There are a lot of ways to bet sports.  Spread bets, moneyline, over/unders, parlays, futures, and on and on and on.  A lot of Bet Labs users ask me about implementing chase systems within the software and I always decline.  Chase systems, also known as a martingale system, are really simple in theory.  Bet on a game, and if you lose that game, double your bet for the next game.  Keep doing that until you win.

You can probably see the issue already.  If you go on a losing streak, you wind up betting a large amount of units just to recoup your original bet.  But you can go a long time of winning before you hit your winning streak.  That is the dangerous part about a Martingale system: you win often enough that you can convince yourself that it is a winning endeavor.

The large amount of “wins” makes this a favorite plan for marketing touts as well.  When you can promote a record of 25-1, that is appealing to an unsuspecting customer that isn’t aware of the exact details of how the system works.  For example, a tout named Vegas Dave uses this system and promotes a 5-1 record on his site (I’m not going to link to it).  What that doesn’t tell you is that “one” loss was actually a loss of over 30 units trying to chase down a win.  If you are risking 3% of your bankroll per play, over 90% of your bankroll has vanished in one series.

That’s how all Martingale systems work.  They look really good while they are undefeated, but eventually you are going to have a heavy loss if not a total loss.  Any time you see a record that hits 90% or more, you are likely either dealing with a Martingale system or just a complete liar. Either way, buyer beware.

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