Sports Betting: What To Know About Staking

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One of the most overlooked aspects of sports betting success is staking method. There is a strong case to be made that the amount you bet is just as important as the teams that you chose.

Ed Thorp was a successful card-counter that thrived playing blackjack once upon a time. His ability to beat the house led to casinos implementing multiple decks. They made an an effort to avoid getting burned by Thorp and people like him. While Thorp thrived counting cards, he attributed the bulk of his success to a staking formula that was developed my mathematician John Kelly Jr. He felt that playing strategy was responsible for third-third to a quarter of what you get out of it while betting strategy was responsible for two thirds or close to three quarters of what you get out of it.

Here is a look at five staking methods and why it's so important when it comes to sports betting strategy.

All-In, All The Time

This strategy is very simple: bet everything that you have every single time. When you consider that all you need is one loss, it's likely that the run will end soon. This strategy is often employed by big moneyline players. They'll bet on the NBA or college basketball, and play the big favorites. The strategy is to bet a lot to win a little, but bet on safe things. For that reason, many bettors are willing to risk it all because they don't foresee the loss. When it does happen, though, it wipes them out. Obviously, this strategy isn't a great option. At some point, you will lose and it'll clear you out.

Fixed Wagers

This is perhaps one of the best strategies that professional handicappers turn. How it works is you are betting on a fixed amount for each bet so it never varies regardless of how much you win.

For example, if you have a bankroll of $500 and you bet $20 every single time regardless of the wager. In that case, you will improve your chances of winning. Your winnings might be reduced at first but your risk is also smaller. That can allow you to stay in the game longer as your attempt to slowly build your bankroll.

Martingale System

This system is a little riskier since you would double your stake on any failed bet in order to cover your losses. If you start small enough with a wager like $5 then the odds are that you will have a big enough bankroll that you should be able to cover your losses using the Martingale system eventually but it could spell disaster if you lose five or six wagers in a row.

The Martingale system usually works better with casual bettors risking smaller amounts but there are situations where more experienced bettors use the system to try to cover their losses.

Fibonacci System

The Fibonacci system requires you to increase your stake to your losses with the next bet’s winnings. This method has similar setbacks to the Martingale system in sports betting but it also reduces how quickly the stake increases if you’re on a losing streak. The amount is set ahead of time with a steady increase in risk amount every time that you win.

Proportional Betting

The proportional betting system helps you when it comes to betting a fraction of your bankroll in proportion to your edge. This system requires you to adjust your bet based on the edge divided by the odds. If the edge is 10% then the odds are events, 10/1 is 10. Therefore 10% of the $1,000 wallet should be $100. You make that bet and if it is successful then your bankroll moves to $1,100. That means your 10% wager becomes bigger than what it was before that at $110. If you lose the $100 then you are left with $900, which means that 10% of your bankroll is $90.


There is no one system that will guarantee that you win money and build up your bankroll with constant profits but it is usually a good idea to stick with one strategy. Therefore, if you commit to a Martingale system or Proportional Betting then you need to stick with it rather than betting different amounts blindly.

A staking method can create a level of stability that will help you avoid big losses so make sure you understand the importance of your staking system and why you should stick to one approach.