Designing Your Betting System Portfolio – Part 1

Last month I wrote an article introducing the betting portfolio concept and I wanted to develop this idea.

Like everything in successful betting you need to plan in advance if you want to have a nicely performing portfolio. This means deciding on the targets that you are aiming for in your systems and the quantity of systems that you are looking to use.

It is always better to have less high quality systems than more low quality and I would suggest setting yourself a target of just five systems initially.

Backing or Laying?

A combination of both is likely to be better. Backing systems can be less damaging to your bank and generally require a lower bankroll, but laying systems have a high strike rate which can even out the losing runs, making your profit more of a gradual incline. This is preferable psychologically as you don’t need to suffer such large losing streaks.

This leads me to suggest that four backing systems and one laying system would be the ideal target for your portfolio. But if your preference is for laying, then you may want to change this to three backing systems and two laying systems.

Quantity Of Bets

Over your five systems you want to have a decent quantity of selections. This is of course completely down to preference and there are many people who rather have very few bets (maybe one a week) but a larger ROI.

Personally I don’t like to work this way. The reason is because if over our four backing systems we have four selections per week with a ROI of 12%, for example, then we can assume that we are going to be averaging 208 selections over the year.

The first problem for me is that 208 selections is not really enough (depending on strike rate) to know whether one system is working properly let alone when it is spread out across four.  We know that you should have an absolute minimum of 20 winning bets before you start using a system. Say that our four systems all have a high strike rate (which is unlikely) of 30% then you are going to need around seventy bets per system before you start betting on it. This equates to nearly one and a half years of betting.

Twenty is the minimum winning bets and ideally you want to have at least 500 bets (not necessarily winning) before you start betting. I have seen successful systems fail within 3000 bets (but this seems to be the upper limit) suggesting that to be highly confident you should have over 3000 selections before betting. This would be 57 years of selections!

The purpose of this is not to scare you away but just to demonstrate that low quantity selections have their own problems with regards to confidence in the system. I am not suggesting for a moment that you don’t bet anything until after 3000 bets. That was just some extreme statistical information to give an example, the minimum of twenty is a good place to start.

Another problem with low quantity selections is that your stakes need to be significantly higher to make the same profit. Using one unit stakes, our example has a 12% ROI over 208 bets. This makes 24.96 units profit in one year.

A high quantity selection system with 3% ROI over 3650 bets (which is 10 bets per day or 2.5 bets per system per day) would make you a profit of 109.50 units in the year. As you can see the ROI is much lower but because we have a high turnover of bets the end profit is more than 400% larger.

These are two of the reasons why I personally prefer to play a larger quantity of bets if I can.

Next time I shall continue this article looking at what strike rate and ROI you should realistically be aiming for in your systems in order to balance out your first portfolio.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. Personally, I would not think that a theoretical 3% ROI was a big enough edge.

    And it is difficult enough to find 2 or 3 good systems that match your personality, available time and betting bank. I thing finding 5 systems and having one or two of them be laying systems is out of the question for most people.

    Still it is an interesting article, can’t wait for part 2.


    1. Hi Ian, thanks for the reply. You are right 3% is a little low for most people but wanted to get the idea across (although I have strats running at 2.5% that make a good profit). Five may be too much to start with, do you think it would be helpful to put together a basic step by step guide to building a system?

      Maybe I will reduce the portfolio to 3 systems in part 2 in order to make the goal more easily obtainable. I will make one a laying system though as I feel that it is a good way to help level out the volatility which can affect people adversely. There is also the argument that you can use a laying strategy that is break-even or even slightly losing as long as it is balanced properly with your backing strategies as purely a way to even out the peaks and troughs.

  2. An interesting idea, but to go to work and apply upto 5 betting systems is going to place a big demand on family time.
    My understanding of any betting system is that it requires a lot of time to do the research, apply the system, and adjust it as any changing circumstances dictate.


  3. That is why I think I shall reduce the systems required to 3. It can take some time to do the research but the application is pretty fast which is part of the reasoning for the system. Again you do need to monitor it but I shall also show you how you can do this without too much of a time constraint.

  4. Hi All

    hi Bob i`m with you that some system can be time consuming however that would only be
    in the begining as you get used to it,but if you had your own 1 or 3 system you would have put these together because you know they work,and how they work,if you have bought some systems in then the research should have already been don for you.

    but if you want to check it out before hand theres no need to let it make a big demand on family time as once you know what the system looks for you would quickly scan down
    the races for any qulifiers just put a tick by them, then once you`v had qulity time with
    the family just go on site and check the results so it should`nt be to demanding time wise. hope that was helpful

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