Betting Strategies That Actually WORK (And Those That DON’T)

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Need some betting strategies that work?

Keep reading.

Many people will do some basic research like recent form and rely their gut instincts to make a bet.

But even those with insane knowledge of the sport may not make money without betting strategies in place.

Despite having the utmost confidence in yourself, when it comes to sports betting, things don’t always go to plan.

This is why you need a betting strategy to prevent you losing a large portion of your bankroll – or worse, all of it.

This post is split into two parts:

  1. Betting systems that actually work
  2. Other betting systems that don’t

Let’s start with a few sports betting systems that actually work.

Betting Systems That Work

Sports Investing

Sports investing uses unique, data-driven theories and strategies to find value in the markets and gain an edge over bookmakers and sportsbooks.

This is the only betting strategy that will consistently make you money over the long run.


In fact, it’s through this method that we generate 120% ROI.

Finding +EV plays

The sports investing strategy is based on taking the concepts from other investment vehicles, such as market movement, and applying them to the sports markets.

It also requires monitoring a variety of factors that can impact the result of a sporting event to create +EV bets.

Every selection is considered as an investment, hence the name.

Sports investing is the only way you can secure a high ROI – more than if you were to invest on the stock market, real estate and other asset classes.

At the end of the day, sports betting should be about one thing and one thing only: 

To make money.

Now, there are other betting systems that work as well.

Just note that they won’t be as effective.

Matched Betting

Matched betting involves taking free bets and turning them into withdrawable cash.

Here’s an example of a free bet offer:

Example of free bet

You place multiple bets to ensure all outcomes are covered while maintaining a profit.

For example, you would use the above £5 free bet on the Chiefs:

And then use another free bet like this:

To bet on the Texans to cover to ensure a profit.

The idea is that it doesn’t matter who wins the match – you will still make money either way.

There are a few benefits to matched betting.

First, and quite simply, it does work.

It’s an easy way to get the ball rolling in your sports betting journey and start building your bankroll.

Matched betting is also great to help you understand important concepts in sports betting like EV and how to read odds.

But, while it is one of the betting strategies that work, it does have its limitations.

We’ve covered this in a separate video – click here to watch.

Betting Exchanges

Betting exchanges are similar to bookmakers but with an important difference.

Instead of betting against the house, you bet with other people.

This means you get to set the odds yourself or trade them in real-time.

We’ve covered the ins and outs of a betting exchange in another post – Betting Exchange – What You Need To Know.

Kelly Criterion

This is a bit more complex.

Kelly Criterion is a betting system that calculates exactly how much you should bet.

Its formula is as follows:

Optimal Stake = [((O * P) – 1) / (O – 1)] * 100


  • O = Decimal Odds
  • P = Probability of Winning

Note that the Probability of Winnings is determined by you, not the implied probability of the event winning given by the odds.

Use our Odds Converter tool to transform your odds if you don’t use the Decimal Odds format.

Example of odds converter

Here’s an example.

Lets’ say that you determined that the Probability of Winning on an even-money event was 55%.

Plugging that into the formula:

Optimal Stake = [((2.0 * 55%) – 1) / (2.0 – 1)] * 100 = 10%

In other words, you should be wagering 10% of your bankroll on this bet.

However, if you don’t have an edge over the sportsbook, then you shouldn’t make this bet.



First, it can determine that you should invest a signification portion of your bankroll on a single bet.

It’s very aggressive.

The graph on the right does a good job at showing that.

Kelly aims to maximize your return on investment, so the formula’s result will often be to use a large bet sizing.

You also must have an edge and be able to accurately determine an event’s actual Probability of Winning.

Make a mistake and you will be in all sorts of trouble.

So, if you decide to try out the Kelly Criterion in your own betting strategy, it may be better to scale down to avoid betting too much at once.

This is known as using the Fractional Kelly Criterion method.

It covers, half-Kelly, half-Kelly, quarter-Kelly and eighth-Kelly bet sizes.

For example, if the formula calculates you should use 10% of your bankroll, a half-Kelly strategy would imply you should wager 5% of your bankroll.

For completeness, a quarter-Kelly sizing would be 2.5% of your bankroll and an eighth-Kelly sizing would be 1.25% of your bankroll.

Betting Strategies That Don’t Work

The previous betting strategies all work.

These next ones don’t.

You may have heard of them, seen them used elsewhere, or even be recommended to use them.



Martingale requires you to double-down every time you lose a bet.

In theory, this ensures that you recover all of your previous losses.

In reality, this is not the case.

A bad stretch of results can cause serious damage to your bankroll.

Here’s an example.


Assuming you always bet on even-money games, imagine you first bet $100 and it lost.

According to Martingale, you must then bet $200.

Now imagine that lost, so the next bet you make must be $400.

Then that loses, so an $800 bet must follows.

Before you know it, you’re down $1,500.

BetResultTotal Loss

Anyone that understands sports betting knows that downswings and bad patches can happen at any time.

Martingale is popular in casino games like roulette because “it can’t lose.”

Here’s the deal.

Never chase losses.

The Monte Carlo Fallacy describes the time in 1943 when the roulette ball landed on red 32 times in a row.

People couldn’t believe it.

Roulette wheel

Imagine how insane it would have been to have let your money ride on red.

Amazing, right?

Now imagine you were using Martingale and betting on black.

32 losses in a row.


Bottom line:

Avoid using the Martingale strategy when betting on football, baseball ice hockey, or any other sport.


Some sports like soccer have three outcomes: win, loss and draw.

The draw often get overlooked, probably because it’s tougher to predict a draw over a winner.

This is where the Fibonacci Method comes in.

It’s based on the Fibonacci sequence where the following number equals the sum of the previous two:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21… etc.

Fibonacci Sequence

So, how does this apply to sports betting?

Fibonacci is used to bet on draws.

It consists of two principals:

  1. Finds draws with odds larger than 2.618.
  2. Increase your stake in line with the Fibonacci sequence after a losing bet.

So, as you can see, it’s similar to Martingale; it’s just the lesser of two evils.

The bet size increases are not as dramatic as Martingale, so the potential liabilities on a bad run are smaller.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you won’t face the same risks.

The potential is still there to see your entire bankroll disappear during a losing streak.

Plus it’s still a method based around chasing losses, so it should not be used for sports betting.

Final Words

A successful betting system should maximize your edge over the sportsbooks.

Sports investing does just that.

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Other than that, using betting strategies purely based on mathematics is another good place to start.

Combine it with sound decisions and the ability to conduct in-depth research and you may make some healthy profits.

Just beware of the betting systems that do more harm than good.

If one suits your betting profile or style best, then go ahead and give it try.

If the numbers just don’t add up, then throw it away.

After a lot of hard work, patience and discipline, you may find the betting system that provides the advantage you’ve always wanted.

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