Choosing an NFL Betting Method Based on How You Bet

Thursday, September 28, 2017 12:59 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 28, 2017 12:59 PM UTC

So you have determined what NFL pick to bet. How much are you going to wager? Why? What's the best staking strategy? Here's a broad overview of the most popular money management systems used in sports betting.

Profiting in sports betting requires two things: positive expected value and an optimal investment or staking method. Value here is advantage, or a betting edge, which is the ability to predict the likelihood of an event occurring with greater accuracy then the current odds imply. The second factor, and some argue just as important, is understanding how much money to wager and when. Like any type of investing, sports betting is based on potential gains vs. losses, requiring well-disciplined and optimal money management strategies.


Betting Strategies

There are hosts of betting strategies or money management systems available for sports investors to apply. They typically fall under three broad categories: progressive, proportional and fixed. Let’s take a look at the basic tenets of each.

1) Progressive Betting: The basic concept in progressive betting systems is to adjust the size of your investment based on whether your previous bet was a winner or loser. The goal is to stake more on wins to balance out losses. They’re essentially chase-oriented, sequential and require unhealthy risks when underperforming. How much to invest and when depends on the management system being used, but all fall under either positive or negative progressions. This logic implies increasing one’s stake when wither winning, losing or vice versa. Popular positive systems include Paroli (Reverse Martingale), Reverse Labouchere, and the 1-3-2-6 strategy, while negative strategies include Martingale, Fibonacci and d’Alembert. It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into detail with each method, but a simple Internet search will give you the basics.

2) Proportional Betting: This is an investment strategy based on the idea that one’s bet size should be proportional to their perceived edge over the bookmaker. One determines the size of their wager relative to a percentage of one’s bankroll, typically in the 1-5 percent range. The objective is to maximize positive expected value long-term for optimal profit growth. Theoretically, the proportional effect grows relative to one’s increasing bankroll. Kelly’s criterion is the go-to strategy here.

3) Fixed Wagering: This method is straightforward. It’s the strategy of betting a fixed amount and sticking to it no matter how much you win or lose. Both gains and losses are limited.


Best Betting Method for NFL?

The best money management strategy for NFL betting depends on your goals. Are you looking to build a set one? Discipline is the overarching key to all money management. Also, establish a bankroll you’re 100 percent comfortable losing. The risk of going bankrupt is real no matter what betting method or strategy you apply -- some more so than others do.

My best advice for betting the NFL is to take it season to season and employ proportional staking. It’s the best bang for your buck while balancing risk. Fixed betting is the safer route, but chances you end up losing to the book’s vigorous are much higher than investing to one’s positive expected value. There are risks in proportional betting, primarily in overvaluing one’s edge in the market, but the prospect of long-term optimal growth highest.

Progressive systems are high-risk, high-reward. In the end, all will fail, it’s been proven many times over statistically. But one can still dabble with a method short-term and be rewarded. The key here is to have a goal and know when to stop! Gambler’s fallacy underpins all and will eventually eat up your bankroll as the stakes grow to unhealthy levels. 

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