Which bettor wouldn't want to have a rock-solid strategy for winning bets? When you start searching, you realise that there seem to be many strategies, but in fact they turn out to be unprofitable or even loss-making. That is because every site borrows them from others, and they are not interested in finding out which betting strategies really work. We did it differently.
To write this review, we gathered the best specialists from the Match.Center team, and our experts shared their betting strategies and approaches. On this page, there is not a single ounce of copy-pasting. All tips and strategies come from our experience. They are tried and tested by ourselves and backed up by statistics.
We will tell you how to use (and how not to use) sports betting strategies, how to organise bankroll management to avoid going bankrupt and stress less, which strategies to forget and which ones to try. Let’s get started.
What Are Betting Strategies?
In a general sense, a sports betting strategy is an algorithm for placing sports bets on individual events, following which, allegedly, the bettor should go in the black in the long run.
So as not to get confused, we will divide all recommendations on how to place bets into two stages. The first is preliminary, i.e., forming a general approach to betting. The second stage is the actual betting.
Approach to the Betting Process
Punters create a behavioural model that will help them, as a whole, to keep money and stay rational regardless of what specific bets they will place. This includes:
An overall game plan is important as, without it, you will lose even with a quality strategy.
Bankroll management is a scheme by which you allocate money for betting, deposit it into your betting account and spend it on placing bets. The objective is to control the flow of money and avoid losing a critical amount.
There are several ways to deal with a bankroll, such as the Kelly Criterion or the Miller system. You can learn more about them in one of our articles - “Top 4 betting systems that work”.
Overexcitement can nullify all previous efforts. It is often excessive excitement that spoils decent betting strategies. It is a pretty serious problem as it is overexcitement that leads to the desire to place a bet. However, as soon as you start looking for a specific betting market, overexcitement is better left aside. The most reliable (and, alas, tested on ourselves) advice here is not to play while intoxicated or being in stress and anger.
As part of the psychological preparation, you should also decide on the exact purpose of your bets. Is it a desire to support the team you are rooting for, or to win against the bookmaker? "Fan" bets should be kept separate from any strategies to avoid affecting the results. They can also be made smaller in size.
Try to thoroughly understand everything you are planning to bet on. Attempting to bet on everything in the selection of betting events will never lead to positive results. Moreover, it is much more interesting to bet on something you are knowledgeable about.
You can even choose not just a sport, but a specific championship, and become an expert in it. For example, one of our experts bets on the Singapore Premier League: you can check out his strategy in the "Top 5" section.
Working with Information
The sources on which your predictions are based are very important. For many punters these are statistics, for others – inside information or breaking news (for example, about an injury to a particular player). You can choose whether to focus on the team's most recent matches, long-term trends, or, on the contrary, play against trends. All of these are individual decisions that may work for one bettor and not for another. Tips like "study the physical shapes of teams" usually seem very superficial, indeed. However, in this article, in the top-5 strategies section, we will show you the opportunities just one additional window with statistics can open up.
Insider betting is a special type of gambling that we mention here more as warning rather than a tip. Inside betting is a simple option, but not a safe one. Most often, it involves "after goal" betting – i.e. betting on events that have already happened but the bookmaker has not yet found out about them. It is no surprise that bookmakers consider this type of betting unfair. The point is that a dude sits in the stands during a match and places live bets (or signals a friend when it is time to place a bet).
Winning in this way is possible because the bookmaker receives information about the match progress with a slight delay. Viewers watching the broadcast also see it with a delay. However, a person in the stands learns everything second by second. Seeing a team score a goal, they can immediately place a live bet on their victory at odds corresponding to the previous score, which will be significantly reduced within a few seconds.
This cannot be called a strategy; it is more of an attempt to outsmart the bookmaker. It is unlikely that this can be done regularly, as it is easy for the bookmaker to compare the timing of your bets with the timing of events.
What to Bet on: How Match.Center Experts Create Betting Strategies
Normally, quality betting strategies are built on just two pillars:
As a rule, most bettors who use strategies do not consider big markets to be winning because they believe that the bookmaker analyses them in detail. Errors in odds and, consequently, value bets are almost excluded. However, our experts have found an opportunity to successfully play "big football" on the opponent's (bookmaker's) field and even achieved a cool ROI. Read more about all strategies in the next "Top 5 sports betting strategies" section.
We have to give a special mention to live betting. It is too wobbly to single out a specific, detailed strategy for it. However In Play betting can help implement some strategies, "gifting" higher odds. In particular, we occasionally use this approach when betting on a period result in hockey or placing Over football bets on the Singapore Premier League.
Betting on so-called small markets is probably the most widely used strategy for draining money from the bookmaker. These are betting markets that are not that popular with the general public, such as the number of yellow cards in football or aces in tennis.
Since there is less money in these markets, the bookmaker pays significantly less attention to them. This means that the bookie makes more mistakes in setting odds. The problem is that to smooth out these errors, the bookmaker opts for its main weapon - increasing margins. For small markets, you will not see the usual 4-5% commission; instead, the indicator will be around 8-10%. This means that you must win with a very significant advantage to come out in profit.
In addition to bets on statistics, small markets also include lower leagues, i.e. third-tier championships in countries where the sport is well-developed, or second-tier leagues in countries where it is not very popular. That is, a conditional Belgian football championship is not a small market. The second league of Poland is definitely a small one.
Trends and Statistics
This is a mathematical approach to detecting bookmaker errors. By choosing this path, you track certain championships for a long time, analyse statistics, and find trends. For example, you noticed that basketball team A loses the first quarter in 8 out of 10 away games. This is a very indicative trend, and if you see that in the next away game of this team, the betting odds are at least 1.5 for the loss in the first quarter, this is a profitable bet.
Live betting is good not only because it is interesting. It can also help you get the necessary odds if your betting strategy involves betting with fixed lower limits. For instance, some hockey betting fans believe that it is profitable to place totals on the first period at the moment when it has just started. By placing a bet in the first or second minute, you almost do not lose game time, during which teams have the opportunity to score a goal, as they are just getting into the game. All major events are likely to happen later. If you missed the moment and someone scored at the very beginning, you simply do not place a bet and do not lose anything.
Top 5 Sports Betting Strategies
We are ready to bet that you have also been disappointed many times trying to find new, interesting, and effective betting strategies. That is because, in most cases, when clicking through, we see the same nonsense that seems to have been around for a million years and has not been working for about as long, as if these strategies were written by bookmakers themselves.
We value our reputation and our readers, so we are not going to propagate such gibberish. Instead, our Match.Center experts have concentrated on finding something fresh and effective. Our team has tested several strategies, placing hundreds of bets under each of them. In this section, we present five strategies that have performed pretty well.
Let's start with football, of course. In football, there is a huge number of match options and markets to bet on each of them. This is the main bookmaker product in most countries. And so many people believe that finding value bets here is impossible: the selection of betting events almost perfectly matches the odds. After all, for the bookmaker, this is a question of millions. However, contrary to this opinion, we believe that decent markets can be found on major football events as well. The first two strategies are about this.
Betting on “Big” Matches
Idea. In a state of maximum concentration during major tournaments and the most important matches, teams follow a common logic. In such matches, they usually start competing cautiously, and in the first half we see little aggression, which often leads to a draw at halftime. In the second half, time begins to run out, and results need to be achieved, so teams go on to goal scoring.
Betting. We place two bets on one match. The first bet is on a draw in the first half, and the other one is on the second half to be more productive than the first one.
Do not bet this way on matches in domestic championships.
Practice. Our experts staked on 50 matches using this strategy, placing two bets on each of them. The odds mostly ranged between 2.0 and 2.5. As a result, 141.9 stake amounts were won. Thus, the ROI* was 41.9%. It looks unrealistically large, so we are delighted to continue testing this strategy further. Nevertheless, even with less luck, you can get decent winnings if you try hard to select the right matches. Fortunately, this is very easy: these matches are always on the first pages of sites. And as a bonus, you will have lots of fun watching top football.
A classic example is the 2023 Champions League final.
Problems. The strategy requires analysis and patience: it is important that it is really TOP football and big matches.
*ROI (Return of Investments) = (Amount of winnings - stake amounts) / stake amounts * 100%.
Under Markets to Bet on Newcomers and Underdogs in Football
Idea. In some national championships, teams that are at risk of being relegated from the top league fight with all their might to keep their status and money. This leads to a large number of defensive and dull matches.
Betting. We place Under 2.5 goals markets on matches of underdogs and newcomers in selected championships. In this case, the main task is to choose the right teams.
Suitable tournaments. We analysed two national leagues: the Italian Serie B and the Russian Premier League. The Serie B was chosen based on statistics of the lowest tournaments. There are even lower leagues, but they are something like "a tournament of reserve teams in the third league of Indonesia", and bookmakers do not offer betting markets on them. We paid attention to the lower matches in the RPL because of an interview with one of the coaches, which became the prerequisite for the emergence of this strategy. He said that newcomers to the league often close themselves off in defense. After checking, it turned out that this strategy also works.
You can make a list of your own leagues by studying statistics. The more conservative the game is, the easier it is to find suitable Under 2.5 markets. For example, this strategy is unlikely to work for the English Premier League.
Practice. In the 2021/22 season, Südtirol, the winners of the Serie C Group A, and Palermo, the playoff winners, earned the right to play in the Serie B. Let's take a look at the betting statistics for Under markets on the matches of these teams.
In the 2022/23 season, as of May 14, 2023, they played 72 matches, including head-to-head games. 48 of these matches were with an Under 2.5 market. If we betted 100 hypothetical units on each of such Under markets for the selected teams throughout 37 rounds, the net profit would be 757 hypothetical units, and the ROI would be +10.51%.
Matches with Under markets
Average odds for successful bets
Now, let’s take Under markets on matches of RPL newcomers of the last three seasons:
In total, over the past three seasons (as of May 10, 2023), 166 matches of the selected teams have been played in the RPL. 93 of these games ended with an Under 2.5 outcome. If we betted 100 hypothetical units on each of such Under markets, the net profit would be 1,028 of these units, and the ROI would be +6.19%."
Matches with Under markets
Average odds for successful bets
*Head-to-head matches with Under markets
Problems. Many tournaments may not be suitable for this strategy. You need to search for options carefully. Fortunately, there is a lot of football in the world.
Under Markets on Singapore Premier League Events
Here, we will show a strategy unexpectedly found in the Singapore market. You do not necessarily have to bet on Singapore football events, we just wanted to show the "weirdness" of niche championships. And as for tournaments and their trends, you can explore them yourself. However, we also think that if you are interested in watching your 7-year-old son play with a ball in the yard, then, perhaps, you will also find pleasure in watching football in Singapore.
Idea. This championship is very high scoring, so here we plan to have fun, which is loved by millions – to bet on Over markets, but with a small adjustment: let’s add push bets.
Betting. Over (3 )markets, if the odds are at least 1.5.
Suitable tournaments. The Singapore Premier League or other lower-tire leagues with above average performance.
Practice. In this season of the Singapore Premier League, at the time of creating the article, 44 matches have been played. In 20 of them, more than three goals were scored. In another 14 matches, exactly three goals were scored (a push). Accordingly, 10 bets lost and 20 won. Thus, provided that the odds of several or all bets are higher than 1.5, we go in the black.
Problems. It is not easy to find odds higher than 1.5 for Over (3) markets in pre-match. But you can do this by waiting for them to increase in live. For instance, in the middle of the first half at 0-0, you can easily get the necessary odds and still have decent chances of your Over bet to win.
Imagine, we also know about the existence of other ball games, and even with a puck ones. Below we provide a strategy for betting on the NBA and a very simple universal strategy for betting on hockey.
NBA Quarter Betting
Idea. It is quite problematic to find a profitable NBA betting market: bookmakers set more than adequate odds and quickly react to news about players’ injuries and absences. That is why we will dig deeper and bet not on the whole game, but on quarters. The favourite of the match does not necessarily have to win every quarter, and here we can catch some profitable odds.
We will look for bets using a statistical indicator called “+/-“ for a specific quarter. It shows the difference in score for the team at the end of a certain game stage. You can find statistics on the official NBA website or other basketball resources. We simply open a couple of pages, set the necessary filters, and find the values. See the screenshots for how this works.
Betting. Select games, in which the difference between the teams in the +/- indicator is more than 5 points. Bet on winning the first quarter.
Suitable tournaments. The NBA regular season.
Practice. We placed a series of bets using this strategy and got the following results:
Tie Period in Hockey
Idea. This strategy is based on several hundred bets that our experts placed on matches from three following leagues: the NHL, KHL, and the Finnish Elite League. We took approximately the three (not strictly) most "tie-prone" teams from these leagues over three seasons.
Although we used statistics from three seasons, here, to avoid overloading the review with images, we will show an example of only the last one. To calculate ties, you need to add the WO (wins overtime) indicators to the LO (losses overtime) ones.
The NHL turned out to be the least tie-friendly league. Almost no one plays to a draw more often than once in four games. In the last regular season, Calgary was the team with the largest number of ties, and even that was only 29% of all the club's games.
In the Finnish Elite League, we found a unique club whose tie performing potential, according to the season statistics, is 38%.
In the KHL, there are two tie record holders with the same number of ties, which make up 35% of their total number of games.
But this is just the beginning of the analytical work. If you simply bet on a tie in all the games of these teams, you will end up in the red (tested). We offer another strategy taking into account that traditionally in hockey, the most tie-prone period is the first one. Bets on a tie in each first period also resulted in losses, but as we found out, most draws in the first period end with a score of 0-0. The same logic works here as in the strategy for big football: at first, teams play more cautiously, watching each other.
Betting. Select the first period with the exact score of 0-0 or Over (0.5) options.
Suitable tournaments. Hockey leagues with several teams often playing to a tie.
Practice. Exact score betting implies higher odds, compared to just tie betting, and so we go in the black. For instance, let’s take an NHL game. As you can see in the screenshots, the odds for the score of 0-0 (since there is no market on such an exact score, we choose an Under 0.5 one) significantly exceeds the odds for a tie with any score.
We placed over 200 bets on a 0-0 score in the first period of matches of the three most tie-prone teams and achieved an ROI of about 20%. It seems like an excellent result for a strategy based on just one figure.
Problems. The strategy is universal and suitable for different hockey leagues, and does not require too deep immersion into the specifics of the championship (although, of course, it will not hurt)."
Betting Strategies to Avoid
You can find several strategies on the internet that were popular at different times, but now it is evident that they do not give you any advantage. At best, you will waste your time, and at worst, you will also lose your money. Let's talk about the most well-known ones.
This is a very simple approach: you choose the minimum stake amount and then start doubling it every time after a loss. The martingale strategy was tried in roulette when betting on red and black, but it did not work for two reasons. Firstly, the presence of zero in roulette reduces the already insignificant profit. Secondly, there are limits above which you cannot bet. You can read more about the martingale strategy in our separate article "Martingale Strategy: Betting System by Catching Up". Here is a shorter version.
You are promised that sooner or later the next bet will win, and since the stake amount is larger than the previous ones, you will cover all losses and go in the black.
Why it will not work: bookmakers have limits on the amount that can be staked, which you cannot exceed. And the losing streak can be so long that you run out of money. The strategy assumes an infinite number of bets, so sooner or later this will definitely happen, and you will go bankrupt.
Everyone knows someone who lost a lot of money because of one match at odds of 1.2. Sometimes luck just is not on your side, right?
So, the "ladder" strategy is entirely based on such no-lose matches at odds of 1.2 or lower.
You are promised that you can choose the amount you want to win and bet everything you have until you get it. For example, you have 5,000 conventional units, and you want to win 3,000. You bet all 5,000 on some market at very low odds, for example, 1.1. After winning, you use the entire bank for the second bet. And so on until you get a win of 3,000, after which you start the ladder all over again.
Why it will not work: the strategy is based on the assumption that all markets with low odds will invariably win, which is, of course, nonsense. Just one mistake - and you lose the entire bank. Come on, who on earth called this advice a "strategy"?
This is a strategy where you need to select 27 football accas of three exact score markets each. For this, matches with an obvious favourite and potentially low-scoring ones are taken, so that the most likely options for the exact score are 1-0, 0-1, 2-0, and so on.
You are promised that you can select 27 accas of three low-scoring markets each and that, allegedly, one of them must win. The odds for each acca will be around several hundred, making the potential prize very large.
Why it will not work: when you combine events in an acca, the bookmaker's margin multiplies. Just imagine how much money you will give to the bookmaker by creating 27 accas at once!
Let's take three matches from the Italian Serie A and create such an acca of them. It is problematic to calculate the margin for the exact score market due to the huge number of markets. For example purposes, we will use the margin for 1/X/2 markets and keep in mind that it is higher for other ones.
Sassuolo – Fiorentina, June 3, 2023
Torino – Inter June 3, 2023
Napoli - Sampdoria, June 4, 2033
Exact score market
Margin for the1/X/2 market to bet on the match
Fair odds for the market
Odds for the created acca
Fair odds for the acca
Another disadvantage of the strategy is that all your bets can easily lose if at least one of the three selected matches is not a low-scoring one. For instance, the favourite wins, as you assumed, but it does it with a score of 3-1, which is not included in any of your accas.
You may come across an offer to build a strategy around cashing out on matches where your bet is close to winning. This is a more complex and non-automatic approach that requires a lot of analysis and regular match viewing. The idea is that you place a bet, for example, on team A to win, and when they start leading in the score, instead of waiting, you cash out the bet, taking your winnings.
The downside of this approach is that by cashing out, you pay the bookmaker an extra margin, on top of what you have already paid by placing the bet. The fee for cashing out is not cheap at all. For example, if the chances of your team holding on to a 1-0 lead are approximately 70%, you will not receive a payout that corresponds to this probability. You will receive a payout of around 50% on top of your stake. Yes, cashing out can cost around 20%.
Tips for Beginners
All the strategies we have discussed in this review are suitable for beginners. It is not rocket science, and each one has a logical justification. You can choose any strategy and try it out. However, we have a couple of betting tips for beginners to start with to feel confident.
The "Approach to the betting process" section located at the beginning of this review is dedicated to how to bet with a clear head. Here is a brief reminder:
Stick to Flat Betting
This is the main bankroll management strategy for new punters. It is very simple: you place all bets of the same amount. This can be either a fixed stake amount - for example, 1% of your starting bankroll, or dynamic - for example, 1% of your current bankroll. In the second case, you will slightly increase your stakes when you win and decrease them when you lose.
“Big” Football Betting Strategy
This is the first strategy from our top 5 list that you can see above in the article: it implies betting on Under markets in the first half of important matches and a higher scoring second half. We recommend this strategy to new punters primarily for several reasons:
Mistakes in Using Betting Strategies
Intuition Instead of Rules
If you have decided to bet by a strategy, you should do it according to the chosen approach. However, often there is a temptation to bet on one or another match, regardless of anything, just based on a "hunch”. This works like this: if the hunch does not fail and the bet wins, the event is remembered. If the bet loses - the event is forgotten. In betting, the opinion on the power of intuition is always overestimated.
Sometimes punters do not try to honestly find value bets but convince themselves of the prospects of a market they already like. A typical example is the prevalence of bets on Over markets, which have no statistical basis. Punters choose this bet because they want to watch spectacular football with competition and goals.
As you may have noticed, our football strategies involve betting on a modest number of goals.
Overestimation of Statistics
Statistics, of course, are important in assessing a match, but too much faith in them can be misleading. The problem is that the current physical shape of the team in the current season can be calculated based on only a few matches, which is not enough for an error-free prediction. On the other hand, if you try to collect a pretty large number of matches, you will have to refer to previous seasons, and this data is no longer relevant. Therefore, it is so difficult to find a truly accurate and indicative trend.
Underestimation of the Bookmaker
This is the flip side of overestimating statistics. The bettor believes that if the team, for example, scored in the first half in four out of the last five matches, it is likely to score again this time, and the bookmaker offers fairly high odds. In such cases, the punter often thinks that the bookmaker did not understand something. But more likely, the bettor does not have data, on the basis of which the bookmaker set such odds.
It is impossible to name the best strategy. And it is just as difficult to choose the worst one: there are many strategies, and most of them are useless. That is why we made this review. Here you will find five high-quality strategies that our experts have created and tested themselves. Read Match.Center and bet rationally.
Unfortunately, there is no such strategy. Even if you have come up with something interesting and tested it on many bets, you cannot be sure that the strategy will work in the future. Strategies are based on the past, but sports and betting are dynamic. Trends, odds, and bookmakers' rules change. The main advice that can be given here is never to bet blindly. Check where the chosen approach is leading you and whether the strategy is still working as it did at the beginning.