Tennis Trading Advice: Minimising risks for Back Heavy (BH) matches

I have decided to write this article for the sole reason of what happened to our recent BH strategies on the 16th June. The results of the tips were indeed right but the strategies failed. The matches concerned were as follows:

ATP Halle Final: Federer v Youzhny

ATP Queens Final: Cilic v Murray

Match 1: Federer v Youzhny

The tip here was to BH on Roger@1.14 and lay @1.04 (10 decimals below). Normally I wouldn’t have put BH on such a low odds match but the main reason was that it was Roger Federer on Grass and also his opponent was Youzhny who had played him 9 times before this match and took only ‘1 SET’ of him!! Hence there were enough reasons to put this tip as BH.

Unfortunately for trading, Youzhny hung in there for most of the first set and won it on a tie-break. So the question is how should you have traded this match?

First thing’s first, for me you should have your money on Federer’s side. Let’s assume you put 10 units on Roger to win 1.4 by backing him @1.14. As the match goes on you are watching Youzhny holding his serves. At this point what is most important to realise is that the market will reflect slightly. Meaning, the odds on Federer will increase slightly than the original odds even after he holds his service game. So basically, that’s an indication of something negative against us. The next question is about our stakes. For low stakes, that risk can be more or less neglected as its a best of 3 match. But for Heavy stakes we cannot neglect it. Indeed it’s safer to opt out of the trade completely before the tie-break as ONE point can change the whole market in a matter of SECONDS. Hence, the reasonable thing to do is trade out before the tie-break starts. Indeed you would have accumulated a slight loss here but that should be accepted! The next bit is to watch the tie-break closely. It’s worth pointing out also that if our player is losing by a few points ‘EARLY’ in the tie break, its definitely worth BACKING HIM big. That is a very calculated risk that you should be bold in taking.

The key point from the above tip is that we are trading out before the tie-break and choosing to wait out the first set. This is the best way to deal with the situation. The only downfall of this situation is Federer winning the tie-break easily which would mean his odds would have definitely gone much lower. But that’s something we have to accept as a trader. What you shouldn’t do is, assume that Federer will win the set easily because we have a lot of money on the market, which cannot be ignored!!

In the match obviously, Youzhny won the tie-break by 7-5 , a rather close one which definitely made Roger’s odds shoot up. At this time, however, you should be extremely quick in backing Roger with a big stake. The whole point of waiting out the first set was just for this moment; to back Roger heavy on a much higher odds. The initial tip by me on ‘Roger very unlikely to lose’ should be a reminder and also an encouraging factor for us to back him here. In reality, the odds after going slightly higher than the price at the start of the 2nd set , pretty much never went higher further. The market was completely in favour of Roger since then and he won the match comfortably.

The toughest part of this particular trade is TRADING OUT in the first set! People have this gut feeling embedded in them that makes them to let the trade run in the tie-break which is A HUGE MISTAKE. It doesn’t matter how confident you are, you’ve to trade it out if its a BIG STAKED MATCH! Like I said earlier, for minimal stakes, you can ignore it if you wish but definitely not for BH!

Match 2: Murray v Cilic

Unlike the Federer match which went to a tie-break, this one had more weird scenarios and was much harder to trade!

The initial odds on Murray was around 1.2 and he started well by breaking Cilic. For me, I would have easily assumed, that  was pretty much game set and match. His odds definitely hit 1.1 at this stage missing our target price of 1.06 by 4 decimals. However what followed from then on was disastrous.

First, Murray started serving poorly and Cilic broke him back. There was definitely an indication here that Cilic’s points in rallies were much more confident looking than his early games. This was a time hence to trade out this market. As soon as you spot something different in the match, don’t think, trade the market out and see what follows.

But this was not the worst problem. In one of the later games of the first set Murray had a leg injury that made things worse. Indeed that one injury proved to be disastrous as the market immediately hit 1.8 price. At this time, you simply have to trade out if you hadn’t done earlier on as no injuries can be taken easily in Tennis. Murray however seemed to get better as time went on but losing the first set created more problems. Very interestingly I was surprised that Murray’s odds never hit even 2 at any point in this match, such was the confidence on Murray by the traders. Indeed, it proved to be right. Market never went up and Murray after taking the second set was pretty much in control and won the third rather easily.

One of the questions that really come in here is about ‘when should you get back into the trade?’. I would say, once you watch Murray playing OK, it’s worth putting money on him to at least get his side in some sort of profit. However this match was an injury ridden match so personally after starting the match with BH, I would have opted to decrease my stakes but making sure that the Murray side of the market would be in some sort of green. That’s the best I could have hoped for and that is my best  suggestion.

No injury ridden matches can be taken lightly as you’ve heard me point out many a time before and this one is no exception. The best you could do was making the favourite side with as little loss as possible.

The summary of these two matches are really about when to trade out and trade back in. I hope I gave you guys a clue as to how to approach that right timing! Also it is very important to remember that you should be watching the LIVE STREAM of BH matches, as without it, things can easily turn from ugly to disastrous!

I am happy to hear from some of you about delaying the trades and beating out the market in the end which I am very pleased about. I hope more and more traders do that and realise their true potential from such experiences.

Good luck and thanks a lot for reading…


  • john knight Posted June 18, 2013 10:47 am

    A very rocky day indeed as you have said regards these matches……..i was in two minds as to wether to wait and see how murry performed in the opening set, as i was a bit nervious of cilic and his current form improvement in recent games, plus his serve if on song is a hard one to break, as we saw.
    I delayed the trade and felt brassed off as he ran to a 4/1 lead…at which point i thought i would stay well out of it…..then wham bam and he crumbled, and fell and i just watched to see if he was doing what most tennis players do and lose the next half dozen games, and as you said the odds looked ok at 1.8……but gradually he looked ok, so i took a chance on him improving and backed him at 1.27 for 100…..
    now i did break my own rules also here, and trust he would at least make a go of it in the second set as he had not lost in the last 6 meetings between them, and certainly not been two setted, so i then backed him again at 1.37 for 50…and again thought i would have one last 50 on at 1.86,so i had an overall bet of 1.44 in the average odds……now at a set all i did think it was a value bet… one point i was 54 units down, and should have traded out,but i did have faith that cilic would not be able to mentally overcome his past defeats by murry, so even though we should not stay in for the long haul, and boy was it a long haul here,i did get into the green and watching the match i was comfortable with the £88 profit…..however it was a straight bet in reality,and i only got into the green later into the second set.

    Federer i am having problems with at the moment, and i am a great fan of his, and for that reason i try and get double the odds if he is playing in a final.But his age i do think is now his biggest problem,as the other big guns do not fear the ledgend, and have raised the bar from even federes best yrs.I chose to leave the match in this case, but was tempted to go in at a set down and at 1.63 would have been a good value bet considering the close ness of the tie break.i left this one but hey,its swings and rounderbouts i believe.What i would say is that any pre event before the majors at this stage of the season with the likes of williams especially can be a little risky,ive seen her lose with two match points at eastbourn,,,,,having a complete meltdown…….Just having error after error, and her emotional state got the better of her that day, however put her in the grand slams and at the moment she is dam near unbeatable, as we say at the french…..she is the closest thing to a hybrid in the womens game, way to powerful for the women currently playing, and not good enough for the top ten men…..must be empowering to know that there is nobody in your chosen game that can beat you…if you even have a 60% day…..

  • matti nevalainen Posted June 18, 2013 2:33 pm

    where was the article about delaying the trade, I tried but cant find it.


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