What is the Fibonacci betting system?

Progressive betting systems aren’t the most glamorous form of soccer betting, but some people claim they can make big profits. We investigated the Fibonacci betting system to see whether the returns were worth the risks.

The essence of the Fibonacci Strategy for soccer betting – published in 2007 by Fragiskos Archontakis and Evan Osborne – is simple: bet on a draw, and if you lose, bet on another one. Repeat this process until you win. There are only two additional – and vital – rules to follow:

Only bet on draws when the probability is above 2.618
Increase your betting stake in a way that follows the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 etc.

The idea is based upon a theory from 1989 that the draw is the most difficult for bookmakers to predict, and therefore can be exploited. The idea is that as long as you continually increase your stake, any win will overcome your previous losses.

The Fibonacci Strategy in practice

Looking at data from the 2011/12 Premier League, there were 93 draws in 380 games – therefore 24.5% of all games ended in a tie. Interestingly, the odds for a potential draw in all 380 ties were above the 2.618 threshold suggested as the lower limit by Archontakis and Osborne.

This means there should be – on average – a payout every four games. This means the winning stake would be the fourth Fibonacci number: 3, with a total bet each time £7 (the winning stake added to the failing three stakes before it: 1, 1, and 2). Considering the average odds for a draw over the season were 4.203, this means that the average winnings would be £12.61 (£3 stake multiplied by the odds), with a profit of £5.61 when the stakes have been subtracted.

Over 380 games, this equates to a theoretical profit of £1786.7 – all from an initial stake of just £1.

Fibonacci Strategy Drawbacks

There are numerous practical limitations that prevent the Fibonacci sequence from printing money. For a start, many games are played concurrently, meaning there’s no option to increase your stake to the next Fibonacci number if a draw doesn’t occur, as the games will finish at the same time. Instead, bettors might consider applying a Fibonacci betting sequence to individual teams.

However, this method means that long streaks without draws could cause huge holes in bettors’ bank balances. Looking at the longest Premier League streak without a draw (Manchester United in 2008/09), the Red Devils went 20 games without drawing, before finally succumbing to a 0-0 tie with Arsenal.

Because the Fibonacci sequence increases exponentially, bettors would have to have bet £10,946 on that final game to follow the sequence. Including that bet, anyone following the betting system would had to have staked £28,656 – a huge amount for a system that usually provides winnings of just £21.02. Interestingly, the odds for a draw on that game were 4.10 however, which would have provided winnings of £44,878.60, or a profit of £16.222.60. With Fibonacci, the increased stakes also provide impressive returns.


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