Top 3 Options Repair Techniques

May 6, 2024 10 mins to read
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In the volatile world of options trading, even the most meticulously planned strategies can sometimes encounter challenges. When faced with a position that has moved against expectations, options traders often turn to repair techniques to salvage the trade and potentially turn it into a profitable endeavor. Among the myriad of repair strategies available, three prominent techniques stand out: Roll Horizontal, Roll Diagonal, and Roll Opposite. Let’s explore each of these techniques in detail.

Roll Horizontal (or Roll Forward)

This strategy involves closing out an existing option position and simultaneously opening a new position with a later expiration date but at the same strike price. By doing this, traders can extend the timeframe of the trade and give the underlying stock more time to move in their favor. This can also be used to collect additional premium, which can reduce the cost basis of the trade.


The Roll Horizontal technique involves closing out existing options positions and simultaneously opening new positions with the same strike prices but different expiration dates.


Traders employ this technique to extend the duration of their positions and adjust to changing market conditions without altering the strike prices.


If the underlying asset’s price has moved unfavorably, traders may roll their positions forward to future expiration dates, giving the trade more time to recover.

Option traders often use the roll horizontal strategy to manage their positions for several reasons:

A) Time Decay: Options lose value as they approach expiration due to time decay. By rolling a position forward (i.e., to a later expiration date), traders can extend the time frame and potentially benefit from a slower rate of time decay.

B) Market Outlook Change: If the market conditions have changed and the original thesis for the trade is no longer valid, rolling the position can provide an opportunity to adjust the strategy to reflect the new outlook.

C)  Profit Taking: Rolling can also be used to lock in profits on a winning trade while still maintaining exposure to further upside potential.

D) Risk Management: If a position is moving against the trader, rolling can be a way to manage risk by giving the trade more time to work out or by adjusting the strike price to reduce exposure.

Roll Diagonal

Similar to rolling horizontally, rolling diagonally involves closing out an existing position and opening a new one with a later expiration date, but at a different strike price. This is often done by simultaneously selling a near-term option at a certain strike and buying a longer-term option at a different strike, creating a diagonal spread. This strategy can help reduce the cost basis of the trade while still allowing for potential profit if the stock moves in the desired direction.


The Roll Diagonal technique involves simultaneously closing out existing options positions and opening new positions with both different strike prices and different expiration dates.


Traders utilize this technique to adjust the position’s risk profile while extending its duration, often by rolling the options to strikes further out of the money.


If the underlying asset’s price has moved significantly, traders may roll their positions diagonally to strikes that offer a better risk-reward profile while maintaining the directional bias of the original trade.

Option traders may use the roll diagonal strategy for several reasons:

A)  Adjusting Strike Price: If the underlying stock has moved significantly against their position, rolling diagonally allows traders to adjust the strike price of their options. This can help reduce the cost basis of the trade or change the risk profile to better match their outlook for the stock.

B) Managing Time Decay: Rolling diagonally can also help manage time decay. By rolling to a later expiration date at a different strike price, traders can extend the time frame of the trade while potentially reducing the impact of time decay.

C) Collecting Premium: Depending on the specifics of the trade, rolling diagonally can sometimes allow traders to collect additional premium. This can help offset some of the losses from the original position or reduce the cost basis of the new position.

D) Adapting to Market Conditions: If the market conditions or the trader’s outlook for the stock have changed, rolling diagonally can provide an opportunity to adjust the position to better align with the new expectations.

Roll Opposite

In this strategy, traders close out an existing position and open a new one in the opposite direction. For example, if a trader has a long call option that is losing value, they might close out that position and sell a put option instead. This can help offset losses from the original position and potentially turn the trade into a profitable one if the stock moves in the new direction.


The Roll Opposite technique involves closing out existing options positions and simultaneously opening new positions with strikes and expiration dates that are opposite to the original trade’s direction.


Traders employ this technique to hedge against further losses or potentially profit from a reversal in the underlying asset’s price movement.


If the original trade is experiencing substantial losses, traders may roll their positions opposite to the original direction, effectively converting the trade into a new position that benefits from a reversal in market sentiment.

Option traders may use the roll opposite strategy for a variety of reasons, including:

A) Adjusting Market Outlook: If the trader’s original market outlook changes, rolling opposite allows them to switch their position to align with their new outlook. For example, if a trader originally had a bullish outlook but the stock’s price action suggests a bearish trend, they may roll their position to a bearish one.

B) Managing Risk: Rolling opposite can help traders manage risk by offsetting losses from the original position. If a trade is moving against them and there is little hope of a turnaround, rolling opposite allows them to salvage some value from the trade.

C) Capitalizing on New Opportunities: Market conditions can change rapidly, presenting new trading opportunities. Rolling opposite allows traders to quickly take advantage of these opportunities by closing out their existing position and entering a new one that better aligns with the current market conditions.

D) Improving Positional Efficiency: In some cases, rolling opposite can improve the efficiency of a trader’s position. For example, if a trader is holding an option with a high theta (time decay) value, rolling to a position with a lower theta can reduce the impact of time decay on their position.

Assessing Market Conditions:
  • Before implementing any repair technique, traders must carefully assess current market conditions, including the underlying asset’s price movement, volatility levels, and potential catalysts that may impact the trade’s outcome.
  • Understanding the underlying reasons behind the trade’s unfavorable performance is crucial for selecting the most appropriate repair technique and maximizing the probability of success.

Risk Management Considerations:

  • Traders should establish predefined risk management guidelines, including maximum acceptable losses and exit criteria, to guide decision-making when implementing repair techniques.
  • It’s essential to consider the potential impact of transaction costs, such as commissions and bid-ask spreads, when evaluating the feasibility of implementing repair strategies.

Monitoring Expiration Dates:

  • Traders must closely monitor expiration dates and consider potential adjustments or exit strategies as expiration approaches to avoid unwanted assignment or exercise of options.
  • Rolling positions to future expiration cycles may be considered to extend the duration of the trade and adapt to evolving market conditions.

Backtesting and Analysis:

  • Conducting thorough backtesting and analysis of historical data can provide valuable insights into the performance of different repair techniques under various market conditions.
  • Traders can use backtesting results to refine their approach, optimize timing for implementing repair strategies, and develop confidence in their ability to navigate challenging trading scenarios.

Ongoing Education and Practice:

  • Mastery of options repair techniques requires ongoing education, practice, and experience. Engaging with online communities, attending seminars, and reading reputable sources on options trading can deepen understanding and enhance proficiency.
  • Utilizing paper trading or demo accounts to simulate repair strategies without risking capital can help traders refine their skills and develop confidence in their ability to effectively manage challenging trading scenarios.

It’s important to note that these strategies involve additional risk and may not always be suitable for all investors. Traders should carefully consider their risk tolerance and investment goals before implementing these techniques The best time to roll a position depends on the trader’s outlook, the specific strategy being employed, and market conditions. Some traders may choose to roll as soon as the original position starts to move against them, while others may wait until closer to expiration to see if the trade improves. It’s important for traders to have a clear plan in place and to regularly monitor their positions to determine the best time to make adjustments.

This article was written by:

Benjamin the Bull

I write about companies that fascinate me and that also offers investors with potential as a long-term position. I primarily focus on the energy and industrial sector but every now and again venture out to other sectors too.

Bull Bear Vector’s Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Bullbearvector as a whole. Bullbearvector is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body

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