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Successful Football Betting Using a Portfolio Strategy


In principle, football results are randomly distributed but the outcomes of games can be predicted fairly accurately using statistical modelling.

This is contrary to other forms of gambling loaded in favour of the house such as lottery and roulette, where success tends to rely more on luck than strategy.

A school of fish with 3 fish swimming against the streamImage: PhotoSky (Shutterstock)

With football betting, there are only three possible half-time and full-time outcomes (home/draw/away) for example, and sometimes just two sides to a football bet (e.g. over/under ‘X’ goals).

In contrast, the UK National Lottery has 45 numbers providing over 14 million combinations of the six needed for a jackpot, meaning the chances of winning are drastically low.

Similarities of Professional Football Betting and Stock Market

Indeed, football betting is a little like stock market shares where it is possible to select profitable investments, and traders can forecast with a deal of accuracy whether prices are more likely to rise or fall.

Whereas in stock markets prices sometimes rise or fall unexpectedly, freak results also happen in football as every fan will have observed.

I was fortunate enough to receive tutoring on financial and quantitative analysis of stock markets at university but of course, football betting is not on the syllabus. However, the more I study betting and its underlying statistics, the more parallels I can draw with stock market analysis.

The secret of long-term financial success in the stock market is not necessarily always about buying the right shares or options.

Obviously, a good selection of instruments naturally influences the profit margin in a positive manner but, long-term financial success is not guaranteed if the portfolio is wrongly structured. The same applies to football betting.

A professional stock broker would not dream of investing all of his clients’ money in just one share or option. Indices such as DAX, MDAX and TecDAX all include at least 30 companies in their portfolios. The DAX 100, as its name suggests, contains 100 companies.

Why, therefore, does the stock broker look to invest in a wide range of markets? The answer is obvious: This is done to reduce or spread the risk if one or another share price develops in the wrong direction. And, even in the very unlikely event that the whole stock market collapses, the indices will never totally drop to zero.

Translated into gambling, these principles indicate that you should never ever put all your bank on one individual bet, however ‘sure’ it appears. You must always bet on (invest in) a portfolio of events in order to spread the risk/investment for long-term returns.

What Exactly is a Portfolio?

One interpretation reads: …”A bundle of investments in the possession of an institution or an individual… Usually, an extensive analysis precedes the structuring of a portfolio… A portfolio is typically part of the strategy to reduce the risks of financial investments by diversifying”…

Translated into betting language:
…”A portfolio is a package of bets where extensive analysis has determined the choices (picks)…This is an essential part of the whole betting strategy in order to reduce the risks of losing by diversifying”…


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Last Update: 12 June 2013

Categories:Betting Advice Betting Guidance Money Management



5 Responses to “Successful Football Betting Using a Portfolio Strategy”

  1. obi
    25 January 2012 at 10:59 am #

    i want to be come a good forecaster how will you help me on it
    Thank you

  2. antonio
    21 June 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    I agree that a portfolio strategy is a very good way to bet.

    The best way to use a portfolio in betting imo is in ante post betting.

  3. audiendi
    14 May 2017 at 7:55 am #

    Hey Soccerwidow,

    Terrific job. I notice that you had a very high probability of success with six of the bets (at least according to your calculations). I’m interested in getting into betting but I hope always to be quite conservative for fear of losing control. So the relatively conservative bets appeal to me.

    What worries me a bit is the two bets which your calculations suggested had 37% and 38% chances of success, respectively.

    May I ask what prompted these bets? Did you detect excessive amounts of value in them? And did you balance the risk by staking less than you would have staked on the bets with lower odds?

  4. Right Winger
    16 May 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    Hi Audiendi,

    A spread of risk is vital to the success of any betting portfolio.

    We’ve said it so many times throughout this blog that betting continually on low priced favourites only, without value on your side, is a road to ruin.

    Have a look at the 2016 Summer League Campaign free Excel workbook download. In the Inflection Points tab, you’ll see that it was a zero sum game betting on anything up to odds of 2.28 (even with value on our side), but it was the mixture of these favourites, plus draws and underdogs that created the handsome profits.

    Bookmakers make their money out of people who are scared of lower probability bets. This is the reason why most favourites are under-priced – purely because most bets are placed on these outcomes.

    Successful betting is all about a certain mindset. It calls for being methodical, mechanical and unemotional. Once you have these qualities you will actually prefer to bet on the bigger odds, because that is where the money is. The smaller odds just fill in the naturally larger gaps of the losing streaks in the smaller probability bets.

    As for the example in this article, the bets were prompted by nothing more than having some balance to the portfolio. Yes, there was value in every bet (at least 10%). Finally, there is no need to balance the risks by weighting stakes. In fact, you actually nullify the effect of a large portfolio of different probability bets if you begin to apportion different stakes to them.

    It is always better to flat stake everything, with a ratchet system in place to increase all stakes once bank targets are met. You should also protect the back door with a stop loss mechanism to reduce stakes uniformly should the bank drop to certain specified levels of your choosing.

    Hope this helps and thanks for the questions!

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