Betting Tips and Kelly Criterion

Making money in soccer betting is possible only when your predictions are significantly different from those of the bookmakers. This is what is known as “value betting”. The profitability of fixture is a product of bookmaker odds and the probability of a win. A fixture will be counted as “value bet”, when the product is higher than 1. For example, if you think the probability of a win is 50%, then only odds higher than 2 are considered a value bet.

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The value bet calculation can be easily integrated into the well-known and proven Kelly’s strategy for money management. According to this strategy, a stake is calculated in a proportion to the starting wealth and the size of the expected profit. For example, if the probability of a win is 60% and the betting odds are equal to 2, then the betting stake which equals to 40%=60%-(1-60%)/2 of your wealth has to be placed Given the betting tips, what would be the optimal value bet providing a maximum profit when using Kelly’s strategy?

This article summarizes a research intended to estimate an optimal value bet based on data from 10 top European Soccer Leagues that played during the 2008/2009 season: Austrian Bundesliga, English Premier, Dutch Eredivisie, French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga 1, Greek Ethniki Katigoria, Italian Serie A, Scottish Premier, Spanish Primera Division and Turkish Super Lig.

The assumption is that bookmakers provide the minimal betting odds for match favorites. Thus, these odds can be used to estimate the value bet for each match. The frequency of home wins, draws and away wins defines the probability of a win, and the value bet of a game is estimated by multiplying minimal average betting odds by the estimated probability of a win.


An optimal value bet is calculated in a way that maximizes the betting profits when using Kelly’s money management strategy. The average betting profit is calculated for the different value bets from 1.01 up to 2. The optimal value bet for the above top European Leagues was found to be 1.38. Thus, if your value bet is above 1.38, this is your opportunity to place a stake according to Kelly’s strategy.

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