Betting Calculator on the table

Kelly Criterion in Sports Betting – What is it, Is it Reliable?

Betting Calculator on the table

Kelly Criterion in Sports Betting - What is it, Is it Reliable?

If you are a sports betting fan looking for a way to gain maximum returns while minimizing risk, the Kelly Criterion betting system could be just what you need! This popular method of wagering, also known as the Kelly strategy, is known for its success. The Kelly Criterion system has been proven successful. Let's look at its history, and how it works compared to other methods of gambling and weigh up if this might be a suitable strategy for you.

What is Kelly Criterion?

The Kelly Criterion, a betting strategy applied by professional gamblers and stock market investors like Warren Buffet to evaluate the likelihood of winning and maximize their gains through an expected geometric growth rate, is referred to humorously as the “Kamikaze Criterion” or “Kervorkian”. The formula advises bettors not to exceed 5% of their bankroll for any wager. Yet by adopting conservative approaches such as half or quarter Kelly can Secure success in long-term profits. This criterion encourages punters with a cautious mindset when it comes to odds selection before making bets.


The Kelly Criterion, developed by John L. Kelly while employed at AT&T’s Bell Labs in 1956 for signal noise issues, quickly became a respected and sought-after staking plan among sports bettors due to its use as an optimizing strategy when it comes to wagering on various odds formats, particularly decimal ones. Likewise, stock market investors looking to build long-term profits have also taken notice of the unique formula. Famed investor Warren Buffet is one such admirer of this optimal betting system used widely within the betting community today.

How does It Work?

To maximize gains through the application of the Kelly Criterion in sports betting, bettors must first acquire an accurate estimation of the true odds for each particular event. One should possess a thorough knowledge of their chosen sport and all possible factors that may influence its outcome. By accurately appraising such outcomes rather than basing decisions off bookmakers’ stated odds one can make successful use of this strategic system.

Newcomers to this form of wagering are encouraged to start small by only staking 1-2% per bet while simultaneously honing their handicapping abilities over time which will eventually lead them towards increased optimization as well as reduced risk when it comes to their bet size allocation on future games.

The Kelly Criterion Formula Explained

The Kelly Criterion formula, also known as the Kelly Formula, is a mathematical tool designed to help bettors decide on the best wager size given their likelihood of success and the odds available. This method uses an equation that takes into account both expected return value and probability of winning or losing in order to compute what would be considered an optimal wagered amount which ensures good profitability while reducing risk at the same time.

The expression for this goes K = W – (1 -W)/R where ‘K’ stands for the percentage staked from the total bankroll; ‘W’ represents the potentiality of positive returns. Finally ‘R’ indicates the average victory over defeats ratio. To make it easier there are calculators built specially according to Kelley’s formula so anyone can determine bet sizing without too much effort whilst concentrating more on making well-informed decisions with better long-term benefits.

The Mathematics Behind the Formula

The Kelly Criterion is based on improving the expected gain of capital growth rate through logarithm. Essentially, it tries to discover a bet size that produces the most returns while keeping risks low. This formula considers probabilities and odds provided for each bettor’s bankroll in order to work out what would be an optimal amount wagered.

By using estimation from likelihoods combined with offered stakes, the Kelly Criterion ensures that wagers are making sensible decisions possible. Leading to steady profits accompanied by minimized potential losses. This style of betting can turn out beneficial for those seeking smaller gains repeatedly rather than risking their entire fund at once expecting substantial profits quickly.


Let's take a more detailed look at how the Kelly Criterion works in the context of sports betting. Suppose there's a football match between Team A and Team B. You've done your research and determined that Team A has a 60% chance of winning. The odds offered by the bookmaker are 2.5 to 1.

Using the Kelly Criterion formula, we can calculate the optimal bet size:

K = W – (1 – W) / R


  • K is the fraction of the bankroll to wager
  • W is the probability of winning
  • R is the net odds received on the wager (the odds is ‘to 1')

Substituting our values into the formula:

K = 0.60 – (1 – 0.60) / 2.5 K = 0.60 – 0.40 / 2.5 K = 0.60 – 0.16 K = 0.44

So, according to the Kelly Criterion, you should wager 44% of your bankroll on Team A winning the match. This is a simplified example and in real-life scenarios, you may want to be more conservative and wager a smaller percentage of your bankroll. However, it demonstrates the basic principle of the Kelly Criterion and how it can be applied to sports betting.

Applying Kelly Criterion to Various Sports

The Kelly Criterion can be used to assist sports bettors in finding the ideal wager size depending on their chances of winning and what odds are provided. Taking into account the distinct features of each sport along with betting markets offered, one can personalize a strategy based on these criteria in order to both increase earnings over time as well as decrease any risks involved.

Though it provides many rewards when placed onto sports gambling, those participating must always stay sharp by refining their handicapping techniques as well as being mindful of current developments within whichever game they’ve picked so that probability evaluations remain precise and better decisions may be made leading towards greater gains.

Bet Now!

fun88 logo
5,000 THB first deposit bonus
Kapook888 logo
200% bonus up to 20,000 THB
JBO Logo
100% bonus on the first deposit up to 4,000 THB

Football Betting with Kelly Criterion

For football betting, the Kelly Criterion can be applied to decide on an optimum bet size based on the chance of success and odds provided by bookmakers. By looking into past results, stats for teams and players as well as any other significant information available, gamblers are able to determine genuine odds with respect to a potential result in order to utilize the formula presented by Kelly Criterion in order to maximize their wager sizes accordingly.

The criterion is especially beneficial when using point spread bets or moneyline/over-under types of gambling which allow punters to access data that permits them to assess true probabilities associated with different outcomes and apply this knowledge via applying Kelly’s scheme meaning they get more out of it through increased earnings over time while significantly decreasing risk factors.

Basketball Betting with Kelly Criterion

Applying the Kelly Criterion to basketball betting can help bettors calculate an optimal wager based on the likelihood of a win and associated odds. To accurately compute true probabilities, gamblers must analyze existing performance data, statistics from teams and players involved as well as any other pertinent details in order to capitalize on this formula for determining their ideal stake size.

This same process applies across various markets like point spread betting, moneyline gambling or over/under bets by utilizing the benefits derived through consistent usage of the Kelly Criterion method, maximizing profits with successful management of bankrolls whilst doing so.

Horse Racing Betting with Kelly Criterion

Betting on horse racing can be made more profitable and less risky when the Kelly Criterion is utilized. This formula considers both the odds offered and the probability of winning to determine optimal bet size, Maximizing profits over a prolonged period. By doing research about jockey performance data, past race outcomes, and other factors related to betting strategies – such as win bets, place bets or exotic ones like exactas and trifectas – it’s possible to acquire true odds for each outcome which are used by this criterion model so that smart decisions regarding bet sizes can be taken with confidence. Applying the Kelly Criterion systematically provides high returns while maintaining risk at an optimum level in any kind of horseracing wager setting

Pros and Cons of Kelly Criterion


The Kelly Criterion offers an advantage in that it maximizes long-term profits while keeping risk to a minimum. By weighing up the chance of winning and its potential payout, bettors can make educated choices aimed at maximizing their returns over time. This strategy is more conservative than others like the Martingale System or Labouchere System, reducing one’s chances of taking significant losses.

This criterion has many uses. Not only does it apply to sports wagering but also investment activities on the stock market as well, thus making it valuable for those looking to get high rewards from multiple bets and investments.


The Kelly Criterion necessitates the accurate appraisal of probability and, as a result, bettors must have an astute grasp on the sport in question, its teams or players taking part, and all possible influences that could sway their outcome. If probabilities are miscalculated it can lead to improper wager sizes which may consequently reduce long-term profits thus diminishing this approach’s effectiveness for those who cannot accurately measure true odds.

Another issue with utilizing the Kelly Criterion is that larger bets will be made leaving large parts of your fund open to risk exposure. Leading some more risk-averse gamers not to be too keen on employing it. There is Mitigation available through partial strategies such as Half/Quarter Kelly Strategies whereby some danger can still be reduced while exploiting all advantages provided by this strategy.

Comparing Kelly Criterion to Other Betting Strategies

Bettors should examine the Kelly Criterion alongside other popular betting strategies, such as the Martingale System and Labouchere System in order to decide which one would be best for them. Each system has its own benefits and drawbacks that need to be evaluated carefully before they can commit to it.

The Kelly Criterion is known for its potential to achieve maximum profits while keeping risks at a minimum, but this could still not fit every bettor’s needs or preferences. Some may prefer an approach with more immediate rewards from less secure sources offered byMartingaleSystemwhile others might go after the goal-orientedLaboucheresystem instead. Ultimately it is up to each individual based on their risk tolerance and level of expertise when choosing which betting strategy will work for the best.

The Martingale System is a type of betting technique that involves increasing the bet size after each loss. This approach may allow short-term success and big profits, but it also comes with the chance of large losses which can quickly eat away at one’s bankroll. In contrast to the Kelly Criterion, this strategy does not take into account winning odds or potential winnings. Thus making it far less efficient in terms of achieving long-term gains whilst managing risks properly.

For those wanting quick wins who are happy taking on sizable risk then applying the Martingale system might be an attractive option for them – If one wishes to maximize their earnings while decreasing danger as much as possible then choosing instead the Kelly criterion will likely lead towards better results over time.

Labouchere System

Players must place bets using a preset pattern of numbers. It does not take into account the odds provided or the likelihood of winning, in contrast to the Kelly Criterion. As a result, its possibilities of long-term profit maximization are decreased while risk is efficiently managed. This strategy is more goal-oriented than other sports betting methods and concentrates more on accomplishing particular winning goals, which makes it appealing to certain gamblers. Although tempting, it's important to remember that using this technique won't offer the same amount of security or guarantee returns as using the Kelly Criterion approach, which offers more protection against dangers along with steadily rising earnings.

Kelly Criterion is a tool in sports betting that helps bettors manage the bankroll and make better decisions for long-term profit in the game.

Follow by Email
X (Twitter)