How to beat the bookies action

How to Beat the Bookies

By Dan Tracey - Sep 9th 2022

How to beat the bookies. The one thing that punters constantly strive to do and with this becoming an ongoing battle, both sides of the competition are always looking to gain that all-important edge over the other.

Because if either side possesses the edge over the other, the chances of winning are then tilted substantially in their favour and although there are many systems that are sold as the ultimate bookie basher, they all have one thing in common.

That commonality is the use of maths in football betting and with the numbers game being as important as the beautiful game, some simple or not so simple equations can be the difference between a losing or winning bet.

Although you may be a seasoned expert when it comes to the watching of football, relying on your instincts is not usually enough to reach the promised land of sports betting and that is long-term profitability.

Which is why a statistical approach is required instead and this is where we can beat the bookies using maths. Because one key aspect that many punters overlook or perhaps do not even though, is that maths is perhaps even more important than football knowledge itself.

1. The Probability Of The Event

Due to the game of football having so many different variables attached to it and also being attached to a huge amount of luck, it is almost impossible to predict the correct outcome of every football match takes place.

While if you possessed this particular skill, you would have likely retired by now or at least kept yourself out of the glare of the bookkies, as they would not take kindly to being beaten every weekend.

However, a very large majority of people do not hold on to such a talent and therefore, they are going to have to rely on beating the bookies using maths. While the starting point always circles back to probability.

An equation that looks as follows:

Probability = (1 /odds) x 100

This means that the probability assigned by the bookmaker is the odd’s inverse multiplied by 100. While if we were using this equation for the win/draw/win market, we would now know the probability of each of the three different outcomes.

Pair Of Dice

Probability Is Key When It Comes To Football Betting

2. Time For The Maths

Now that we know the equation, it is time to sniff out the value and we do this by applying mathematics to an upcoming match. For this example, we are going to see Arsenal and Tottenham go to battle in another North London derby.

Before the game the odds look as follows:

Arsenal odds – 1.40 (probability of the win 71.4%)

Draw odds – 5.40 (probability of the draw 18.5%)

Tottenham odds – 7.50 (probability of the win 13.3%)

Calculations Are Also A Key Component Of Any Betting System

As you can see in the example above, Arsenal are clear favourites to come out on top. However, we want to beat the bookies and although the maths may point to one conclusion, the external factors may say differently.

With the maths being unable to predict such aspects as injuries, a change of manager, weather or even the time of kick-off, this is where you may be able to sniff out a value bet and if you have knowledge that will aid Tottenham in earning a victory, it makes more sense to back them.

Because although maths will give you a huge steer, it is not the absolute when it comes to predicting a winner and if you backed the favourite outcome each time, it is not a system that is likely to beat the bookies long-term.

3. The Systems

As mentioned above, there are a number of systems that can also be used to beat the bookies and in our opinion, here are the four that have the most mathematical impact.


The ladder system works on the principle that your previous bet is also a winner and if you keep winning, the bookies will continue to get beaten. For example, if you place a bet at odds of 1.50 and stake 10 pounds, the winnings would be 15.

Which means the next bet, would then be 15 pounds and if the odds were once again 1.50, it would mean winnings of 22.50. While the next bet would be 22.50 and so on. However, this strategy can be risky as it usually means an all-in approach to your football bets and one loss means you are wiped out.


The martingale system is slightly controversial. Some punters think it is worth its weight in gold, others believe it is a fast track to financial ruin. Should you place a bet of 10 pounds and your team fails to get the desired result, this system demands that you go again.

Not only that, but it demands you stake double the previous losing amount. For 10 pounds read 20 and that bet is also one that fails to beat the bookies, then the next step is going to be a wager of 40 pounds.

Which ultimately be comes a test of nerve and your bankroll. You may eventually come out on top and beat the bookies using maths. But be warned it does come with plenty of pitfalls at the same time.

Kelly criterion

This system was created in the 1950’s by John Kelly and this is arguably the best use of maths when it comes to trying to beat the bookies. Especially as it also sets the parameters for your bankroll management and does not allow you to go all in on any single football bet.

John Kelly

The Founder Of The Kelly Criterion – John Kelly

While the way this was achieved, was via this mathematical formula.

Sum = (Coefficient*Predicted probability—1) / (Coefficient—1)

In using this equation, it offers up what percentage of your bankroll you should be applying to your bet. Which means mathematics is also limiting the risk and allowing you to absorb any losses, should this scenario take place

While selecting just one system is not necessarily the way to go either. If you can work out how to use them in parallel operation to each other and put the numbers to your advantage, you really can beat the bookies using maths.

Written by Dan Tracey for

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