For as long as there have been wagers on future events, there have been people trying to get an edge by any means possible. The methods employed by gamblers range from the criminal to the analytical. One method used by gamblers is the betting system. Betting systems seek to turn the odds in favor of the player through any combination of careful manipulation of bet sizes, bet timing, setting specific conditions under which bets may be placed and placing certain combinations of wagers.
Betting systems have been devised for all forms of gambling. Casino gambling, sports betting and lotteries are all prime targets for systematic wagering. The goal is to reduce subjectivity and give players a concrete, easy-to-follow plan for placing wagers.
A healthy dose of skepticism is advised when looking into betting systems. The idea of a simple, paint-by-numbers approach plays to our base desire to make money the easy way. In that way, betting systems are like those “work from home” ads you see posted all over jobs sites. Both often promise to give you a method for making money that requires little thought or effort.
The old adage of “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” holds true in any discussion of betting systems. Rarely is it that simple. The subject is attractive to those who have their own method for easy money: selling pipe dreams to unsuspecting gamblers.
The viability of any betting system is largely dependent upon the rules of the game. Any system that targets traditional casino games or the lottery is probably bunk due to the simple fact that you cannot change the underlying payout odds from which the house advantage is derived. Sports betting systems can work if the system is capable of identifying mispriced lines.
In any case, it would serve you well to take a moment to consider the motives that would drive anyone to share a betting system with you. If the person is asking for money in return for some secret method, proceed with caution. Always remember there is no such thing as an easy, guaranteed dollar in gambling.
Casino Game Betting Systems
Online betting systems are sold under the guise of giving the player the ability to change the odds of the game and win money. Run a couple searches online and you’ll find all kinds of people promising to help you make money through “secret” and “never before seen” systems. All they ask in return is a one-time payment that you’ll surely make back with your fancy new betting system.
What these people always forget to tell you is that their new secret methods for beating the casino are just rehashes of the same old betting systems we’ve been hearing about for years. They also fail to mention that betting systems are all bunk. That’s right; there’s no such thing as a method that can change the odds of a casino game.
Betting systems look good on paper and manage to trick new people every day. The problem is that no matter how you arrange your bets, you do nothing to change the odds of the game. Once you understand how the odds work in a casino game, you’ll see that there’s no possible way to change the outcome.
Let’s use roulette as an example. A wager on red or black pays 1:1 if successful. If you wager $50 on black and the ball lands in a black slot, you win $50. This would be an even money wager (and there would be no house advantage) if it wasn’t for the green 0 slot which results in a loss no matter which color you bet on. Your odds of winning are therefore less than 50% and the house has a built-in advantage.
It doesn’t matter how you manipulate your wagers because there’s nothing you can do to change the payout rules or how often you win. You will always win this bet less than 50% of the time. The fundamental flaw in all betting systems is that they do nothing to change the underlying math behind any casino game.
Most systems also prey on our natural inclination to fall for the gambler’s fallacy. In a nutshell, gambler’s fallacy is the belief that a random event becomes “due” after a certain period of time. An example of gambler’s fallacy would be to see the roulette ball land on red 5 spins in a row and believe it’s due to hit black any time now. In reality, the ball has the same chances to land in a red, black or green slot no matter what has happened in the past. The roulette ball has no memory and each spin of the wheel is a separate, random event.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common online betting systems. These are all old systems and none of them work in practice. Any “secret method” you see on the internet is likely a rehash of one of the following systems.
Sports Betting Systems
Sports betting systems are designed to use known information to make accurate predictions and/or identify mispriced lines. Instead of starting your research from scratch every time, you look for situations that meet very specific criteria. To use a simplified example, a basic sports betting system might tell you to always bet on underdogs playing at home.
The ultimate goal of sports betting systems is to identify exactly which stats or data are reliable indicators of future outcomes. Considering the almost limitless factors that can influence the outcome of a sporting event, it’s no surprise that some sports betting systems can become extremely complex. The story of Billy Walters and the Computer Group shows just how in-depth some sports betting systems can be.
Sports betting systems come in all shapes and styles. You’ll find systems that obsess over specific stats and others that take an all-around approach. Some systems are simple; others are very complex. Some place an emphasis on line moves while others rely on historic statistics.
Some systems are sold outright while others are used to sell picks. In the latter case, you receive the picks but the details behind the system are never revealed. A lack of transparency indicates the system is legit… or that it’s garbage. As you can see, there aren’t many absolutes here. Sports betting systems need to be analyzed on a case by case basis to determine if they’re worthwhile.
A myriad of systems have been devised over the years for various lotteries. Lotto systems do nothing to change the odds of winning but most people realize this and implement systems anyways for the entertainment factor.
Be wary of anyone selling a system that guarantees more frequent wins or better chances of winning. At best, these people aren’t giving you the whole story. At worst, they are lying. Sure, you can double your chances of winning by buying two tickets, but that doesn’t change your ROI. I’ve seen many people make claims that you can increase your odds of winning when in reality all they’re doing is giving you some convoluted system that results in buying lots of tickets. This is hardly a “winning” system.
As long as you’re aware that systems cannot change the odds or predict the future, feel free to have fun with them. Just please don’t ever pay anything for access to a system. It is a waste of money 100% of the time to pay for some top secret lotto system.
Mike Murphy is the founder of OnlineBettingSites.com and has over 10 years of experience in the legal online betting industry. A regular attendee of industry trade shows and conferences, Mike is a strong proponent of regulated markets and responsible gambling policies.