Trading Rugby League

There are two types of betting blog out there: the tipper and the bragger. Doubtless you will be familiar with both. Tipping blogs offer up pearls of wisdom before the event but then disappear into the ether following the result; braggers offer a gloating running commentary on successful punts that, often, seems rather too good to be true.

This blog is neither, it’s a more ramshackle affair that looks at sport through the lens of spread betting. It’s not afraid to stick its head above the parapet and take the flak when tips go bad (likewise would be nice to receive some gratitude and 10% of your winnings if I give you a good steer).

Successful spread betting is a trading game – that means you have to respond to what’s happening in an event. Positions aren’t necessarily static, they exist to be maneuvered in and out of. Whilst I might have underestimated Italy and blow me if Scotland didn’t score a try (admittedly from one yard), I did, nevertheless, manage a pleasing weekend’s betting on both codes of the oval ball game.

Warning: what follows is a sick brag, but sometimes things go so well you just have to share them. This is the Rugby League flip-flop.

For St. Helens’ Friday night Super League clash with Salford City Reds, SpIn offered a supremacy spread of 25-28. The final score was 38-10 in favour of the Saints, so if you’d taken the opening price you would have just broken even after a nervous 80 minutes. I built a 25 point profit.

I’ll often look to initially sell a strong favourite’s supremacy in Rugby League – this was particularly attractive in this case as St. Helens were playing the first home match at their new stadium and the occasion could well overawe the players. I sell at 25. I have no intention of allowing this position to run the entire game; I will be looking to trade out at the right price around half time.

Isn’t it wonderful when a plan comes together? This match played out in textbook fashion. St. Helens made a faltering start, frequently putting in weak kicks on the fifth tackle, and the Reds (wearing Green) built a ten point lead. The supremacy drops to 11-14.

Now’s the time to move. Rugby League is a game where fitness and quality tend to show in the end – there are often significant point swings in the final twenty minutes. I know St Helens are a stronger team than Salford; the Reds will tire and the Saints will find gaps to exploit.

I execute the flip-flop, buying St Helens at 14 thus locking in an 11 point profit on the original sell and switch my allegiance to the favourites. The Saints don’t disappoint and right on cue, with a little help from the video referee, they put 38 unanswered points on the board. The eventual supremacy make up gives me a further 14 point profit.

This is Spread Betting 101, but this example illustrates the value of appreciating a sport’s dynamic in making decisions. To reinforce the point, I repeat the tactic with Wales’ Six Nations match against Scotland: I sell Wales early doors, enjoy a low-scoring first 40, flip-flop at half time and reap the rewards.

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