# Does martingale model work for betting football matches?

Imagine I have 1 million USD and will be betting 1.000 USD on the win of FC Barcelona each time they play a match in La Liga (Spanish Tier 1 football league). If FC Barcelona loses or ties their last match, I lose my money and I will bet double next time (2.000 USD)... If they don't win again, I will bet double again (4.000 USD)... I will continue doubling my bets until Barcelona wins...

Barcelona would have to lose 10 matches in a row, so that I would run out of my finances (1 million USD)... Which is not going to happen.... I think Barcelona haven't lost 10 matches in a row in La Liga in the entire history of the competition...

If Barcelona wins the match and I win the bet, I will bet again 1.000 USD next time...

Is this system going to work for me in the long run? Will I have at least 50% more ( 1.500.000 USD) after 5 years?

Is it possible to calculate it using probability and statistics theory? It should be... Let's say I only need to a confidence interval of 95%... I am OK with that...

• In this situation, are you able to bet on an FCB win and get double your money back if you are correct? That is not usually the case, as you will have to bet more to win less win picking a favorite to win. – turkeyhundt Jan 26 '15 at 10:11
• It depends on who is playing Barcelona with... But in majority of cases I only get less than double back... On the other hand, there are matches when you can win more than double... Question is if Barcelona can win such a tough match... – JAN ORTS Jan 26 '15 at 10:36
• @JANORTS in majority of cases you will get far less than double back when you bet on Barcelona to win. I am also pretty sure there are basically no matches that give you 100% return for betting on a Barcelona win. – Theoretical Economist Dec 16 '16 at 8:57

## 2 Answers

This system will not work for you in the long run.

In the long run your expected value of using the martingale betting system is exactly zero, assuming that you have an exactly 50/50 chance of winning. If you are playing against a house that is taking some rake, your odds go down.

Let's say you have 1,024,000 US dollars. And you are planning to start with a bet of 1 thousand dollars. This means you have exactly 1024 bets = 2^10 bets.

If you follow the martingale system, your odds of losing your money would be exactly 1 in 1024. You don't gain any value by using the martingale system, however instead of a binomial distribution, where you would likely win a little or lose a little, that you would have if you placed your thousand dollar bet 1024 times, you end up with a probability distribution that makes it more likely you will either win a lot of money, or lose a lot of money

I've done a more extensive right up of the martingale system here http://www.fairlynerdy.com/gamblers-ruin/

The op would only have 1024 bets using level stakes of 1000

If following the martingale system your 1024000 bank could be gone with a run of around 9 lost bets!! As they say unlikely for Barca but how often will you find them at evens to win!!

1000 2000 4000 8000 16000 32000 64000 128000 256000 512000

Not to mention finding a bookie to take bets of that size wouldn't necessarily be easy!