the exchange odds are likely to reflect the chances of there being under 2.5 goals in the match.
Under 2.5 Goals Trading Strategy – Entry Points
Pre Match – This is probably the most common entry point for Sports Traders (especially beginners).
They will place their back bet just before the match starts, then hedge their bet after a set amount of minutes or when the odds reach a certain point.
As mentioned previously, you are unlikely to receive value odds at this entry point.
After an early goal is scored – There is often an overreaction in the market from an early goal being scored so traders can take advantage of this.
However, if another goal is scored you will be looking at a big loss on your trade.
To reduce the risk, you can bet that there won’t be a further 2.5 goals scored in the match by backing the under 3.5 goals market as this should have seen a similar spike in odds after the early goal was scored.
After a goal is scored in the first half (but not too early) – This is similar to the previous entry point, except the odds won’t increase as much.
However, you should get much better value odds that were offered before the match.
In the Second Half – The odds of under 2.5 goals will rapidly decline in the second half as long as no additional goals are scored.
Also if the score is 0-0 in the second half and a goal is scored, the odds won’t spike as high as they would in the first half as there is less time to score the 2 additional goals needed.
Under 2.5 Goals Trading Strategy – Exit Strategies
If no goal is scored
If no goal is scored, then sports traders will usually have a target percentage between 10% and 30% to exit their trade.
Once the odds on under 2.5 goals fall sufficiently, the traders will hedge their position to guarantee their target profit percentage.
If a goal is scored
If a goal is scored, you should exit your trade for a loss and move on to the next trade.
Under 2.5 Goals Trading Tips
- Stagger your lay bets -If you have a strategy of backing under 2.5 goals before a match then hedging after 15 minutes, don’t wait until 15 minutes before removing any of your liability.
Instead, place a lay bet every 5 – 10 ticks so that you are gradually reducing your liability as time passes (see example below).
I recently backed the under 2.5 goals in a Champions League Qualifier between Red Bull Salzburg and Brondby.
Before the start of the match, I was able to place a €100 back bet on the under 2.5 goals market at odds of 2.76.
After a couple of minutes of play I was able to lay 25% of my liability at odds of 2.66 and then a further 25% when the odds reached 2.56.
Around 4 minutes into the game, Brondy took the lead and I had to exit the trade for a €26.80 loss.
If I had not placed the two lay bets, I would have been looking at a loss of €57.33. As you can see, gradually removing my liability saved me €30.53.
- Look for matches where goals are expected – This strategy works best on matches where a lot of goals are expected but you believe they won’t be scored early on in the match.
My strategy is to only use this strategy on matches where the odds on under 2.5 goals is greater than 2.0.
If you trade on matches where the odds are lower than this, you will find that your profit per trade is lower and that the odds on under 2.5 goals don’t fall as quickly so you are in the trade for longer.
- Always hedge for a loss after a goal – The key to making this strategy work is to minimise your losses on losing trades.
Never be tempted to let a bet run in the hope that no more goals are scored. If you are letting trades run then you are gambling and not trading.
How to find matches for the Under 2.5 Goals Strategy
I wouldn’t recommend blindly placing bets on matches purely based on the odds of there being under 2.5 goals in the match.
Instead, I would recommend that you do pre match research to narrow down the available matches so you can increase your win rate with this strategy.
Things you should look out for include teams who have a history of not scoring early goals or teams who don’t regularly score over 0.5 goals in the first half.
There are plenty of free football statistics websites that you can use for your research such as SoccerStats.com and FootyStats but to save time, you can use the Team Stats Module available on the Goal Profits service.
Using the Team Stats Module, you can quickly filter a list of matches that suit the under 2.5 goals strategy. This can save you a ton of time on research and lets you quickly generate a shortlist of matches for you to trade on.