Everybody betting on sports has probably experienced it at least once: a wrong betting tip or a stupid hit ruins the whole bet – the complete wager is lost. Lots of betting fans therefore avoid this bet type after a negative experience. This is why bookmakers have conjured up something special and have started system bets. The big advantage of this alternative is, that not all betting tips have to be correct to make a profit. If a tip is a flop, it is not too bad with this bet type. Why this is the case, how system bets work and which tips you should definitely consider, you can find out here in our betting school.

Reading time: 5 min
Topics covered in this article:
  1. How do system bets work?
  2. How do you calculate the profit with system bets?
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of system bets?

How do system bets work?

The system bet is a further development of the combined bet. With this bet type you bet not only one, but a whole range of combined bets with one placement. That´s why the individual combined bets are called betting series on the betting ticket. How do these betting series come about? The principle of the system bet works very similar to the well-known lottery system – with the exception that you can choose your own basic conditions here! Before placing a system bet you need to bear in mind the following: how many events do you want to tip on? How many tips have to be correct so that you make a profit? Depending on your answers to these questions, the result is lots of different betting systems, as you can see in the chart: “2 out of 3” (also 2/3), “2 out of 4”, “3 out of 5” or about “4 out of 6”. Regardless which bet type you choose, all possible combinations are made out of the individual tips and listed as betting series on your betting ticket. To place a system bet you need to bet on at least three or more sporting events. The upper limit of most bookmakers is eight or nine tips. For an easier understanding we'd like to explain the most simple version of the system bet, the “2 out of 3” system bet. At first you need to choose three different sporting events you'd like to place your bet on. For example you choose three soccer games of the Champions League:

  • Tip A Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur | Tip 1 | Odd 1.40
  • Tip B Manchester United vs. SSC Neapel | Tip 1 | Odd 1.60
  • Tip C Bayern München vs. AS Roma | Tipp 1 | Odd 1.70

Example für a system bet "2 out of 3"

Out of these three betting tips the system forms all possible 2-combined bets - on the betting ticket three betting series appear in total:

  • Combination 1 AB Tip A (victory Real Madrid) x Tip B (victory Manchester United)
  • Combination 2 AC Tip A (victory Real Madrid) x Tip C (victory Bayern München)
  • Combination 3 BC Tip B (victory Manchester United) x Tip C (victory Bayern München)

In order to make a profit, one of the three combined bets must be won – that is, two out of three betting tips must be correct. All the other betting systems work according to this pattern, like for example the “3 out of 5system bet. All in all ALL possible 3-combinations are formed out of the five sporting events: ABC, ABD, ABE, ACD, ACE, ADE, BCD, BCE, BDE as well as CDE. Consequently there are ten combinations, out of which three tips have to be correct so that you can gain a profit. Moreover you have to take into consideration the following: for each single betting series you have to place a betting of the same amount. If you want to bet 10 Pounds per betting series, within the system “3 out of 5” a total bet of a hundred pounds is due. So be careful – with this bet type big bets can arise quickly. A more detailed key of the profit:

How do you calculate the profit with system bets?

The calculation of the profit works the same way as with combined bets: the amount that is placed for the respective betting series is combined with the total odd. The maximum gain results out of the sum of the profit of the individual betting series. This can quickly develop into a confusing and complex plan. Our tip: before placing a system bet it's worth working with a “system bet calculator” to find out the possible winning amount as well as to estimate your chances of winning. Especially the questions: “What´s my maximum gain?” or “ How high will my profit or rather my loss be if there are one, two or even three wrong betting tips, depending on the chosen bet type?” are of interest. A general rule applies: the first number of the betting system shows how many events must be tipped correctly in order to make a profit. The profit must not be equalized with net profit in this case, though! That means that you can possibly gain a profit, but all in all you may be left with a minus. To get a better impression we'd like to show you the calculation of profit for the “3 out of 4 system bet” and the “2 out of 4 system bet” and explain, how the respective systems work. Both betting systems are considered to be promising with betting fans. Hypothetically you want to bet on these soccer matches:

  • Tip A Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Tip 1 | Odd 1.40
  • Tip B Manchester United vs. SSC Neapel: Tip 1 | Odd 1.60
  • Tip C Bayern München vs. AS Roma: Tip 1 | Odd 1.70
  • Tip D Feyenoord Rotterdam vs. FC Shaktar Donetsk: Tip 2 | Odd 2.10

Example for system bet "3 out of 4"

With the system “3 out of 4” (3 / 4) all four possible 3-combined bets are created automatically. The maximum gain with a bet of ten pounds per betting series, 40 pound in total, can be calculated as such:

  • ABC bet 10 pound x 1.40 x 1.60 x 1.70 = 38.08 pound
  • ABD bet 10 pound x 1.40 x 1.60 x 2.10 = 47.04 pound
  • ACD Wetteinsatz 10 Euro x 1,40 x 1,70 x 2,10 = 49,98 Euro
  • BCD Wetteinsatz 10 Euro x 1,60 x 1,70 x 2,10 = 57,12 Euro
  • Total bet 40 pounds
  • Gain 192,22 Euro I net gain 152,22 Euro

The gain is 192,22 pounds ( = net gain of 152,22 pounds). So you would get a net gain of 152,22 pounds. The fact that each betting sequence must be set separately can make the betting type an expensive endeavor, as already mentioned. For example, if you want to bet only 10 pounds, you would have to pay 2.50 pounds per betting series in this case. Now let's go a step further and assume that Bayern Munich only draws against Roma at home - that means Tip C is wrong. If, on the other hand, all other games merge, the profit calculation looks like this:

  • ABC lost
  • ABD bet 10 pounds x 1.40 x 1.70 x 2.10 = 47.04 pounds
  • ACD lost
  • BCD lost
  • Total bet 40 Pounds
  • Gain 47.04 pounds I net gain 7.04 pounds

In this case you can expect a gain of 47,04 euros ( = net gain of 7,04 euros). Now it's becoming clear where the advantage of the system bet lies: even though one of four betting tips was wrong and in total three out of four betting series were lost, a small profit could still be made with this system. But this does not always have to be the case : with the betting system 3 / 4 the total odd of the successful betting series has to be more than 4,00 to finish with a gain – if one result is not correct.
Again, a system bet calculator is a really valuable tool to estimate your chances of winning.

Example for a system bet "2 out of 4" (2/4)

Let's go one step further and take a look at the system “2 out of 4” (2 / 4) in comparison – here, as well, we'd like to know what will happen if tip C is wrong:

  • AB 10 pounds x 1.40 x 1.60 = 22.40 pounds
  • AC lost
  • AD 10 pounds x 1.40 x 2.10 = 29.40 pounds
  • BC lost
  • BD 10 pounds x 1.60 x 2.10 = 33.60 pounds
  • CD lost
  • Total bet 60 pounds
  • Gain 85.40 pounds I net gain 25.40 pounds

In total you can expect a gain of 85.40 pounds. Minus the bet of 60 pounds this means a net gain of still 25,40 pounds. What happens in this system if two betting tips (B and C) go wrong?

  • AB lost
  • AC lost
  • AD 10 euros x 1.40 x 2.10 = 29.40 pounds
  • BC lost
  • BD lost
  • CD lost
  • Total bet 60 pounds
  • Gain 29.40 pounds I total loss 30.06 pounds

In a case like this you'd make a profit of 29.40 pounds – in total this would mean a loss of 30.60 pounds, though. Right here you need to be careful! Even though the system promises a gain with 2 out of 4 – and this is correct – in total a minus is the result. On the plus side, however, not the total bet is lost, as this would be the case when placing a combined bet. Even though two out of four betting tips were wrong, with this system bet you only lose half. Now, we compare the maximum gain of the two systems, 2/4 and 3/4, to get an even better sense for the chances of winning with this bet type. With the same bet per betting series you can count on a total gain of 172.10 pounds (net gain 112.20 pounds) with the 2/4 system , whereas with the system 3/4 a substantial gain of 152.22 pounds can be expected. That means that even with 20 pounds less bet a higher profit is possible. This clearly shows that longer betting series combinations (for example two versus three) yield a higher profit, but present a higher risk because of the multiplying factor of the odds.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of system bets?

The advantage compared to the individual bet is on the one hand - similar to the combined bet – due to the higher total odds and therefore higher possible profit that may be gained. Secondly, the system bet provides a higher safety factor in contrast to combined bets. Whereas with the combined bet the complete bet is lost with one wrong result, with the system bet you can afford one or the other mistake. Even if a tip is wrong, part of the bet may remain. For this reason, the system bet is very secure, not only when compared to the - anyhow - very risky combined bet, but also in comparison with the individual bet. Even professional sports bettors, who in fact just bank on individual bets, like to use the system bet as a model of protection. The successful mix of risk reduction and considerable chances of winning can be regarded as the main reason for the growing popularity of the system bet. However, the smaller profit when compared to the combined bet could be seen as a disadvantage. This is the logical consequence of the lower risk. A specific example, that compares the maximum gain of the two betting systems and shows the profit margin, can be found on our site “system bets strategies”. Apart from that there can be no talk of disadvantages – it's rather possible dangers that should be considered. Because of the fact that you can afford to make mistakes with this bet type, lots of sports bettors are tempted to take unnecessary risks and bet too high bets. A bet is placed for every betting series, after all! Partly, the system bet is unpopular because the possible profit is more difficult to calculate and the betting ticket is arranged confusingly especially with bigger system bets. System bet calculators can be very helpful in both cases to stay on top of things and to maintain the fun of betting. There is no reason for concern when you are a bit overwhelmed at the beginning or don´t like system bets at first glance. But don´t give up - just give it a try! The placement of the bet is very simple. It's not without reason that the system bet is especially popular with professional bettors, who enjoy the advantages mentioned above.

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