The Church of Betting

Profitable Sports Betting: The Ways of the Samurai

Profitable Sports Betting: The Ways of the Samurai

I would like to continue with introducing you to the different approaches to profitable sports betting and their basics. In these blog I will cover them all in much more detail. My goal in this article is just to give you a brief summary of the possible ways to go. Here are the possible profitable Betting Strategies:

  1. Bonus Bagging,
  2. Arbitrage Betting,
  3. Technical Value Betting,
  4. Sports Trading,
  5. Automated Strategies and
  6. Fundamental Value Betting
Betting Strategies

Your Paths to Successful Betting

Next I will go through the six betting strategies outlined above. The order above is not arbitrary but actually ranks the strategy by their comlexity, starting from the simplest one and ending up with the hardest one. It is up to you to determine where you stand in terms of betting experience, betting bank (the capital you have available for betting) and other resources (time, focus, dedication).

Let us start with:

1. Bonus Bagging

Bonus Bagging is the simplest and easiest betting strategy to follow. It works perfectly if you have zero betting experience but would like to try makig some money from sports betting.

As the name states, Bonus Bagging aims at making the best use of bonuses and promotions, which bookmakers offer to attract new customers and retain old ones. The bonuses are diverse and with time you will learn how to use each of them effectievly. You have deposit bonuses, free bets, free spins (in the casino), Best Odds Guarentee and many more. There are always Terms & Conditions attached though, so make sure to read the fine print.

Tools that can support you in the process: OddsMonkey, Profit Maximizer.

2. Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage Betting (a.k.a. Sure Betting, Matched Betting, Dutching) is another low-risk, easy to learn strategy. It also is the one that got me started with Profitable Sports Betting and receives extensive coverage at this website. From introduction to Arbitrage Betting, through some practical advices to get you stared, through the risks invovled, to tips and tricks to stay off the bookies’ radar, you will find it all here. Or better yet, you can get it all summarized in my free Arbitrage Betting Guide.

The difference between Arbitrage Betting and Bonus Bagging is that, first, you need some capital to get started with Arbitrage Betting. A good way to build up this starting capital if you don’t have enough is by Bonus Bagging. Second, since you are investing capital, there are still some risks involved (see my article on the topic), although the strategy is rather a low-risk one. That means you need to educate yourself about the risks and learn how to minimize them. And finally, the strategy has higher profit potential, since you can milk quite a bit more from your accounts with Abitrage Betting than with Bonus Bagging.

So if you have perfected Bonus Bagging and are looking for the next challenge, Arbitrage Betting is certainly the best option.

3. Technical Value Betting Strategy

Now, you have mastered Bonus Bagging and Arbitrage Betting, made some profits and perhaps even had some accounts closed for this reason. You start to realize your accounts are a finite resource and you need to make the most out of them before they get closed (also limited, gubbed, restricted).

By now you know that Arbitrage Betting usually involves two legs in two types of bookmakers – the Soft Book and the Sharp Book/Exchange. Looking at your records, you see that long-term you win money at the soft books and lose at the sharp books and exchanges. The Value (Positive Expected Value or EV+) is always on the soft book’s bet. An idea strikes you – why don’t you optimize your returns by simply skipping the bet at the sharp book/exchange? Long term your profits should increase, after all you lose some money by heding your bet.

And that’s true

That is basically true and this betting strategy is called Technical Value Betting. Techical Value Betting consists of betting the soft leg of an arbitrage pair, only unlike Arbitrage Betting, here you don’t make the second bet to hedge the exposure. The result – a bit higher returns (what we also call ROI or ‘Return on Investment’) but also HUGE increase in volatility.

You see, Arbitrage is considered a very low-risk betting strategy and even though at times things can go not quite according to the plan, by and large your profit graph is a straight upward line. In Technical Value Betting you have drawdowns (unlucky runs) that can cost you a good portion of your bank, even though you are placing good bets. This is something you need to understand and get used to before starting with Technical Value Betting. However, once you are ready, you will be able to significantly improve your Arbing ROI by this betting strategy. And then comes:

4. Sports Trading

A fascinating area in itself, but also one I sadly have to admit I don’t have much authority to speak about. My betting career has simply gone down a different path. Nevertheless Sports Trading can be a profitable venture for anyone serious enough to make it work. Hier your field of play are the betting exchanges – think Betfair, Betdaq and the like.

Sports Trading is all about understanding the trends of the market, the psychology of the market participants and using those factors to design your own trading strategy. You go in and out, open positions only for a few minutes time in order to profit from the direction the market is going. You can also be the market maker and offer liquidity to regular punters in exchange for the bid/ask spread which you are cashing. However, beware of the Betfair’s Premium Charge! Once you reach a certain level of profitability Betfair is going to charge you a huge chung of your profits, on top of the commission you have already paid. This is one of the reasons why I never wanted to pursue Sports Trading in more depth.

5. Automated Betting Strategies

In fact, whether you have become profficient in Sports Trading, pursue Techical Value Betting or follow tipsters, you can make an automated betting strategy to do the betting for you while you sit back and relax!

Of course it is not so simple. In fact, this is one of the hardest domains of profitable sports betting to get good at. There are quite a few tools that can help you automate your Betfair betting strategy in exchange for a software fee. However, the fact that it is automated, does not mean it is profitable! The really hard part is to find a betting strategy that can both be automated AND has an edge over the market. Most automated betting strategies will just eat through your bank the same way like a bad tipster – charging you fees on top of placing negative EV bets for you.


Once you have discovered (or created) an automated strategy of EV+ bets, you can really milk the strategy for what its worth. A quick introduction into how you can do that can be found in my article on Betting Automation.

And of course, if you are good in proramming but don’t have so much interst in betting, you can always go on the other side and program bots for sports bettors for a fee! It is certainly a good niche market and one of the few ways to make money from Sports Betting without actially placing a single bet!

6. Fundamental Value Betting Strategy

Finally, you have the Holly Grail of sports betting, the Fundamental Value Betting. Here are your EV+ strategies that can be executed on sharp books and exchages where the winners are not being chased away. Needless to say, securing a supply of EV+ bets that beat the whole market is a hard, one would say a nearly impossible task. There are basically two ways to go:

Option 1: Tipsters

You secure good bets by buying them from a tipster (known in America as a tout). But why would a tipster sell a good bet to you when he can just place it himself? Although there might be some good reasons for that, the fact remains that most tipsters are scammers, most of the rest believe they have an edge but they don’t. And finally a small majority actually make good picks, but even there it is hard to secure an edge, since the few good tipsters are quickly and easily gathering huge crowds of followers, some betting with big bankrolls, so the chances you get the same odds as the one the tipster advised are tiny. Summary: findin a good tipster and a way to place his bets is way, way harder than it sounds.

Option 2: Developing a model

And than you have the option of developing a fundamental model yourself. Those are also called Handicapping Models or Rating Models. To make a good one you need solid understanding of the sport at hand, statistics and programing. You are smart, dedicated and ready to through a ton of effort into the task of securing a tiny edge over the market with your model. If that is you, congratulations, you might just be eligable to become a Sharp – a punter who is not only able to spot market inefficiencies, but is actually smarter than the market itself.


So there you have them – the six betting strategies in order of complexity, which you need to master in order to become the world champion of profitable sports betting. The road from zero to hero is hard and certainly not for everyone – but you may take a shot if you will! Maybe you have what it takes to reach the top. But even if you don’t, you will still learn a thing or two along the way.

Please keep in mind that these betting strategies can and often do intersect. For one, I have written an article of the benefits of mixing Arbitrage and Technical Value Betting. I recommend not trying to be a purist but learning from and applying the different betting strategies as you go.

This is my take on the main categories of betting strategies. Sure, it can be debated, but for the aspiring bettor I think it gives a good overview for the options to consider depending on the time and money available and of course the motivation and the willingness to learn.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment.

Cheers and see you soon.

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The Church of Betting