An introduction to professional sports trading

We look at how the global sports trading markets have evolved using maths and computers to beat the market and generate significant profits.

Categories: The basics

The past decade has witnessed a great deal of evolution for professional trading individuals and syndicates. A job that had previously been done in bedrooms or at home with multiple screens and manual placing has turned into a hedge fund-style set up for the most successful.

Many betting groups or syndicates are now very hard to distinguish from their counterparts in the city. Both work in plush offices, employ numerous traders and monitor the markets on a number of screens. Although the markets they trade in are very different, the principles can be very similar. The city traders buy and sell at a price they believe is correct or value and create, hedge and cut positions. Betting syndicates operate along the same lines. Many have their own complex betting algorithms that set the odds they believe to be correct and trade the market either side of that accordingly. They may lay a bet at odds they believe to be too short in the market and conversely back odds they believe to be too big. Many syndicates have pre kick off ratings and in running ones that react to the action on the pitch.

The individual transactions placed by traders are not necessarily always guaranteed winners; there is no such thing as a sure thing. However over the long-term, a crucial statistical concept, these more advanced traders will profit in the long term because they have used their algorithms or ratings model to play the market in a mathematically sound way. If you are more efficient at calculating the odds than the exchanges or the bookmaker your probability of winning long term is much better than losing.

Whilst some of these trades placed by hedge funds are done manually, there is now a wealth of trade execution software created and available to them in a competitive market place. The ‘one click’ trading option is invaluable due to the fact the trader can place a large sum across multiple accounts without ‘spooking the market’.

The availability of data to build statistical models and ratings for teams and players allows them to create models and algorithms more sophisticated than ever before. The wide range of low latency television pictures from type of sport on the globe, available 24/7, allows for bespoke ratings and data sets to be created from the action on the pitch.

Whilst these individual traders, syndicates or hedge funds have existed in the financial world for some time they are relatively new to sports trading markets. Due to the emotional involvement of many everyday punters, it is hard to create a fully balanced and efficient market. This means a potential bonanza for any syndicate able to accurately price the true odds of teams and to find an edge in the sports betting markets.

About Brooke G

Since studying International Economics, Brooke has worked for the past twelve years within recruitment and executive search headhunting in several sectors including sports betting. Brooke has a deep interest in quantitative approaches to generating profit from sports trading and he has built an extensive network of quantitative and statistical sports traders, hedge funds, agents and sports and affiliate groups within North America, Europe and Asia.

He is the publisher of Sports Trading Network which seeks to connect the members of this network with each other.
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