Sports Betting Strategies

Proportional betting

Proportional betting considers all the aspects that professional bettors would consider key. You'll need a solid bankroll, a good staking plan and you'll have to show the art of discipline.

When you use proportional betting, you place a set amount that is proportional to your betting bank. Using proportional betting means betting a small and set percentage of your bank, usually 1% to 5%. It is proportional because as you win or lose, your bankroll will change, and so will your stake.

Your stake will be 1% to 5% of your entire bankroll at the time of placing each bet. Using this method allows you to drop your stake slightly each time you lose to prevent losses building up, but it also steadily increases your stake each time you win to build your bankroll and make bigger profit from sports betting.

Pros & Cons of a Proportional Betting strategy

If as an example you have £500 in your betting bank, it arguably makes little sense to place two bets of say, £70 and £110. You've just bet a whopping 36% of your overall bank in an unproportionate way. Secondly, staking such uneven amounts means you may not be making the most of your wins. Instead you should seek to bet proportionally.

  • Pro - By using proportional betting, you are protecting your bankroll. Betting a small percentage of bankroll should in theory mean you never run out of funds.
  • Pro - Proportional betting requires a staking plan, a bankroll and discipline, all of which promote good habits and improve success in the long term.
  • Con - Proportional betting can test a bettors patience. If you have a bankroll of say £1000, it takes patience to accept that your bets may only be £20-£30 a time and your bankroll will grow slowly.
  • Con - Return on capital (percentage of profit made in relation to your starting bank) will be very low and see small growth in the short term.

What is proportional betting?

The word proportional means corresponding in size or amount to something else. The proportional amount in this case is your betting stakes, whilst the amount it corresponds to is your betting bank. If you begin with a betting bank of 50 units and bet 10 units per bet, you may be betting in proportion, but you're betting in way that'll mean five straight losses will blow your betting bank.

Unproportionate betting would be randomly assigning units to a pick based on how you feel on the day. If you have £100 in your betting bank and chose to bet £10, £6 and £4 on your picks, you're risking 20 units of your bank in one day. The thing that makes that so risky is that two winning bets at short betting odds could still result in a loss if your £10 bet is the one that loses.

An example of good proportional betting would be understanding that your have £100 in your betting bank and deciding that you will place a flat stake of £1, £2 or £3 per bet. Another good method to support proportional betting is to use a set percentage from 1% to 5% of your betting bank. By doing this, stakes shrink as your bank shrinks and stakes increase as your bank increase. Everything remains proportionate.

Why employ proportional betting?

It's important to be considerate of your long term goals, your worst potential downside and protecting against that. You could assign a unit value to each pick based on its perceived quality, so some picks could be one of your 50 units whilst others could be three units.

The problem with an approach that is disproportionate is that one-unit picks could win and three-unit picks could lose. This would leave you at a growing disadvantage that would not be making the most of your winning picks or your capabilities as a bettor.

Any professional bettor will tell you that blowing your bankroll is a sheer disaster. Usually, a bankroll is an amount of money set aside to be separate from your day to day finances. Losing such a large bankroll can lead to dipping into personal funds, chasing losses and some pretty unwanted feelings and emotions.

An example of why proportional betting can be key...

The below example is another example of best case and worst case scenario, but it really highlights how different your profit and return on investment can be. Below is an identical betting portfolio over 15 selections. One of them employs proportional betting using a bankroll of 100 units with a set stake of one unit per bet, whilst the other is one where the bettor has staked randomly on the day and suffered the misfortune of losing some bigger stakes.

Proportional Betting with a bankroll

Bet NumberOutcomeOddsStakeProfit/LossOverall
#1Win1.851 Unit+0.85 Unit+0.85 Unit
#2Win2.201 Unit+1.2 Unit+2.05 Unit
#3Lose2.101 Unit-1 Unit+1.05 Unit
#4Lose2.001 Unit-1 Unit+0.05 Unit
#5Win2.021 Unit+1.02 Unit+1.07 Unit
#6Lose2.051 Unit-1 Unit+0.07 Unit
#7Win1.901 Unit+0.90 Unit+0.90 Unit
#8Win1.911 Unit+0.91 Unit+1.81 Unit
#9Lose1.911 Unit-1 Unit+0.81 Unit
#10Win2.051 Unit+1.05 Unit+1.86 Unit
#11Win2.651 Unit+1.65 Unit+3.51 Unit
#12Win2.101 Unit+1.10 Unit+4.61 Unit
#13Lose2.451 Unit-1 Unit+3.61 Unit
#14Lose1.951 Unit-1 Unit+2.61 Unit
#15Win1.951 Unit+0.95 Unit+3.56 Unit

End Summary

Record: 9 Wins, 6 Losses

Profit: +3.56 Units

ROI: 23.73%

Bankroll: 103.56 Units

Non-Proportional Betting with random stakes

Bet NumberOutcomeOddsStakeProfit/LossOverall

End Summary

Record: 9 Wins, 6 Losses

Profit: +£1.14

ROI: 7.60%

Bankroll: £101.14

Example Findings

Note that despite having the exact same record of nine wins and six losses, bettor number two had a return on investment of 7.60%. That's a full 16.13% worse off than bettor number one who had the same record of nine winners and six losing bets.

Whilst bettor number two had made as much as +£6.29 after bet number twelve, they were in a losing position just two bets later, and relied on winning +£2.85 on their final bet to return a profit of any kind and avoid being at a -£4.71 loss.

Unproportionate betting is also what causes many bettors to misunderstand and lose sight of the importance of return on investment. One thing this table doesn't show is what exactly was one unit for the first bettor? Well, let's say it was £5.00. That bettor has now profited £17.80 compared to bettor number two's £1.14 using random stakes. Yet they've both won the same nine bets and lost the same six bets, which is a pleasing 60% strike rate at average betting odds of 2.07.

Method number one is proportionate, consistent and controlled. It allows the bettor to see a true reflection of their capabilities through ROI% after each bet and also allows for adjustments before things get out of control. It's also a method that reflects true and steady growth and supports the bettor in their quest to be patient and disciplined.

When might you implement a Proportional Betting Strategy?

Regardless of the sport you are betting on, proportional betting will give you an advantage. To bet proportionally you must consider and utilise bankroll and staking methods, which in turn allow for more routined discipline when betting.

A casual bettor may worry less about how proportionate their bets are and will often bet the odd amounts in their account, or whatever they think they can just about afford from their bank balance. Proportional betting of some kind will be utilised by a professional tipster whether it's a set percentage, a set amount of units bet or some some kind of staking method that follows a similar pattern.

Proportional betting is absolutely key to anyone that wants to survive and make profit from betting. Regardless of which method of bankroll and staking you employ, proportional betting is all about betting what you and your bankroll can afford on a regular basis, and you always have to consider whether or not a losing run would damage your bankroll or your life to a severe extent. If the answer is yes, then you must re-assess what you deem to be a proportional bet.

Proportional betting with a sufficient bankroll and realistic staking system will ensure that your betting and personal finances are separate, and that you can withstand a losing run and bet through it.

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