Trading : Making a profit on the Premier League winner market

Steve Howe explains...

Steve Howe explains why he backed Manchester United to win the Premier League at 7.2 last month and how he will trade the market through the season...

What I want to make clear from the start is I am trading this market. Who may actually win it next May is not in my mind. This type of trade for me is incredibly satisfying, the amount it makes doesn't really matter.

It's an enormous and complex puzzle. It has many twists and turns along the nine-month journey. It will keep me constantly alert to what is happening in the league as I look for opportunities to add to the green column in my book along the way.


I backed Manchester United on June 18, the day the fixtures were announced, at 7.2, but at the time of the writing, the top of the Betfair market looks like this:

Chelsea, 3.0
Man City, 3.55
Man Utd, 6.2
Arsenal, 7.8
Liverpool, 13.5

My thinking when looking for a "way in" is what events will move the prices on these teams ahead of the start of the season?

Transfers for sure. But there are lots of subtle little changes that will have an overall effect. I don't believe the majority of punters will be getting involved in this market properly until the final few days before the season begins. As this is a lively market throughout the season, another shift may be the end of the transfer window. Which is on September 1 this year, as the last day of August falls on a Sunday.

So let's take a look at the leading contenders:

Arsenal: Have done the majority of their business, although there has been talk of Khedira coming in. I cannot see anything else moving their odds significantly.

Chelsea: A great transfer window so far. But their business you feel has been done. No reason for their odds to move in any more.

Liverpool: There is talk of big signings, but Rickie Lambert was pretty underwhelming for me and it will be nigh on impossible to replace Luis Suarez, as reflected in their ever drifting winner price. The only way their odds move back in is if they sign Ronaldo or Messi!

Manchester City: I think the challenge for City is keeping what they have. They do not have enough of their reported transfer pot left to sign an impact player that will move their odds. I don't believe they will move in either.

Manchester United: The lack of Champions League may be a barrier to a big European signing. But they are Manchester United so I'd expect plenty of activity nonetheless which could move the winner price in.

Something else to consider is what happened to Robin van Persie last season. He was AWOL for large parts of the season. The real RvP will surely re-emerge now he has a friendly face backing him in Louis van Gaal. 

The appointment of LvG saw the winner price come and I believe having him as manager will stand United in good stead for the season ahead.

But the clincher for me in backing United was the fixture list. Lets have a quick mosey thought it.

The first week sees the top five all having straightforward matches. The hardest being Liverpool v Southampton, but as most of the Southampton team now play for Liverpool it should be a home win. Man City are away to Newcastle.

Week 2 (23rd Aug) is more interesting as Arsenal have a tough away fixture at Everton. On the Monday night Man City entertain Liverpool. So points will be dropped somewhere there.

Week 3 (30 Aug) The stand out is Chelsea away to Everton, while Spurs also welcome Liverpool to the Lane.

Week 4 (13 Sept) Arsenal v Man City -  More dropped points

Week 5 (20 Sept) Man City play Chelsea. It gets better!

Week 6 (27 Sept) The Merseyside derby at Anfield and the north London derby at The Emirates.

Week 7 (4 Oct) On the Sunday Chelsea play Arsenal and Man Utd at last get some opposition form the top half of the table in Everton at Old Trafford.

By this point with many of the top five having played each other, it's not impossible that Man Utd could be six points clear. It's also possible that Chelsea or Man City did well against their rivals and is clear. However, that's not the point.

I believe that people really get active in these markets right at the death. The weekend when the season starts. When all those pull outs that every newspaper publish giving you the "guide to the season". Once Joe Public starts to actually look at the fixtures. 

In my opinion, and I always back my opinion with real money, Manchester United were too big at 7.2. As advised to the guys in my Mentorship group. They are now 6.2 but I will be disappointed if I cannot see 6.0 or lower before the season starts.

I call this type of bet 'Risk v Reward'. Was there any downside? Not really, the reasons well documented throughout the article. The reward is always much bigger. You could be aggressive with staking here too. 

My exit is clear. Take out a lay bet equal to the stake at the best lay price I can get. I will almost certainly be asking for the back price for an extra tick. I'll then keep all my profit on Manchester United and see how it goes. If the fixture list plays out as I hope, it may be possible to green up/cash out at around 4.0 or lower by the time Everton arrive at Old Trafford in October.

Bear in mind this type of trade is akin to free money. The risk is minimal; it's a trade and not a bet. It's very slow moving and has high liquidity. The Betfair matched volume is £862,000 and £840,000 of this matched on the top five at time of writing.

The full version of this article appears on




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