BTT Under 2.5 Secrets Pt. 3 - Strong & Weak Indicators

In the two previous articles we've looked at the types of team to trade on in the under 2.5 goals market on the Betfair Exchange. Now lets look at the killer combinations, basically two teams that have all the signs of being involved in a low scoring game.

In this section we may mention some types of team that we haven't mentioned before, simply because these teams only work as a combination.

We will also look at the warning signs before and crucially, while we are trading, we will find out if we can predict when things are about to go wrong.

Ultra Defensive/Low Scoring Home v Recently Thrashed Team

I like these games for three main reasons, first, as I've mentioned before recently thrashed teams tend to have 1 or less goals in their next match; but with this kind of match up it is as nailed on as you will ever get in this market.

Secondly they often stay 0-0 for long periods, giving me plenty of time to make my trade. And lastly a recently thrashed or at least well beaten team, will artificially inflate the odds for under 2.5 meaning that there's often a chance to zero liability in the first 10- 15 minutes of the match.

 Funnily enough there weren't too many goals in Brazil's next game.

Funnily enough there weren't too many goals in Brazil's next game.

Betfair Trading Advice

Watch out for these games like a hawk, this combination when it is succesful will make 25-50% more than a standard defensive home v defensive away. They take a braver heart as it can be difficult to put money on a team that is getting beaten easily at home but doing well away. Just make sure you do your research and stick to your pre match strategies and you’ll enjoy these rare gems.

Low Percentage Home v Low Percentage Away

 Did you nick my fookin pie!?!

Did you nick my fookin pie!?!

Ultimately the types of team that I've mentioned thus far, will mean in most cases both teams will have a low percentage of games that finish with 3 goals or more. 

So clearly that is the template for roughly 80-90% of your under 2.5 trades, current form comes into play and just because a team has a low percentage of games ending with over 2.5 goals and is playing another low percentage team doesn't mean you should just blindly trade on them.

One thing to remember about the over/under percentage statistics is they don’t tend to make much sense until the team has had at least 6 games each at home and away.

So it is a case of the longer the season goes on the more you can trust those percentages, which is probably why at the beginning of last season I had about a 65-75% strike rate and that had risen to about 90% with two thirds of the season gone and 100% in the last quarter.

So midway through the season I start to pay attention to the percentage charts in a way that I am not at the beginning of the season.

So that for me is the start of a great match up and that is a team who has an average which is less than 20% of the norm. So if the norm for home games over 2.5 in the league is 50% then I will ideally be trading on a home team with 39% or less games over 2.5 goals at home.

If the away norm is 45% then I will not trade on any team above 35% as 20% of 45 is 9% 45-9 = 36 therefore 35% is my upper limit for away teams under 2.5 goals.

Betfair Trading Advice

This is a fluid statistic which changes as the season wears on and I will break the rule now and again, especially near the start of the season, but it’s a great guideline to go with once the season is at least a third of the way through.

Use this more and more as the season wears on, but always check against current form.

Low Scoring Defensive Home Team v Low Scoring Defensive Away Team

This is the perfect storm that you are seeking when looking to trade under 2.5 goals it will form the main part of your trading as it is the most statistically likely game to end up under 2.5 goals. These games are often draws or stay 0-0 for a long time, enabling you to make money way before the final whistle.

Betfair Trading Advice

The odds on these types of team will typically range between 1.55 and 1.75, the odds will depend on where the two teams are in relation to each other in the table and of course current form.

The best way to use these teams is to watch out for when they come off the back of heavy defeats or victories. So for example if a team like Sheffield Wednesday who were the side with the fewest games at home over 2.5 goals in the 2014/15 English Championship season. If they had just had heavy away defeats or victories then the odds for their next home game for under 2.5 will be that bit higher.

Recently thrashed team v Low Scoring Away Team 

As I said earlier backing a recently thrashed team to get under 2.5 goals in their next match is not an exact science but it does seem to happen more often than not. If the game in question happens to be against a low scoring away team, then the chance is increased significantly.

Birmingham were trounced 0-8 in front of their own fans, in what must have been a truly humiliating experience for all involved, from fans to player, to mascot. They faced Wolves who were a high scoring home team, yet the game finished 0-0.

As I've mentioned before a recently thrashed team are great to trade on wherever they're playing next, like Reading who where thrashed away by Birmingham 6-1 and only lost 0-1 at home to Watford the next game. However the percentage chance of it being under 2.5 if their next game is at home, is just that bit better.

Betfair Trading Advice

Take each one of these games on its own merits, try and analyse why the team got thrashed and look at who they’re playing next. The size of the thrashing has a bearing, being beaten 4-2 is nowhere near as bad as 5-1 or 8-0, those kind of humiliating thrashings tend to bring out the best defensive qualities of a team in their next game.

But remember it's not unheard of for a team to be thrashed two or even three games in a row

In Game Contra indicators

We've talked a lot about what teams we should be looking at in this market, these are our pre game indicators, of course any pre game indicators are extremely important because it is on these that we place our initial bets on before the event has kicked off.

However there are a few in-game contra indicators that we should be wary of, in other words things that suggest that our trade is going wrong and that the game will finish above 2.5 goals, sometimes these contra indicators are strong, sometimes weak, it’s up to you to spot the difference


Time Of First Goal

The time of the first goal is a good general indicator as to whether the match in question is going to end up with more or less than 2.5 goals. If the goal is scored within the first 18 minutes of an English League match, then the odds are quite high that the game will finish at 2-1/3-0 or greater.

"So should I trade out if a goal goes in before 18 minutes?"

In general yes, the minute an early goal has gone in then you need to adjust your pre-match expectations from somewhere between nice win and cut your losses. 

However it does depend on who’s playing and who has scored.

Let’s take Burnley in the Premier League for example, in seven games last season they conceded in the first 18 minutes and on six out of the seven the games finished up with more than 2.5 goals. Which by the way is a slightly higher percentage than the average.

Burnley finished the season second from bottom of the league and were subsequently relegated, but for a brief spell in November and Early December they looked like they were down from the first kick of the season.

 A goal in the 12th minute will result in most games finishing with 3 goals or more

A goal in the 12th minute will result in most games finishing with 3 goals or more

So when trading Burnley games last season, by and large you would have expected a draw or a loss from them, so any early goals should have had you running for the Betfair hills.

However let’s look at my favourite team in the 2014/15 English League 2 season; Southend United. Only 8.7% of their home games finished above 2.5 goals; that’s just two games!! That statistic was 0% until the 14th of February, that’s just over six glorious months without a single home game finishing over 2.5 goals. A truly astounding statistic, on the flip side away from home they had a slightly above average 43% over 2.5 goals.

So with an ultra defensive/low scoring home team like Southend I would leave it till the second goal before I panicked If we look at how many times they conceded a  home goal at 18 minutes or before, we see it happened 4 times but only one of those games ended up over 2.5.

That game was against Wycombe who had been involved in lots of high scoring games at the time, so if you had been following the rule of 2s you would have stayed away from that game. The rule of 2s is simply if a team’s last 3-5 games has had a high amount of one team or both scoring 2 goals in the game, especially lots of 2-0s, stay away from them.

Betfair Trading Advice:

If you are blind trading a game, then the first 18 minutes is your big danger zone as an objective truth the majority of games will finish over 2.5 goals if the first goal is within 18 minutes. However it is best to assess beforehand how safe you think the trade is and what type of teams are playing.

If a goal goes in for the ultra defensive home team then the chances are they will get even more defensive and concentrate on not conceding rather than consolidating with another goal; though this does not account for an away team going all gung-ho and leaving gaps at the back.

As a rule away goals before 18 minutes are more dangerous than home ones, but that is by no means an absolute and each situation should be taken on its own merits.

Cards Shown

Yellow Cards

It doesn't take a football stats genius to know that punitive cards shown in a game can effect the outcome of the game, but the question is; how do yellow or red cards effect whether it will be over 2.5 goals or not?

If I'm blind trading a match in the under 2.5 goals market, blind trading by the way accounts for most of my trading in this market. Then yellow cards in the first half as long as they are evenly distributed amongst both teams won’t bother me much.

Possible warning signs with yellow cards are when one team get’s a flurry of 3 or 4 yellow cards in a 5-10 minute period. I may do a quick cross reference and check to see if they are all defenders, if they are I’ll reduce my liability as goals often come after yellow card flurries.

Yellow card flurries in the first half at 0-0 will not worry me as much as they will in the second half at 1-0 whether it’s for the team leading or the one chasing. Goals can come very quickly after these flurries and if I can green up immediately I will, if not I get my liability as close to zero as possible.

Red Cards

A late, first half, red card for a defensive home team at 0-0 is nowhere near as bad as a late, second half red card for a defensive away team.

In the first instance a red card usually signifies a mistake, in the second, that the team are under pressure. Therefore in the second instance, I’m outta there quicker than you can say Raheem Sterling.

Betfair Trading Advice:

Cards are one of the weak indicators of the market and a red card to a team that has been attacking can actually help your under 2.5 trade. 

Yellow card flurries are even weaker indicators but it is best to keep them in mind when you are at or near 100% liability on your trade.


We have looked at the best pairings for the perfect under 2.5 goals trade, in the final article we will look at the actual in-game methods that we can employ in order to maximise our profits when trading in this market.

Until then, good luck and happy trading

The Zen Trader

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