How to reverse the variance in sports betting?

Variance is an important concept in sports betting. Any bettor who wants to be successful in the long run is obliged to understand this phenomenon and limit its impact. It is in most cases what makes the difference between success and failure for bettors. In this article, we will explore in detail the variance in sports betting, the factors that affect it, the strategies to reverse it and increase your chances of winning.

Table of Contents

Understanding variance in sports betting

Variance in sports betting refers to the natural variation in betting outcomes due to factors such as luck, chance and unpredictable events that can occur in sporting events.

For example, even if you have done careful analysis and identified a football team as the favourite to win, there is still some risk associated with the team's actual performance on the field.

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Not so easy to analyse the variance.

Variance can lead to winning or losing streaks, and it is important to understand that even experienced bettors cannot always predict betting outcomes with certainty because of it. It is important to accept this phenomenon as it is natural!

For a large number of winning bets we speak of positive variance and negative variance for a large number of losing bets.

We also recommend reading an article written by Teddy for understand the impact of variance on your bets.

Factors affecting variance in sports betting

There are several factors that contribute to variance in sports betting. One of the main factors is luck or chance.

Even if you have carried out a thorough analysis and used available information to make informed decisions, there is always an element of chance in the outcome of sporting events. For example, a favourite football team may lose to a team that is considered weaker due to unforeseen circumstances, such as a key player injury or poor refereeing. Luck can play an important role in betting outcomes, and it is essential to recognise that even the best bettors can lose due to variance.

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Another important contributing factor is the number of bets you have played. The smaller the number of bets, the larger the variance can be. For example, if you only place a dozen bets on various sporting events, it is quite possible that you will experience significant variance, as it is not unlikely to have 10 winning or 10 losing bets. You will not be able to draw any conclusions about your ability to predict a match with only 10 bets.

On the other hand, if you place several bets over a longer period of time, the variance can be mitigated as the results stabilise and get closer to the expected probabilities. In general, professional sports bettors wait until they have a history of at least 1000 bets to judge the quality of their strategies.

Strategies for reversing variance in sports betting

While variance is an inevitable part of sports betting, there are strategies that can help manage it and reverse its negative effects. Here are some key strategies for reversing it in sports betting:

Bankroll management

Bankroll management is an essential strategy for managing variance in sports betting. It is important to set a betting budget and stick to it strictly. By betting only a reasonable percentage of your bankroll on each bet, you can minimize potential losses and better manage your impact. A good betting percentage will always be between 1 and 5% of the total bankroll you have decided to allocate to sports betting.

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It is also important not to get carried away with the temptation to quickly recoup losses by increasing bets recklessly. Careful bankroll management helps to manage variance and maintain a disciplined approach to sports betting.

Negative variance is largely responsible for large losses for the bettor who has had many losing bets and thinks that the next bets will win. Keep in mind that it is not possible to predict the end (or the beginning) of a negative (or positive) variance.

We advise you to read articles on bankroll management if you wish to improve your knowledge of the subject.

In-depth analysis

In-depth analysis of sporting events can also help to reverse the variance. This involves gathering and analysing as much information as possible about the teams, players, statistics, trends and external factors that can influence the outcome of sporting events. The more in-depth the analysis, the more informed the bets and the less likely the results are to be influenced by one-off factors.

You will gain in precision on your analyses if you couple the field analyses (numbers, weather conditions, state of form,...) to the statistical analyses (series of victory, XG/XGA, history of confrontations,...).

Diversification of bets

Diversifying bets can also help manage variance. Placing bets on different types of sporting events, different teams or players, and using different betting strategies can help spread the risk and minimise potential losses in the event of negative variance.

Diversifying bets also allows you to take advantage of winning opportunities on different options, which can offset potential losses and help reverse variance.

For example, you could follow 2 or 3 tipsters who bet on different sports, although it is not impossible to have all your tipsters in a period of negative variance, this is quite rare and the subsequent profits can help compensate for the more difficult periods.

Performance monitoring

It is important to regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of your bets to better manage variance. This allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your betting strategy, correct mistakes and adjust your method accordingly.

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By keeping a history of one's bets and analysing the results, one can better understand how variance affects one's performance and make more informed decisions to reverse the trend in negative periods.

You can use an excel file to record your results or use an online bankroll manager.


Variance is an inevitable part of sports betting, but it can be managed and its impact reduced by using appropriate strategies. Careful bankroll management, thorough analysis of sporting events, diversification of bets and performance monitoring are key strategies to minimise the negative effects of variance and increase your chances of success as a bettor.

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