Is there such a thing as a safe bet ?


  • Nicos Zafiris University of Westminster



Probability Swings, Net Expected Value, Certainty, Hedging, Over round, Football.


This paper is an attempt to set out a betting strategy appropriate to events with several possible final outcomes which are a) unambiguously defined and b) likely to show fluctuations in the respective probabilities as the event unfolds. It is then shown that, by placing bets of appropriate magnitude and at appropriate times, such as to take advantage of changing odds, it is possible to secure a certain profit, generally in advance of the outcome becoming known, and irrespective of which of the possible outcomes finally materialises. Furthermore, the bettor should enjoy the reassurance of an improving Net Expected Value (NEV), as the event progresses.The procedure, which may be viewed as a multiple hedging one, is suited to in running betting on individual match events, as well as on protracted seasonal events (such as a league championship in football or other sport). The principal requirement is that there be a reasonable expectation of a large amount of alternation in the relative prospects of at least two contenders. The procedure is outlined in general terms and illustrated with reference to real life football matches and league competitions from the 2015/6 season. It is seen to be profitable under the specified conditions. Apparent advantages in betting on draws and on favourites are discussed. 

Author Biography

Nicos Zafiris, University of Westminster

Dr Nicos Zafiris is an independent lecturer in finance, economics and business mathematics at Groupe INSEEC, London. He was Head of Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods at the University of Westminster. He also taught at Middlesex, London Metropolitan, East London, Glasgow Caledonian and Buckingham Universities. 


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