Posts Tagged ‘upset theory’

I have set myself a goal of turning $20 into $1000 through sportsbetting.  This is an aside from the Champ Bros syndicate, which is travelling quite nicely in 2015 btw.  The idea is that if I can successfully achieve this, then I could theoretically turn $200 into $10k, and then $2000 into $100k.  The % growth is all the same, it’s just the numbers get bigger by a factor of 10 each scenario. So even though the betting amounts are quite small in these examples, I am looking to the big picture where I could duplicate these strategies with higher stakes in the future.

I started this challenge by depositing $20 into my Bet365 a/c on Saturday 18th April, and have not made any further deposits.  Currently the balance is $146 with some bets pending.  My strategy is to only place ‘good bets’, where the odds exceed the number of outcomes, and I have also been dabbling in the upset theory again, especially with the tennis.

During the last 3 weeks I have also come to the conclusion that the ‘low ball’ strategy is the best approach to maintain my balance and see it grow slowly over time.  This is a poker term for someone who likes to keep the pots small and chip away at their opponents, especially in a heads up situation where there are only 2 players. The theory is you won’t be committing chips into big pots and gambling on outcomes, but instead you believe you can outplay your opponent over time, so you keep the pots small, minimise your losses and eventually win all your opponents chips through superior play and forcing them into making mistakes. How I’ve adapted this idea is to place lots of smaller bets with the aim of making small profits that outweigh the small losses if the bet doesn’t win. Inside this I have also been using combo bets within my selections, which reduces the amount I can win if all the legs happen to get up, but it also is more likely to ensure a return even if I miss a few legs of either small profit or small loss.

E.g. If I pick 6 AFL games over a weekend that I like the lines for when pushed out to 2-1, I might group them into doubles or trebles depending on how likely I think the teams will go. With 6 games into doubles, there are 15 combinations. With 6 games into trebles, there are 20 combinations.

If I was willing to stake $5 for this bet, then I would place .33c on each double or 0.25c on each treble. The sports bet websites and apps are set up now so this easily done by choosing the combo bet you want and the amount you want to stake so you don’t have manually make each bet.

If I happen to miss a leg or two out of these games, I will still make some money or incur a small lose, and I will only get zero return if I get fewer results than the combo I chose, which hasn’t happened yet. It is a conservative approach to gambling, but I am patient and so far I have been very happy to see my $20 investment slowly grow.

The other interesting option I have been exploiting is the new ‘Cash Out’ feature all the sites are offering now. Once you have a few legs of your multi in the bag, you will see that your cash out option will usually be higher than your starting stake, so you have already made a profit if you choose to end your bet there. A few times I have cashed out early and maximised my return, as I didn’t like my chances with the outcomes of the other matches, and if those games went against me the return would have dropped to less than what I staked originally, whereas the cash out option guaranteed me a profit. This works especially well with the upset theory in tennis.

E.g. I have been backing the upset in tennis for short priced favourites. After watching the results for a few weeks it became apparent that there are many upsets in the tennis, even at the odds of 1.10 for the favourite. It was something that I explored a few years ago when I got fed up with my short priced tennis multis getting smashed by one of the odds on favs getting beat nearly every single multi.

The bet on the tennis I made the other day highlighted how a smart use of the cash out option made me a tidy profit.

I chose 5 matches and got the odds of 5.50, 4.00, 5.00, 6.50 and 4.00. I don’t really care who is playing or where, I just look for odds of 4-1 and over in the available games. I staked $5 on 10 x doubles of .50c each. The first 2 results I got happened to be both wins and the 3rd game was underway but not looking good as my player was a set down but had broken serve in the 2nd set. I was still in a great position though with 2 wins on the board, where the 5.50 and the 4.00 underdogs had both got up. Bet 365 was offering me cash out of around $21 at this point. I thought this was great, and here’s why. I had already made $11 I couldn’t lose (5.5 x 4 x .5), so if I let the matches play out this is what I would pocket regardless of the remaining results. I had already made a profit on my $5 investment. If I happened to get one more leg, I would then have 3 x doubles combos and over $30. As I watched the current game unfold it looked more likely that my player was going to lose, and literally after each point the cash out figure was dropping. I cashed in and got $20.10. Now I might have missed out on a potentially bigger payout, but I had also nearly doubled my worst case scenario regardless of the remaining outcomes, and it was this factor that I found most appealing. In these types of bets I only need 2 upsets to make a profit and that’s all I expect with such short priced favs. As it turned out the remaining favs all won easily and my decision to exit at this point was a sound one.

The aspect of my strategy that this highlighted the most is DON’T GET GREEDY, as greed leads to poor decision making.

I have also been using the cash out option to get some money back on bets where I would have ended up with a zero return. I’ll take the small loss at the risk of some massive turn around in the match were the team I chose comes back to win, as this rarely happens.

Remember Low Ball; small bets, small wins and even smaller losses over time equals a growing profit.

I am also using another simple staking approach that I learnt from successful poker pro Erik Seidel. Seidel used to be a backgammon champion, and he then worked in the stock market before turning to poker. What he learnt from his time trading on the share market he adapted to poker with a simple premise; how much should I invest in this hand? If it was a hand with a low chance of winning, he would want to invest less in it, whereas if he had a good starting hand, he would be willing to invest more in it. With this in mind, generally I am going to be investing less on bets that have less chance of winning and conversely I can risk a bit more on bets that I think are a good chance of making me a profit.

E.g. If I am choosing 6 matches and betting on doubles combos, I will stake a bit more as I am more likely to get some doubles and a return on my investment. If I am betting on trebles or 4-folds, I will stake less as these are a bit less likely to win, plus the returns are higher if they do so I can get to the same profit by betting less.

I’ve been trialling a lot of bet types, mainly trying to find good bets in the AFL that look likely to return a profit over time. The soccer draw theory is also doing well, and I haven’t explored too many other sports yet as my sporting interest lies mainly with Aussie rules football and the English soccer. The tennis upset theory is also showing promise, as I like the odds you get backing the upset for a head to head match with 2 outcomes, even if the other player is heavily favoured to win.

Remember, upsets happen!

In the AFL I am taking a few approaches. I am using the Alternative Handicap option (Pick your own line), where I choose the team I think is going to win and then push the line to get a 2.10 return. I am looking for teams that I think will win by more than the bookies margin, and by pushing the line a few points passed that, I get the 2-1 I am looking for. The other approach is to find teams that you think will get closer than the line suggests, so they will lose by less than predicted. When you look at the odds for both teams once you get the 2-1 odds both ways, there is usually about an 8 or 9 point spread which I call the bookies margin, because if the result falls into that points spread, I can’t win no matter which team I backed.

E.g. Carlton v Brisbane Sunday 10th May

Brisbane +21.5 – 2.05

Carlton -29.5 – 2.10

With these lines to get just over 2-1, Carlton has to win by 30 or more and Brisbane has to lose by 21 or less for me to collect, giving the bookies a 9 point spread where they will win.

The other bet I am doing quite well out of is the first score option. There are 4 outcomes for this bet in each match, home goal, home behind, away goal and away behind. What I noticed when I examined the odds for this option is that quite often there were returns of up to 4.50 for one of the options. I like this a lot; a 4.50 return for a bet with 4 outcomes! This is a good bet. I don’t care that that option has been deemed less likely to occur, probably through the data Bet365 has accumulated over the years, and I’m sure the AFL players in these matches aren’t trying to conform to the data either.

E.g. AFL round 6 (still in play)

I went through all the games and picked the first score option that paid the highest odds of 4-1 and over for each match. In some games all the odds are less than 4-1 so I leave them alone. This is what I backed with their odds:

St Kilda Behind – 4.00 (Win)

GWS Goal – 4.25 (Loss)

Gold Coast Goal – 4.50 (Win)

Melbourne Behind – 4.50 (Win)

Essendon Behind – 4.50 (Loss)

Brisbane Goal – 4.25 (yet to play)

West Coast Behind – 4.50 (yet to play)

So there are 7 legs, and I grouped them into doubles, giving me 21 combos. I staked .25c each combo so the bet cost me $5.25. The reason for doubles is that this is a hard bet to win when considering the possible outcomes. A double is 4×4 = 16 possible outcomes, where a treble is 4x4x4 = 64 outcomes; quite a big difference. Obviously the payout is greater for the trebles, but the other thing to consider is that there are 35 bet combos with the 7 legs, so using the min bet of .25 on Bet365, it would cost $8.75 for a less likely win. If I had more starting money I would consider this option as the potential payouts would be nice (4.5×4.5×4.5 = $91.13x.25 = $22.78), but there is a greater likelihood of getting 2 wins and no payout at all, which isn’t the risk/reward strategy I am following in this challenge.

So far I have won 3 out of 5 matches, a great result for the good bet theory with 2 games still to play. If I had of bet trebles, I would already have won $20.25 (4×4.5×4.5×0.25), and one more win out of the remaining 2 matches would give 4 more combos, and 2 wins 10 combos. But this is all speculation and we are in the real world here.

My wins so far have guaranteed me a min return of (4×4.5x.25) + (4×4.5x.25) + (4.5×4.5x.25) = $14.06, a profit of 267.8%.

The current cash out value is sitting at $19.53 which is very tempting. But one more win will increase the combos to 6 and a return of over $24, and 2 more wins will increase the combos to 10 with a max return of $47.28. So to take a $5 gain here at the expense of a much higher payout isn’t such a smart move.

The difference between this and the tennis scenario earlier is that the tennis results were relying on the underdog to get up and win against the heavily fancied favourite, whereas these results are still good bets, where I am getting more than 4-1 on the 4 possible outcomes.

Poker pro Chris Ferguson (aka Jesus) once said something along the lines that it is worse to fold a potentially winning hand than it is to stay in with a potentially losing hand. I like to apply this logic to the cash out option, where it is best to risk losing a small amount if I cash out early by seeing the bet through with the potential to win much more. Over time in this scenario, you will make more money by staying in than cashing out early, as the upcoming bets are good bets where your reward is greater than your risk.

The $20 Challenge betting strategy summary:

  • Don’t make big bets, as you can always lose on any bet you make – there are no sure things.
  • Aim for small wins and lots of them.
  • Use the cash out option to minimise your losses or take a profit above your potential payout if the other bets are likely to lose.
  • Make as many ‘good bets’ as possible and gamble on these.
  • If doing large multi bets, aim for doubles or trebles as you are more likely to get a return instead of an all or nothing result.
  • Don’t get greedy and don’t take any result for granted.
  • Be patient and disciplined.
  • Stay smart.

Beaner

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The Martingale betting system has been around since the 18th Century where it originated in France, and is a simple one in principal.  You place a bet on a 2-1 outcome.  If you win, you double what you bet.  If you lose, you double your bet, and you keep doing this until you win, where you will win back all your losses plus make a profit of your initial bet.  After the win you reset and start again.  The Martingale system also assumes that you have an infinite bank roll and that there is no table limit or a limit to how much you can bet.  Let’s take a look at an example:

You bet $10 at 2-1 to win $20 – a $10 profit.

Bet $10 – lose

Bet $20 – lose

Bet $40 – lose

Bet $80 – lose

Bet $160 – win $320

Now if you look at the bet amounts, they are $10 more than the sum of all previous bets, which is how much profit you are going to make when you finally breakthrough for the win. $10 + $20 + $40 + $80 = $150 (lost), plus the $160 you bet = $310, and you win $320 for a $10 profit.

This system was commonly used to play roulette betting on either black or red, but you don’t get a pure 2-1 return as there is a zero or double zero on the wheel which yields no win for either red or black.  This is the house edge imbedded in the odds, so you also have to overcome that when chasing your profit.  You may also find that if you suffer a losing streak you will quickly reach the table limit for how much you are allowed to bet.  Say you happen to lose 10 bets in a row; with the 11th bet you will be wagering $10240 to make a $10 profit.  And losing streaks happen! So if you can find me a gambler who is willing to bet $10240 to be $10 up, you’re finding me a fool.

$10, $20, $40, $80, $160, $320, $640, $1280, $2560, $5120, $10240 for the 11th bet.

Sports Betting Variation

This system can easily be applied to sports betting, using the multi-bet with favourites with a win/loss result to get to your 2-1 or more odds for each bet.  There is some merit in this if you think you can tip winners consistently, and you may also feel that you have some control over the result as you can pick the teams you want in your multi-bet.

Let’s look at the simplest ways to get to 2-1.  These are some of the variations you could use for a 2-leg multi if you wanted to cap the fav at 1.7 to get just over the 2-1 odds:

1.7 x 1.2 = 2.04

1.65 x 1.25 = 2.06

1.6 x 1.3 = 2.08

1.55 x 1.35 = 2.09

1.55 x 1.3 = 2.02

1.5 x 1.4 = 2.1

1.5 x 1.35 = 2.03

1.45 x 1.45 = 2.1

1.45 x 1.4 = 2.03

Of course you could back 1.7 x 1.7 to get odds of 2.89, or back just the one outsider at 2.2 if you thought it had a good chance of winning, but basically you’d want to ensure that you’re 2-leg multi yields more than 2-1 each and every bet.  Why only 2-legs?  Well there are 4 possible outcomes for 2 head to head matches, but 8 possible outcomes for 3 head to head matches.  To get a return of 2-1 on a 3-leg multi which has 8 possible results is increasing your risk of losing dramatically.

Another approach is to bet on a single soccer match, with the fav at about 2-1.  Now this may seem more difficult as there are 3 outcomes for a soccer game (home win/ draw/ away win), but as mentioned there are 4 outcomes for a 2-leg multi, so you are actually reducing your possible outcomes by one by betting on a lone soccer match.  Now a 2-1 fav in the soccer isn’t guaranteed to win, but you know what, how many short priced favs in the soccer have cost you a multi-bet when the match has ended in a frustrating draw or even an upset loss.  Never forget there are no certainties and you are gambling with every bet, so you may as well risk a good return on your wager.

From here it is simply a matter of choosing your starting stake, and being disciplined in your betting to stick to the system.  To lose money, you’d have to endure a losing streak where one of the two favs loses for a prolonged period of time in the 2-leg multi approach, or your 2-1 soccer fav keeps getting rolled.  If you know your sport and have a good strike rate as a tipster, then this system could be for you.  But buyer beware; it doesn’t take long in a losing streak to be betting large amounts of money, and if your bankroll isn’t very deep, you could find yourself in a hole very quickly.  You’d also want to find out what the max bet is with your sports bet agency to know how many losses you could endure based on your starting amount.

Let’s say you had a bank roll of $2000 and decided to start with a base bet of $50.  Now assuming the worst and you have a horror run with 5 losing bets, you won’t be able to place the 6th bet to try and recoup your losses thus far, as you would be required to bet $1600 but only have $450 left.

$50, $100, $200, $400, $800 = $1550 down after 5 losing bets.

This is assuming a minimum of one upset a week for 5 consecutive weeks, but if you’ve read the blog or have any experience in sports betting, there is absolutely no guarantee that a favourite will win, no matter how short the odds are.  UPSETS HAPPEN!

I don’t know about you, but I’d be starting to crack after only 3 consecutive losses starting with $50, where I’d have to be betting $400 just to make a $50 profit.

So if you are a gun tipster and think you can avoid the upset regularly, then the Martingale approach to sports betting will make you money over time.  My personal belief though is that you are still gambling, and it only takes the one seemingly impossible losing streak to wipe out all your gains and more when you either exceed your bank roll or you reach the max bet the bookie will take.

Beaner

After betting on the soccer ‘place bet’ theory until the end of the EPL season, I felt like a break from the round ball and just wanted to work on making a small profit each fortnight instead of chasing a bigger payout at higher risk.  I decided to bet on the NRL, as I am an AFL fan and feel by knowing less about the rugby league I can bet without prejudice.  We are wary about betting on the NRL though after the 2012 season, as there were so many upsets last year, especially in the first half of the season, it was nearly impossible to find a winner let alone land a multi.

The syndicate with my brother Kenny gives us a $50 bet each week, where we usually take turns to bet.  At the end of the year we withdraw the money and split it between us as a Xmas bonus.  Was also document all our bets so we can monitor what we are winning and losing on.  We have been doing this since 2004 now, trying different ideas and strategies to try and make a profit each year.  We have learnt a lot over this time; mainly that sports betting is a frustrating way to try and make money.

So I set the goal of making a minimum of 40% each bet.  With a bet of $50 that is $20 profit.  I wanted to minimise risk, so would keep it to 2 legs in a multi bet and try and stay with the NRL, finding favourites in the range of 1.10 to 1.40.

What I like about the NRL website is the head to head matches include their ladder position, and combined with the odds on the teams you get a pretty good idea of who is going to win.  If I knew more about the teams and their form and expectations, I may avoid certain games and second guess the obvious, but as I know little about what is going on with the NRL, I rely on what seem like good things to the casual observer.

8th July

NRL Manly Sea Eagles v Parramatta Eels

Manly (Head to Head)  1.16

5th July

NRL Melbourne Storm v Brisbane Broncos

Storm (Head to Head)  1.22

$50 Multi bet @ 1.4152 = $70.76

Result: WIN

1.16 x 1.22 = 1.4152, or a 41.52% return.

Now normally I don’t like betting on head to head games this short, as the return doesn’t justify the risk, but with the goal of a min 40%, this is a seemingly safe way to approach it.

Each head to head game has 2 results, either the team you bet on wins or it loses.  With 2 legs in the multi, there are 4 possible outcomes.  So the return you would like where there are 4 outcomes is 4-1.  The teams I selected are paying only 1.415-1.  So even though they are the favourites and expected to win, which is reflected in the odds the bookmakers are offering, theoretically either team can win before the game has started. UPSETS HAPPEN.  They both got up though and I won the bet.

15th July

NRL Queensland Cowboys v Manly Sea Eagles

Manly (Head to Head)  1.38

14th July

NRL Canterbury Bulldogs v Melbourne Storm
Canterbury Bulldogs (Head to Head)  1.22

AFL Western Bulldogs v Essendon

Essendon (Head to Head)  1.10

$50 Multi bet @ 1.851 = $92.60

Result: WIN

The actual odds for these 3 bets is 1.38 x 1.22 x 1.1 = 1.85196.  This is rounded down to 1.851 by Sportsbet, but only on paper, they still pay the odds with all the decimal points intact.  The actual payout is $92.598, which is rounded up to $92.60.

By increasing the bet to 3 legs in the multi, the returns are dramatically less than the outcomes now.  3 head to head games = 2x2x2 = 8 possible outcomes, so you would like an 8-1 return to justify the bet.  The return though is only 1.851-1.

After the success last week, I added the AFL game with the Bombers as a seeming sure thing to increase the payout odds by only 10%.  Essendon won the game, but it was far from convincing with the Bombers only 13 points up at ¾ time, eventually winning by 31 points. When will I learn?

Increasing the multi from 2 legs to 3 legs might not seem like a big difference, especially when all the head to head short priced favourites should win, but it is significant when the possible outcomes now double to 8.

I’ll say it one more time as it begins to explain why so many 3-leg head to head multis don’t win. Regardless of the odds on offer, you are trying to win an 8-1 bet.

The other important reality of sports betting that cannot be overlooked is that UPSETS HAPPEN.  It is up to Round 19 in the AFL this week, and I have picked 9 winners only twice all season, and I’m tipping well this year, running 2nd in the 3 tipping comps I’m in.

27th July

NRL Gold Coast Titans v South Sydney Rabbitohs

South Sydney Rabbitohs (Head to Head)  1.42

29th July

NRL Wests Tigers v Manly Sea Eagles

Manly Sea Eagles (Head to Head)  1.18

$50 Multi bet @ 1.675 = $83.78

Result: WIN

1.42 x 1.18 = 1.6756 (again rounded down on paper)

Back to the 2 leg multi, and again a win and a return above the 40% mark.  I also noticed that this was the 3rd bet in a row where I backed Manly to win on the Monday night, and they’ve done the business to bring home the multi.

Now to analyse this low-ball winning streak.  I’ve bet on 7 games, which is 2x2x2x2x2x2x2 = 128 possible outcomes.  I would not lose the lot through if I lost one of the bets, as they were broken up into the 3 multi-bets.  2×2 + 2x2x2 + 2×2.  So you could also look at it that the odds of winning the three multi-bets so far would be 4 + 8 + 4 = 16-1.

The odds for the winners have been 1.22 x 1.16 x 1.38 x 1.22 x 1.1 x 1.42 x 1.18 = 4.3915694.  As far as the bookie is concerned, getting these 7 winners in a row is worth 4.4:1, yet there are 128 possible outcomes from the 7 bets.  Who do you think this favours?

The odds of 4.3916 isn’t what I collected on though, as the bets were grouped; 1.4152 + 1.85196 + 1.6756 = 4.94276 x $50 = $247.138.

The odds I’ve overcome to have not had a loss yet in 7 head to head bets; 128-1.  The odds of winning all three multi-bets; 16-1.  The return I’ve got so far; 4.94:1.

I’ve bet $150 and won $83.78 + $92.60 + $70.76 = $247.14.  A profit of $97.14

So far there is nothing to fault in this approach as there has not been a loss yet, even though the risk is very high for the return.  But let’s say I miss the next multi, the profit will be down to $47.14, and if I happen to miss the one after that, I will have spent another $100 and will be at a loss of $2.86.

And as Kenny found last week, even the surest of things in a head to head event can get rolled.  UPSETS HAPPEN.

Now, if I aim to make a flat 50% profit on average for every multi bet I place, I will need to win twice for every loss to break even.  And if there are 2 legs in every multi, I need to pick at least 4 (if the 2 losses happen to be in the same multi), and usually 5 out of 6 winners consistently just TO BREAK EVEN.

To make a $25 profit every $200 spent, which allows for 3 returns out of every 4 multi bets, I need to get at least 6 out of 8 matches correct, and 7 out of 8 to guarantee the 3 winning bets.

So $25 profit from $200 bet is a return of 12.5%, earned by tipping 7 out of 8 short priced favs to win, with an average return of 1.23.  Unfortunately this is harder than it might appear, as when we bet on upsets only in 2012 (the Upset Theory) with the fav between 1.10 and 1.30, we found that upsets happen at around 30% of the time.

Beaner

Kenny has had a rough year so far with the sports betting.  He decided to give the soccer ‘place bet’ theory a rest and jumped on some shorts in the NRL for a 3-leg multi.

Leg 1: Sydney Roosters v Cronulla Sharks.  2nd playing 7th and The Roosters are 1.25, and duly win 40-0 in a mauling of the Sharks.

Leg 2:  Manly Sea Eagles v Gold Coast Titans.  4th playing 10th with Manly at 1.15.  Manly win easily with a 38-20 result.

Leg 3:  South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George Illawarra Dragons.  1st playing 14th with the Rabbitohs at 1.13 and what should have been a monty for Kenny to land his multi and get his sports betting season back on track.

The Rabbitohs got out to an 18-6 lead with 10 minutes to play, and with the Dragons having just scored their first try in 154 minutes of football, Kenny thought he was home.

But then St George Illawarra somehow manufactured two more tries before the 80 minute mark to even it up at 18-18.

In extra time, the Rabbitohs missed 3 shots at a field goal, before the Dragons ran in their 4th try to snatch victory.

This was our text message conversation in extra time.

Kenny:  need Rabbitohs to win tonight for our multi.  it’s now 18-18.  it’s golden point extra time now

Beaner: was listening through the website.  Dragons won

Kenny: un-be-fucking-lievable. Rabs missed a field goal by a whisker to win it.  was watching the web commentary and they just called it the upset of the season. gotta be kidding me

Beaner: the Kenny special

Kenny: i fucking give up!

The frustrating truth of the matter is that extra-time try would have coincided with the sound of hundreds and possibly thousands of multi bet tickets being ripped up across Australia (and the odd brick going through the flat screen HD TV) as the seemingly safest anchor bet of the round came undone in the most stunning of fashions.

This is one of the pitfalls of the sportsbet multi, but you gotta wonder what the fuck is going on when it is always the last game in an AFL or NRL or EPL round where the short priced favourite gets rolled, and the money you thought that was as good as in your pocket disappears into the ether leaving you with a hollow feeling that is difficult to describe yet all to familiar.  Conspiracy theories abound.

Beaner