Stacks of gold coins

Staking Plans – Protect your Betting Bank and Maximise Profits

If you have been following our Betting School series, covering a range of topics on sports betting, you’re on the way to being a sharp bettor!

However, having a value edge on the markets isn’t a guarantee of success.

To maximise your chances of being profitable and, most importantly, not losing your bankroll, you have to make sure you are staking sensibly.

Every time you turn on the TV or go online, you’ll probably be bombarded with new bookmaker offers with the lure of free bets.

Most bookies are happy to give these offers away because they know the vast majority of punters will either:

  • Lose their free bets altogether
  • Gamble the winnings of their free bets and ultimately lose them over time, making them more likely to deposit more to cover those losses

Ultimately, most punters do not know how to stake properly to minimise their losses and maximise their chances of a long-term profit.

Let’s think of a hypothetical example. You find out your long-lost uncle left you £1,000 in his will but said it could only be used for gambling on sports (go with me here…).

Now with this initial £1,000, how would you go about betting it?

A) Lump it all on the short priced favourite on the first race of the day.

B) Bet half of it on an evens shot (2.00 odds), with the thought in mind that if that loses, I’ve got another chance to make that money back.

C) Divide that £1,000 into chunks and only bet one small chunk on any one bet.

If you chose option A, then there are helpline numbers for you that you should contact before betting any more of your money!

Option B sounds sensible on the surface, but you could still, in theory, bet on 4 or 5 evens shots and lose them all.

Of course you’d have to be pretty unlucky, but try flipping a coin and seeing how many times you get consecutive heads or tails, and it gives you some idea of variance in betting (another topic in our series).

Option C is what anyone serious about their betting would do. The number of chunks will vary depending on the kinds of odds you are targeting and how big your edge is.

For example, let’s say you are betting football games at roughly odds of evens and you think you have an edge of 5–10%. You should be able to bet with 20 points in your bankroll and comfortably absorb any bad losing runs.

So, what does this mean?

You would divide your bank, in this case £1,000, by 20. This would mean that a single point of your bank would be £50.00. 

So depending on how confident you are in the bet, you might bet several points or just 1.

If you wanted to bet on a long-shot selection, you might adjust even smaller point values. But it is all relative to how much you have in your bankroll.

As your bankroll grows, you can either keep the stakes you’re comfortable with or increase them in line with your point values. 

For example, this weekend, you might decide to:

Bet Arsenal at 2.00 for 1 point (£50.00)
Bet Saka to be First Goalscorer for 0.2 points (£10.00)

You might be very confident in Man City's ability to win, but it’s still sensible to manage your bankroll risk in case that bet does lose.

Bet Man City to win at 1.60 for 3 points (£150.00)

It’s far from the glamorous ‘get rich quick’ type of marketing you see from many betting services, but this is the reality for many professional gamblers, who will see slow but steady growth of their bankrolls that will add up over time. 

There are also different methods of staking you can use, which all have advantages and disadvantages.

Examples of staking systems

1) Flat staking

This is where you would bet the same amount, regardless of the odds you are taking.

If you generally bet at odds that are within a short range of each other, then it can work very well. However, if you are staking the same amount on selections at odds of 10/1 as you are on evens shots, then you might face some large drawdowns in your bank before you notice any profits coming through.

Flat staking, though, is a useful way to back test some of your strategies and record data.

2) Kelly Criterion

This method of staking aims to calculate how much you should bet based on the edge you have and your available bankroll.

In theory, this is a highly effective way to maximise your gains.

However, full Kelly staking can be very risky, and many will reduce their Kelly stakes to ¼ or less of what is advised in the formula.

It can also be complicated to calculate and add additional time to your betting admin, which can also put some people off.

3) Stake to win

This is the method that I favour, with similar guiding principles to the Kelly method but more simplified, so you would bet varying amounts to ensure the return is the same each time.

For example, you could bet however much to win £100.00.

Bet on - Arsenal to win at 2.00 for 1 point (£100.00) to win £100.00
Bet on - Havertz First Goalscorer at 11.00 for 0.1 points (£10.00) to win £100.00

This can take some added time if you are working it out manually, and bookies might pick up on your non-rounded stake sizes; however, it’s still a useful guide and an effective way to manage your risk.

3) Martingale staking

Originating on the roulette tables, this classic staking strategy tries to ensure you always come out on top by doubling your stake each time you lose to cover your loss and come out in profit.

It sounds appealing on the surface, but you could very quickly run into a lot of trouble with a few losses. You would need a large bankroll to cover the event of a few losses in a row, and you may face maximum staking restrictions on some markets where you simply cannot bet the amount needed to recover the last loss.

It’s also a strategy that’s only really simple to follow on 50/50 evens selections (hence its origins in roulette), as the risk and potential liabilities are much higher on either shorter or longer odds selections.


Without a proper staking plan in place, you put yourself at a disadvantage when trying to make a profit from sports betting.

I’ve mentioned some of the most popular examples in the article; however, there are many more variations on these that can be found online.

  • Each staking plan has its own different advantages and disadvantages, and depending on which odds, which markets, and how big your edge is will determine which staking plan will work best.
  • Even with the best staking plan in the world, with no edge on the market, you won’t be profitable long-term.
  • Err on the side of caution when setting up your betting banks. Have more points than you would realistically need. It would surprise you how many 50/50 shots can theoretically be lost in a row and how often that can happen. When your cold streak ends, you will have enough in reserve to claw back those losses and then some.
  • Staking plans only work when you are disciplined with the stakes and keep them consistent.
  • Consider keeping the same stakes for each point value until you double your starting bank and are more comfortable using those higher stakes.

Hopefully this article has given you some insight into popular staking plans and how to manage your betting bankroll going forward.

Protecting the bank should always be your main concern!

Author: Neel Shah

Neel Shah

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