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 been around since the 18th century when a prominent casino owner invented it. It is one of the most popular strategies to seem like a sure-fire 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. A lot of people might have already used this betting strategy and not actually 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 that are just beginning with sports betting can easily employ the strategy. It can result in huge wins, especially if you get a win 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 really simple 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 and so forth.

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 just bet on even odds, which means the only calculation you need to make is doubling the stake. If your basic idea is just 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 and 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).

Bear in mind that this is the minimum you need to bet in order to break even. In order 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 when it comes to 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 be able to help you with any type or market of sports bets that 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 are likely to find enough of these matches so that you can employ the Martingale betting strategy. Say for example you make a 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 to employ if you are just doubling the amount. If you want to use odds that are not even, you will need to take them into your calculations when you are working out your stake for the next bet.

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, so those that are in favour of 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 a very fun strategy 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 incredibly easy to understand. Essentially, all it entails is doubling your losing bets until you win. So say for example you bet £5 and you lose, you would then bet £10 on the next bet. If you then lose that bet, the next bet you would double that amount and bet £20. It really is that simple. The reason so many people enjoy the strategy is that 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 bet. 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 own 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. A lot of 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 really long run of losses that you can continue to make double stakes on.

🏆 Is the Martingale system allowed by bookmakers?

Technically, the Martingale system is allowed by bookmakers. They just 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, but it might be worth checking their terms and conditions to see if there is anything that could potentially 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 people in both casino betting and sports betting swear by this strategy or a version of it. If you are an experienced bettor, you might have even employed this strategy already without even realizing that it had a name and was a proper strategy.

💳 What is staking in betting?

A stake in betting is basically 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 just allows you to think a little bit more about what you are going to stake on each different 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 are going to stake a certain amount based on whether you win or lose. Even the "anti" Martingale is basically a staking plan.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Martingale System

Pros vs Cons
Thumb Up
Thumb Down
  • Easy to remember;
  • Large potential wins;
  • Easy to apply to either sports betting or casino bettings;
  • 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 actually 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 do 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 24/08/2022
  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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