Flat betting can be an effective way to stake your sports bets, but wrapping your head around this more advanced strategy can be challenging at first.
If you’re past the basics of betting, you’re probably wondering what tricks and strategies allow professional bettors to win money in the long run. One of the main things that sets the sharps apart from casual bettors is having a strict plan in place for what to bet, how to bet, and how often to bet.
One of these plans – or systems, if you will – is the Miller Strategy, which relies on something called flat betting. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of sticking to this flat betting system.
What Is Flat Betting?
The term flat betting refers to your staking structure, or how much you’re betting per game. Some people go into sports betting with no plan. They might bet $25 on one game and $750 on another. Or someone might bet $50 on their first bet and if they lose it, double up to get their money back. These are not disciplined plans, and we wouldn’t advise taking such a willy-nilly approach.
Flat betting is a strategy where you’re betting the same amount on every game. For example, if you have a $500 bankroll and you decide to bet 5% of it on each bet, you’d be wagering exactly $25 on each game. This allows you to stay structured and consistent. The more organized you are, the more likely you are to win money in the long run betting on sports.
What Is Miller’s Strategy?
Miller’s strategy was coined by John R. Miller, author of the book Professional Gambler and a famous American bettor. The system has two parts.
First off, Miller’s System requires focus your betting efforts on events with odds from 1.85 (-118) to 1.91 (-110), or as close to 50/50 odds as possible.
The second part requires you to adopt a strict staking strategy. You bet 1% of your total bankroll until its overall value has increased by 25%.
For example: if you started out with $1,000, you’d begin betting $10 per game. If your bankroll hits $1,250 (a 25% gain), then your bet size would grow to $12.50 per game.
To win money in the long run with this betting strategy and beat odds of -118 to -110, 53% of your bets must be graded winners. That should be doable for many bettors who have a good grasp of the sport they’re betting (know the injuries, news, matchups, etc.) and are disciplined to stick to this system.
Flat Bet System Advantages
If you’re strictly sticking to the prescribed approach – betting lines from -110 to -118 and using 1% of your bankroll for each bet – then you will make money in the long run assuming you can hit at least 53% of your bets.
While 53% might seem like a high hurdle to clear at first glance, consider that you’re basically starting with a 50/50 chance on the bet to begin with. If you know the sport inside out, know how each teams might match up, consider home-field advantage, weather, and many other factors, you should be able to get up to about 53%.
Nowadays, many sportsbooks will allow you to play spread sports at a cheaper price than -110. It’s not unheard of to find NFL lines available at -105 or -108. If you stick with the system and the same flat betting strategy, then you actually need to win a little less than 53% of the time to be successful with this system in the long run.
Flat Bet System Drawbacks
Rigidity is the main drawback to a flat betting system. To start, it’s tough to stick to lines that are between -118 and -110. What happens if you like a team that’s favored by -150 or -200? Or what if there’s a juicy underdog on the board that might pay +110 or +140? The flat betting strategy insists that you stay away from such wagers.
Sure, you have the flexibility to bet on almost any NBA, NFL, college basketball or college football betting line as all of the point spreads are in the realm of -110. However, this cuts you off from almost all baseball, hockey, golf and tennis lines. The only way to handicap those sports would be to first see which lines fit your criteria and then decide whether or not you see an edge to either side.
The flat betting system also forces you to be extremely disciplined. On the surface, that’s a good thing but most bettors have a tough time sticking to such a strict regiment and for many others, who are just in it for entertainment purposes, that takes a lot of the fun out of it.
Spruce Up Your Sports Betting Strategy
Miller’s System and flat betting are only one of many tested methods for successfully betting on sports. If you’re looking for additional options, explore the rest of the content in our strategy section to get started.
Of course, in the end there is no substitute for detailed research and careful bankroll management. Do your homework, bet responsibly, and enjoy the action out there!