Would you like to learn how to manage money in sports betting? Learn all about the Kelly Criterion, one of the most popular in the industry.

Have you heard of the Kelly Criterion in sports betting? This is a widely used strategy that will help you manage your bankroll at MARCA Apuestas. In fact, many bettors think that this method is the best way to make a profit when gambling. Know what it consists of and all the advantages it has.

What is Kelly in betting?

The Kelly criterion in sports betting is a mathematical formula which is used to calculate the ideal percentage of your bankroll that you should invest in a bet.

This is a relatively simple calculation devised in the mid-1950s by the scientist and mathematician John Larry Kelly who considers that the bet you make must be equal to the percentage that you have to win, subtracting from that the chances of losing.

The Kelly Criterion will help you maximize your chances of winning and minimize your chances of losing a bet.

How does the Kelly Criterion work in betting?

As we said, the Kelly Criterion allows you to calculate the exact ideal amount that you should bet on a specific match.

If, by applying the formula, a result of zero or negative is obtained, it would not be advisable to bet in that match.

In addition, applying this sports betting control system allows you to optimize your account balance, because you will always bet a percentage of it and never the total.

Although it seems simple, you have to calculate the probabilities that your bet has of being successfultaking into account that the higher the probability of winning, the higher your bet and your chances of maximizing the return will also be.

In the event that we add quotas, the mathematical formula that we would use would be the following:

(probability of winning X odds – 1) / (odds – 1) = ideal amount to bet

Steps to put it into practice

The Kelly Criterion was not devised as a money management technique, but when the gaming community discovered it, they realized its enormous potential to maximize long-term bankroll in betting. And also in the investment world it is a very accepted formula, which is why the Kelly Criterion in trading is also widely used.

How is it applied in the betting sector? Is there a need to apply the Kelly Criterion to an Excel? Let’s see what steps are necessary to put it into practice:

  1. Apply the formula to obtain the stake to bet.

Stake (and % the bankroll) = [[Cuota x (Probabilidad estimada/100) -1] / (Cutate -1)]x 100

  1. Once you have obtained the ideal percentage, assess whether you want to bet that percentage of your bank as a maximum.
  1. Limit yourself to betting the amount indicated by this system if you want to obtain long-term benefits and, of course, take into account the forecasts because, if you do not see yourself with the ability to hit, it could be counterproductive to place your bet.

we can see it with a numerical example to understand it better. if we have one odds of 2.10 in favor and the probability of winning is 50%following the Kelly criterion, our calculation would be the following:

[[2.10 x (50/100) -1] / (2.10 -1)]x 100 = 4.54

Therefore, this system would advise us to bet 4.54% of our bankroll.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Kelly Strategy

The Kelly Criterion can have many advantages for the bettor, but also some drawbacks. Consider all your options before making your gaming decisions:


  • It allows you to find the balance between risk and security.
  • You will more easily understand when an offer has no value, in order to avoid unnecessary losses.
  • By increasing the size of your bet in proportion to the expected value, you can maximize your options. In other words, you will increase your chances of success because the higher the result of the bet, the more likely you will be to win.
  • It’s an easy system to use once you’ve done the calculation a few times.
  • You can find free Kelly Criterion calculators online if you need help.
  • You will avoid bankruptcy because 100% of your bankroll is never bet.
  • It prevents you from placing bets with a lot of risk because, the closer the percentage is to zero, you know that the more likely you are to lose that bet.


  • It is necessary to know the exact percentage of success because you will not get a valuable result if you rely on matches or good odds. If the calculations are not accurate, the formula will give wrong recommendations.
  • It is not a reliable method to use for betting on several matches at the same time.
  • If not used conservatively, it can lead to high losses for the player.

Cases in which to use the Kelly method

If you know how to use it accurately, the Kelly Criterion can offer very good recommendations for placing your bets.. But, if you have a hard time calculating your actual odds, it won’t do you much good. Therefore, it is important to use it with caution, especially if you have little experience in betting.

Once you become familiar with the formula, the calculation will come naturally to you. But it can be very complex for beginners.

When you master it, it can be very useful in your sports bets in MARCA Apuestas, but also for other games of chance such as roulette or blackjack.

Ismael Oliveira

Editor at MARCA Bets. In love with soccer since I can remember. I like to write about sports in general and soccer in particular and although I let myself be carried away by passion, when I write I am always guided by the data. If you want to be up-to-date with the best bets, do not lose detail.

Source: noticias.marcaapuestas.es

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