VSiN’s Jeff Fogle given out some great advice on progressive sports betting strategies and why this is a sports betting tip that should be read by all who want to turn a profit with full awareness of the risk of doubling down on your wagers one after another.

If you’re like many gamblers (several million over a few centuries), you’ve pondered an ill-advised scheme that would allow you to “guarantee” a profit with some form of progression betting. 

A simple example would be to invest your base unit on a sports bet. If it wins, pocket that one unit of profit and start over. If it loses, bet more on the next bet to cover that first loss and show a profit. If THAT loses, bet even more on the one after that to cover the loss and show profit. You figure that, eventually, you HAVE to win. Just keep repeating the sequence to pile up one-unit profits until your treasure chest is overflowing. 

Sounds great in theory. If you have an infinite bankroll. But the world is much more complicated than that. Long losing streaks do happen. And it doesn’t take that long a streak to break most bankrolls. 

Here’s what a losing streak looks like. To keep it simple, I’ll leave out the standard 11/10 vigorish.

  • You lose 1 unit on your first bet, and have to risk 2 to get it back.
  • You lose that second bet, now you’re down 3 units, and have to risk 4 to grind out that one unit of profit you were aiming for.
  • You lose that third bet, and now you’re down 7 units, and have to risk 8 units just to get back to plus one.
  • You lose that fourth bet, and now you’re down 15 units. You must risk 16 units just to squeeze out that one unit of profit you were targeting. 

Do you have 32 units sitting under your mattress or hidden in a drawer somewhere for that fifth bet? What’s your average wager? Are you ready to lay 32 TIMES THAT if you suffer a five-game losing streak? How long in the progression before you don’t have access to the amount of money it would take to cover your losses?

Oh, that’s without the 11/10 vigorish. Factor that in, and your debt grows bigger, faster. 

You will occasionally hear novices suggest this approach for some “trend” or “angle” they’ve found that is supposedly immune to losing streaks. Nothing in sports betting is immune to losing streaks. There are no shortcuts. (Hopefully you’re not one of the bettors who used a shortcut this past Sunday night when the Los Angeles Rams were a “sure thing” to crush the Philadelphia Eagles. How many “brilliant” bets, parlays, money line parlays, and teasers did that shocker spike?)

Avoid the temptation to try a progression through the daily bowl schedule. You might be tempted because you don’t follow many of this week’s teams. You want to watch Ohio vs. San Diego State in tonight’s Frisco Bowl (ESPN, 8 p.m.). Why not give yourself something to root for? 

Because you don’t want to booby trap your bank account! That’s why. Heaven forbid the approach works for you the first dozen times you try it. That just emboldens you to bet bigger before a bad run drops a 31-unit loss on your head. 

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