Martingale Betting Strategy - Does the Staking System Apply to Sports? Cover

Martingale Betting Strategy - Does the Staking System Apply to Sports?

by Oddspedia Experts
Reading time 6 min
The Martingale betting strategy is so common that you may have already used it in your sports betting strategy without even noticing it. Essentially, the Martingale betting system is just a case of doubling your losing bets until you win. History shows that the Martingale betting strategy has existed since the 18th century when a prominent casino owner invented it. It is one of the most popular strategies to seem like a surefire way to maximise your wins.
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What is the Martingale Betting System?

The Martingale betting system is a system that was invented in the 18th century by a casino owner. Its simplicity has ensured that it has remained popular to this day and is often used across both casino betting and sports betting. Many people might have already used this betting strategy and not realised it. The reason for this is that it is as simple as doubling your stake if you lose and then starting the process again if you win.

Essentially, The Martingale betting system means doubling your losing bets until you win.

The great thing about it is that it is easy to understand, and even those just beginning with sports betting can easily employ the strategy. It can result in huge wins, especially if you get a win of 4 or 5 bets down the line when your stake is quite big.

How to Use the Martingale Betting System

The Martingale betting system is straightforward to use. All you need to do is double your stake every time you lose. So if you bet £10 and you lose, you would then go on to bet £20 on the next bet and so on.

The second most important rule is that when you get a win, you start the process again from the start.

Example of the Martingale System when applied to Sports

The Martingale betting system can easily be applied to sports betting. It does have its roots in casino betting, and while it is a little easier to use the system on casino betting because the odds on something like a roulette spin are always the same, if you know how to calculate the odds correctly, you can apply it to any sports betting market. You can also apply it very easily to sports betting if you are happy to bet on even odds, which means the only calculation you need to make is doubling the stake. If your basic idea is to recoup the losses from your recent loss, you need to calculate the stake of the next bet accordingly. This involves working out the odds of the previous losing bet, comparing them to the odds with the current bet, and adjusting your stake.

The higher the decimal odds, the less you need to bet to potentially break even, the lower the odds, the more you need to bet to break even.

Martingale Sports Betting Formula

The Martingale system is designed for even wagers. The main formula of the system is to double your losing bet each time you lose and then wager the doubled amount. If you are going to use different odds, the formula is simple.

Total loss / Decimal odds = Bet


Say, for example, you bet £10 on an even sports event and you lose. If the odds are 1.40 on the next match, the formula would be £10/(1.4 – 1).

Remember that this is the minimum you need to bet to break even. To potentially profit, you will have to bet a bit more.

MARTINGALE CALCULATOR » Make Use of Oddspedia’s Free Calculator

Even the most experienced sports bettors may have issues calculating the correct amount to wager using the Martingale system regarding different odds on different sports matches. Our Martingale calculator will help you to work this out without having to do it manually. This calculator should help you with any type or market of sports bets you want to apply the Martingale strategy.

Martingale Betting System Football Example

Football betting is a good market to apply the Martingale betting strategy in, as it is fairly easy to find matches with even (1/1) odds. Across the month in the European market, you will likely find enough of these matches to employ the Martingale betting strategy. Say, for example, you bet on a certain team winning at even odds for £5, and then you lose. The next thing you need to do is double your losing bet and bet on the next match you can find with even odds. This would mean that your next bet needs to be for £10, and so on. This is a fairly easy strategy if you are doubling the amount. If you want to use odds that are not even, you must take them into your calculations when working out your stake for the next bet.

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Does Martingale Work in The Long Run: An Analytical View of The System

Using the Martingale strategy is a great way for those just starting to get into sports betting to try a strategy without needing to understand the full ins and outs of the market. Because you are doubling your bet each time, you are also maximising your potential winnings. Hence, those who favour the Martingale system usually point to large wins as an attractive part of using the strategy. It can easily be applied to sports betting, especially if you are betting on markets and games with even odds. It can also be entertaining to try out if you are bored of just picking bets at random or using other, more complicated strategies like the D'Alembert betting system.

Things like wager limits, limited bankrolls, bookmaker regulations and the gambler’s fallacy all have a significant impact that can deter long-term success.

Classic Martingale System of Doubling Bet Size until You Win

The classic Martingale system is straightforward to understand. Essentially, all it entails is doubling your losing bets until you win. So, say, for example, you bet £5 and lose; you would then bet £10 on the next bet. If you lose that bet, the next bet, you would double that amount and bet £20. It is that simple. So many people enjoy the strategy because each time you double your bet, you increase your potential winnings. Many people point to the strategy as their "go-to" for sports betting in markets like football and basketball.

“Shortened” Martingale Systems

Many "shortened" Martingale systems involve using a series of bets rather than just one. This would work well on, for example, an accumulator bet. In this strategy, you would double the amount you put on the series rather than just the one bet.

The Anti-Martingale

As soon as betting strategies like this pop up, inevitably, people are going to tweak it, make their versions or make something entirely different based on the same premise. The "anti" Martingale strategy is exactly what it says it is. Instead of doubling your losing bets each time you make a stake, you double your win and make a stake. Many sports bettors also enjoy using this strategy, and it also has the added benefit of being easy to understand, like the standard Martingale strategy. The only issue with this strategy is if you are doubling your win, you are increasing the amount you could lose if you get a loss.

Martingale Staking FAQs

Is the Martingale strategy illegal?

The Martingale strategy is not illegal in any country. Many people claim that casinos and sportsbooks do not like you to employ this betting strategy, but it is hard to pick up this is what you are doing from their perspective. The only issue you may run into is reaching the maximum betting limit, especially if you have a long run of losses on which you can continue to make double stakes.

🏆 Is the Martingale system allowed by bookmakers?

Technically, the Martingale system is allowed by bookmakers. They tend not to be keen on the strategy because it can result in huge wins. The majority of the bookmakers that allow sports betting do not outright ban the Martingale system. Still, it might be worth checking their terms and conditions to see if anything could catch you out, like maximum betting limits or only being allowed to bet a certain amount of times in a certain timeframe.

💶 Is the Martingale system profitable?

The Martingale betting strategy can be very profitable. It is worth remembering that if you are doubling your losing stake each time, you are doubling the amount you could win. Many casino and sports betting people swear by this strategy or a version. If you are an experienced bettor, you might have employed this strategy already without realising that it had a name and was a proper strategy.

💳 What is staking in betting?

A stake in betting is the amount you bet. So if you log on to your favourite bookmakers' website and find a football match you want to bet on, and you bet £10, then £10 would be your stake. The Martingale system allows you to think a bit more about what you will stake on each bet, therefore giving you a set-out strategy rather than just guessing.

🤔 What is a staking plan?

A staking plan in sports betting is just a way of being more organised with what you are going to stake. The Martingale strategy is more or less a staking plan because you know you will stake a certain amount based on whether you win or lose. Even the "anti" Martingale is a staking plan.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Martingale System

Pros vs Cons
Thumb Up
Thumb Down
  • Easy to remember
  • Large potential wins/pros-item]<br/> [pros-item]Easy to apply to either sports betting or casino betting
  • Easy to apply to either sports betting or casino betting
  • Prevents losing a large amount of money in one go
  • Can work for some time, rather than being a quick turnaround strategy
  • Although some sportsbooks might not be thrilled at you using the strategy, it isn't illegal for you to do so
  • It can give a large profit in the short term if you are prepared to make the required stakes in a short period
  • Quickly leads to high-stakes betting
  • You need a large stash to be able to continue Doubling your bets after each loss
  • Quite hard to understand if you need to calculate any other odds than even
  • If you only bet on even matches, these can be hard to come by in certain markets
  • Hitting the betting limit
  • Quickly leads to high-stakes betting
  • There might be terms and conditions from the particular sportsbook you use to bet online that are designed to catch people using this strategy out, as it is quite profitable
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This article was written by our team of betting experts, any contributing references are noted below.
Last updated 23/02/2024
  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2022, January 7). Martingale (betting system). Wikipedia.
  2. David K. Neal. Michael D. Russell. "A Generalized Martingale Betting Strategy." Missouri J. Math. Sci. 21 (3) 183 - 197, October 2009.
  3. Buchdahl, J. (2020). What can the Martingale strategy teach us about betting? Pinnacle.
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