August 27, 2021 4 min read


Swiss Researchers Figure Out How to Always Win Betting on Sports

There has never been a magic formula to produce more wins when betting on sports – until now. Apparently, there is a very simply trick that bettors can use to ensure they always seen a return on their investment. Undoubtedly, countless sports betting enthusiasts are going to attempt to use the formula, but proceed with caution. To win in sports betting, always bet on the loser.

The “Magic” Formula to Sports Betting

Sports betting is a nuanced activity. Even when everything seems to indicate one team is “guaranteed” to win, something can – and often does – go wrong. This is also why sports betting requires a certain amount of skill, to be able to see through the smoke and make the right calls. However, three researchers have reportedly been able to cut through all the calculations and statistics to deliver a simple, winning solution. If sports bettors want to win money, they only need to bet on the team with the worst record every time.

Sports Handle brings the story to the US from Switzerland, where Oliver Merz, Raphael Flepp, and Egon Franck have cracked the code. The trio, part of the University of Zurich’s Business Administration department, put their heads together to figure out how to develop a winning strategy with sports betting and, after extensive research, determined that always betting on the team with the worst record consistently produces a return on investment of 4.2%.

The results aren’t infallible, however, and bettors’ mileage may vary. The research reportedly explored the five biggest soccer leagues in Europe and bets placed through a betting exchange, so bettors shouldn’t run out and start to dump large sums of money into sports wagers.

Dissecting the Winning Sports Betting Model

Sports Handle explains that the researchers started by using sabermetrics, initially defined by sports analyst Bill James in 1980 as “the search for objective knowledge about baseball.” It might be a stretch to go from baseball to soccer, but the researchers started from there and looked at the expected vs. actual results of a number of soccer games. What they determined, after detailed analysis that included “binary probability models,” “lagged table difference” and other criteria, is that the “lucky” team is the one that produced more wins than the expected results had indicated. The “unlucky” team is the one that lost more games than the expected goals had indicated.

With that information in hand, the trio then broke down what was happening on betting exchanges. After determining that most people placed their wagers on those teams with better historical performances than those with better expected performances. They also found that the odds listed for the “lucky” teams were often “overstated,” while those for the “unlucky” teams were “understated.”

Worst Performances Equals Better Odds

That led to the realization that if bettors were to target the team with the worst record in a particular game, they would see a return every time. The researchers assert, “Our results stemming from the regression using good luck and bad luck show that the prices of bets on previously lucky teams are overstated,” the authors wrote. “Conversely, the prices of previously unlucky teams are understated. This finding is mirrored in consistently negative returns for bets on previously lucky teams and consistently positive returns for bets on previously unlucky teams. Thus, we form a simple betting strategy by betting on unlucky teams and betting against lucky teams.”

This doesn’t imply that bettors need to drop everything they’ve learned so far and focus only on this formula – if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. However, it adds some interesting data to the analysis that goes into making picks and will undoubtedly lead to new ways of exploring the world of sports betting.


Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.

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