Betting my way to Russia – Matchday 1 preview

word cup tickets


I followed the Socceroos around the world to 4 World Cup qualification playoffs and the finals in Russia. I paid for it all with crypto I won betting on the games! See the introductory post for details.

The expenses

I paid for everything soon after the draw in December 2017. The price of bitcoin was $15,000.

Flights: Home – Russia – Home$2636176
Flights: Kazan – Samara$20314
Flights: Samara – Sochi$19313
3 Australia game tickets$69346
Accommodation Kazan$1898127
Accommodation Samara$77352
Accommodation Sochi$114696
Travel insurance$19913
Incidentals: $100 p/day Jun 14-28$140093
Total$9441 629

The bets

I will bet wherever I see value and will also run a couple of strategies.

Bet underdogs until one wins

I will martingale to win 100 m฿ on underdogs. Martingale means my first bet will be to win 100 m฿. If that bet looses my next bet will be to win 100 m฿ + however much I lost on the first bet. This continues until I reach my stop loss, or I win a bet. If a bet wins the overall profit of the martingale will be 100 m฿, no matter how short or long the series of bets was.

Martingaling is general good fun but a bad idea if you want long term sustainable profits. However this is a short term tournament and I admit, I am hoping to get lucky. Martingales can only be disastrous if you don’t have a stop loss.

There are 3 big reasons I am confidant that this will be a successful strategy

  1. The value is usually on the underdog or the draw.
  2. There will be upsets. There always is. Football is low scoring witch makes results unpredictable.
  3. The very high odds on a lot of underdogs means the martingale stakes will not rise too steeply. Just in the first round of games there are odds like 10.86 on Saudi Arabia to beat Russia and 16 on Australia to beat France. Even if my bets on those teams lose, the odds are so high that my stakes will be low.

Here is the first bet.

Bet draws until one happens

This is the same as the above but for draws instead of underdogs and I will martingale to win 50 m฿. Here is the first bet.

Martingale against teams that won’t win the World Cup

I am not actually doing this betting strategy but I present it for discussion.

Identify teams that you think cannot win the World Cup. You have then identified teams which you think will lose, draw or fail to advance in at least 1 game.

I think Colombia is the worst team that could actually win, so my list of eventual losers is all 21 teams that are worse than Colombia. Those are


Costa Rica













Saudi Arabia



South Korea




In this system you martingale against the eventual losers. The tournament structure provides a built-in stop-loss in that each team can only win 7 games.

Even in the worst-case scenario only 1 of the teams you bet against can win the tournament meaning you can still profit from all the other teams losing.

The only tricky part about this strategy is deciding what to do when 2 of your eventual losers play each other. For the 21 teams I think can’t win there are about 11 such games in the group stage.

For these games you can continue the martingale on whichever team is the best value to bet against and suspend the martingale on the other team until their next match.

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