Sports betting strategies: Guide to sports betting systems

Sports betting strategies: Guide to sports betting systems

Sports bettors and strategies go together like Disney and happily ever afters. In fact, a sports bettor without a strategy may as well be playing slots – the results would likely be the same.

A casino is a casino is a casino, right? How different can one casino be from another? All they do is exchange money for chips, offer games, and then exchange chips for money.

Well, no. No story goes, “Once upon a time, everything was simple, everything was the same, and everyone was happy. The end.”

Every casino – both brick and mortar and online – is unique. Yes, there are similarities, both legislative and game based, but there’s no way to summarise all casinos with just a few simple sentences.

Luckily for you, we have taken the time and effort to really get into the foundations of online gambling: what makes it tick, how it works, what players can expect, and so much more. Here, we offer you all the in-depth guides to online casinos and gambling you’ll need. And we take that promise seriously, which is why we are constantly working to add more guides that cover every aspect of the online casino experience.

In this series of guides, you will find information about jackpots, variance and volatility, online casinos, casino bonuses, withdrawals and deposits, and more.

Why should you use guides?

Casino guides like these can really help enhance your online casino experience. For example, jackpot guides don’t just tell you what a jackpot is; they explain the various types of jackpot, how they work, how to play to win, where to find games with different jackpots, and even who the game developers are.

Casino bonus guides are another super useful way to figure out which online casinos will work best for you. We don’t only look at the types of bonus offered, but explain how they work, the hidden pitfalls to look out for, and ways to make the most of your wagering requirements.

You’ll find enough information here to keep you busy longer than a great game of poker, so dig in, and come out the other side a little more knowledgeable. And if there’s anything you’d like to learn more about that you don’t find here on CasinoPlay, let us know. Happy reading!

We’ve said it before, but sports betting is not the same as regular gambling. Most casino games are based solely on chance, and the few table games that aren’t still include a significant chance component.

Sporting games’ outcomes, on the other hand, are the result of careful team selection, rigorous training and geographic advantages, among many other factors. That means that sports bettors have a whole lot more information at hand to make good choices.

Figuring out a strategy, however, can be daunting, especially for less-experienced bettors. But no matter how well you know sports betting, or how long you’ve been involved, there’s always something new to learn. That’s where sports betting systems can be useful – they help you figure out the best way to place your bets for the best possible outcomes.

At CasinoPlay, we cover the various types of strategies you can incorporate into your own, and we strongly encourage you to read through those while you’re developing yours.


Sports betting systems are related to, but not the same as, strategies. Betting systems revolve around how to stake your wagers from a money perspective. These systems don’t necessarily help you decide which team to bet on.

Systems are there to support strategies, not replace them. With these systems, you can maximise the potential winnings on a bet placed, or work towards a predetermined profit outcome.

Essentially, most sports betting systems work in a similar way: they give you a formula by which to determine the value of your initial bet, as well as every bet placed thereafter, until you’ve achieved your goal. For most, this means increasing, decreasing, or maintaining the stake based on the result of the previous bet.

There are three main categories of betting system: positive progression, negative progression and ‘it’s complicated’. To aid understanding, let’s define a couple of terms upfront:

  • Unit: a predetermined, fixed amount of money. This could be R5, or R500, depending on the bettor.
  • Fixed system: each wager amount is fixed at a set value
  • Proportionate system: wager amounts increase or decrease according to a formula

Positive progression

Positive progression systems work by increasing the betting amount each time you win, according to different formulae. This is one of the riskiest system categories and definitely not recommended for those with a small or limited bankroll. A few examples are:

  • Oscar’s Grind: with this system, you increase your bet by one unit after each time you win, but hold the wager steady after a loss
  • Paroli formula: here, you double your stake after each win; after three consecutive wins, drop the wager back down to your original or base stake. If you lose, drop to the base stake and start over
  • Parlay: this system allows you to place multiple bets with one wager, and reinvest your winnings into the next game in the series.

Negative progression

Much like positive progression systems, negative progression sports betting systems work by changing the wager value based on the results of the previous game. Unlike positive progression systems, however, you increase your betting amount each time you lose. Examples include:

  • D’Alembert: each time you lose a bet, you increase the next wager by one unit; each time you win, decrease the next wager by one unit
  • Martingale: each time you lose, your next wager is your stake unit value plus what you would have won on your previous bet, if you hadn’t lost. Usually, this means doubling your bet after each loss.

It’s complicated

There are some betting systems that don’t neatly fit into the positive or negative progression moulds. These usually have a unique formula. For example:

  • Labouchère: technically a negative progression system, this one works by determining the desired winnings amount, dividing it into smaller increments and then applying a formula to establish stakes. Each stake comprises the first and last increments on the list; if the bet wins, those increments are removed from the list; if the bet loses, the amount lost is added to the end of the list.
  • Fibonacci: ah, the golden ratio! Using the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…) as a stake guide works by progressing along the sequence each time you win, and going back when you lose. Your stake is your unit amount multiplied by the relevant number in the sequence.

The most important thing to note about sports betting systems is this: they cannot operate in a vacuum. Using a betting system enhances your overall strategy, but when used on its own, it can spell disaster. Any kind of losing streak can rapidly erase your bankroll, leaving you with no way to make it up.

These systems can very quickly result in massive losses if you don’t make smart, informed bets. Using a betting system as part of your strategy can be a useful tool; don’t rely on them exclusively.

Tips, guides, strategies and lessons – we have them all right here, and our library of useful sports betting information is only growing. Check in regularly to see new articles and guides to help you be a winning sports bettor.

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