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Do Betting Strategies Really Work?

Before we could enjoy a quick game of slots and place a last-minute bet on our favorite sports teams on our smartphones, we visited physical casinos and bookmakers. And much before regulated gambling came into existence, people bet on the outcomes of dice games, horse races, and the like.

While this new virtual phenomenon has effectively changed the way we make a bet, it has also introduced a new set of opportunities for bettors. However, one component remains the same – you can either place a wager and hope for the best, or you can use a betting strategy. But given the randomness and unpredictability of a gambling outcome, do these strategies really work?

What’s Considered a Betting Strategy?

Looking at a roulette wheel with equal black and red colors might hint towards a 50/50 chance of your bet winning, but a closer study will make you realize that there’s a house edge in the single and double zero pockets. When betting on football, you might be tempted to bet on favorable odds on the Chicago Bears while not realizing that the Green Bay Packers have had historical success against them.

Strategy is often what sets the amateur “for-fun” bettors apart from the veterans. A betting strategy could be defined as any approach that improves your chances of winning – or at least minimizes your chances of losing. Since the house usually claims the edge, it’s a way of potentially shifting that favor to yourself as a bettor.

Types of Betting Strategies

Different kinds of betting call for different kinds of strategies, but they all generally fall under a few categories. Progressive betting systems are all about changing your bet size based on the results of previous wagers. A good example of this is the Martingale system, a strategy that has been around since the 18th century. The premise? If you win, you stick with your original bet amount, but if you lose, you double it next time. Eventually, you should win back your losses and make a small profit.

There are also the more calculated tactics of value betting and arbitrage betting, which both involve a deep analysis of odds and probabilities. With sports betting, your best bet is using pattern recognition. Looking at the trends and patterns in past data could tell you plenty of informative data about a team that could completely change your perception or even lead you to profit off a team labeled the underdog.

If you wanted to go even more granular and put math into the equation, you could use formulas like the Kelly Criterion to figure out the best-sized bet to make. Considering the probability of winning and the opportunity for profit, you could set yourself up for excellent long-term growth while preventing your deposits from going down the drain.

Sports Betting vs Casino Betting

Looking at the types of betting strategies will make it clear that sports betting and casino betting are distinct. While casino betting is highly determined by random luck, sports betting is based on the performance of individual players and teams. But let’s set the record straight – all types of gambling are heavily based on chance. MLB pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani unexpectedly had to undergo elbow surgery in 2023, and NHL defenseman Morgan Rielly was suspended five games after a cross-checking penalty. These situations are wholly unpredictable and would automatically change the trajectory of a wager.

Slots are often considered to have the highest element of chance in the betting world. They don’t  require any element of skill, given that outcomes are determined by a random number generator. Even though most consider them the epitome of luck, others still employ strategies to maximize their experience. Perhaps they’ll pick higher return-to-play percentages or choose progressive slots that give them access to more extravagant jackpots. With the advent of online slots, many players also opt for limited-time offer code deals or other bonuses and promotions.

The Limits of Betting Strategies

It’s important to keep in mind that betting strategies aren’t a silver bullet in the gambling world. While they can and have proven to work to some degree, there’s still the ever-pervasive component of chance that we touched upon previously. There’s no way of accurately predicting a player’s performance in a specific game or figuring out the cards you’ll receive playing blackjack.

The best way to utilize betting strategies while still staying grounded is to manage your expectations. The reality is that betting strategies can be more effective in some scenarios and much less effective in others. And in the end, no matter how many times the Boston Bruins have historically beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime, upsets can happen – and they might not be pretty, depending on how much you’ve wagered. Hence, don’t forget about external factors like the way a dealer shuffles or referee decisions – it could make or break the game entirely.

So Do They Always Work?

Not always – although some show more promise than others, depending on the level of luck involved. Betting strategies can help you manage risk, make more informed decisions, and improve your overall chances of winning, but they’ll never eliminate the randomness that gambling is known for. There’s no harm in experimenting with a betting strategy or two, or you could take a page out of Biff’s playbook in Back to the Future Part II and steal a sports almanac from the future.

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