Soccer experts provide you with betting tips, the media publishes the latest news about the opponent teams and their key players, bookmakers support hundreds of betting methods. However, when you finally place your huge wager on a sure favorite, this is the time to start praying. Unfortunately, the world of soccer betting is quite unpredictable. There are thousands of factors playing against us. How can we cut our betting losses? The only way to do it is by using money management strategies. This article summarizes the methods and strategies of betting money management and provides a statistical comparison of their performance based on betting odds and match results of top European leagues.
The most common betting money management strategies in our days are: Martingale, Row of numbers and Kelly criterion. While the first two do not require any prior information, Kelly criterion requires the punter to know the probability of a win.
Before presenting the performance analysis, a brief description of the above-mentioned strategies is necessary:
— Martingale strategy means doubling the stack after a loss and returning back to the starting stack after a win. This strategy is the most popular today and promises positive profits, but requires intensive money investments.
— Row of numbers means planning a series of constant profits. Given betting odds, the punter calculates each stake in a way that will allow him to make the planned profit. In case he loses, he should increase the next stack in such a way the profit will return both the money already lost and the planned profits for the lost games. This strategy is less aggressive than Martingale but still dangerous.
— Kelly criterion: mathematically proven to be the best strategy in the long run. However, it requires knowing the probability of a win. The stacks are calculated in proportion of the size of your funds and according to the relation between the probability of a win and the betting odds. When probability and odds are high, a high stack will be placed and vice versa.
Data and Methods
In order to evaluate the performance of each strategy, we analyzed the betting odds set by bookmakers for the top European leagues. Imagine that bookmakers are punters who place a stake on a favorite with minimal betting odds. One can easily estimate the probability of a win by dividing the average number of home/draw/away outcomes by the total number of games in a season.
The betting odds and results are taken from the four European top leagues playing in the 2008/2009 season: English Premier, French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga 1 and Spanish Primera Division.
— The results show that Kelly criterion is the best money management strategy of the three with an average profit of +5% compared to +1% (Row) and +1.2% (Martingale).
— The most profitable was the French Ligue 1 with a betting profit of +22% (Kelly), +9% (Row) and +10% (Martingale).
— The least profitable was the English Premier League with a betting loses of -10% (Kelly) ), -9% (Row) and -8% (Martingale).