Middles in betting on football, tennis, basketball. How to use them

The “middling” betting strategy implies a double win, or getting of a part of your bet refunded in case of loss. Let’s cite an example of a middle that really existed in 2 Bookies for the Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur match in the English Premier League:

Middles in football on total: an example

(screenshots from bookies)

Middle betting total Middle betting example

Let’s assume the bank is 100$, and we make 2 bets:

  • Over(2,5) odds 1.88 – $ 43.88
  • Under(3,5) odds 1.47 – $ 56.12

The results of our experiment will be presented in a table for clarity:

Goals in the matchResultNet profit
0 to 2

Under(3,5) – won
Over(2,5) – lost
($56.12 * 1.47) - 100 = - $17.5
3 goals
Under(3,5) – won
Over(2,5) – won
($56.12 * 1.47) +($43.88 * 1.88) - 100 = $64.99
4 and more

Under(3,5) – lost
Over(2,5) – won
($43.88 * 1.88) - 100= - $17.5

All in all, we can see the following: if our guess is right and we hit the middle (3 goals), we will have a profit of 64.99%, and if we fail to hit the middle, we will not lose the entire bank but only 17.5%.

The essence of the middling strategy

That is, the “Middling” is a sports betting strategy where you make 2 bets on 2 opposite but possibly intersecting conditions, which can result only in 2 variants of the progress of events:

  1. You hit the middle: 2 bets win at the same time, which gives you maximum profit.
  2. You don’t hit the middle: in this case, the greater part of the loss is always covered, or there is a small but guaranteed profit – but this will be discussed below.

Positive middles

Positive middles, or surebet middles — odds are distributed in such a way that if you fail to hit the middle, the profit from one of your bets will cover the loss from the other one, and you will make a little bit of money anyway. It is very rarely found in real life.

For example:

  • Total Over 2,5 – odds 1.9
  • Total Under 3,5 – odds 2.5

You will receive 8% of the profit if you miss the middle, and 115% of the profit if you hit it.

Tip: Don’t hurry to use such a bet if you find it, most probably this is just a juicy arb

Negative middles

At the beginning of the article, there was exactly an example of a negative (nonconverging) middle. This type of middle is found much more frequently, it implies specifically the minimization of loss in case of missing the middle.

Negative middles

There is such an important aspect, which is not known by everyone, but which makes it possible not to lose the deposit on such bets in the long term without noticing it. You should choose overpriced middles (this is similar to value betting).

To understand what it is, let’s delve deeper into mathematics and the theory of probability.

We need to calculate the probability of hitting the middle and the mathematical expectation of profit on the basis of the win and loss in case of hitting the middle or missing it.

Let’s try and do it in real life, using real figures from the bookie

Let’s rely on the assumption that the arithmetic mean of the bookies’ odds is the realistic probability of the outcome.

Middling sports betting

  • Probability for O(2,5) = 100 / 1,68 = 59.52%
  • Probability for U(3,5) = 100 / 1,45 = 68.96%

(59.52+68.96) -100 = 28.48% : the probability of hitting the middle

Consequently, according to the theory of probability, having made 100 bets:

in 28.48% we will hit the middle, in 100-28.41=71.52% we will miss the middle

Let’s calculate the expected value:

use the numbers from the table above

28.48*64.99 – 71.52*17.5 = 611.3152, which is equal to 6.1% of profitability.

Conclusion: when making such bets in the long term, we must have a 6.1% profit from each bet on the average.

Not every middle can boast such a characteristics, for example if we consider a middle like this:

Over/under middles

Having completed all the calculations (following the example above), we will see that when the probability of hitting the middle is equal to 45%, the mathematical expectation of profit, at a rough calculation, is = -1%. That is, if we make bets on such middles, we’ll gradually lose the whole deposit in the end without noticing it.

Middle bet finder

The best way to do the calculations is to entrust a middles scanner with them, which will not only do it all for you but will also help you perform the search for those middles online, making a selection of matches, so much more that some of the surebet scanners show middles of up to 1% free of charge.

The “Polish Middle” in betting

This type of a middle, which is not so widespread, is more suitable for long-term betting as it is based on the theory of probability.

The main difference is that everything is the other way round. While in the conventional middle you need to hit the middle to win, in the Polish middle you bet on that this outcome will not happen. The Polish middle is considered to be more profitable but more risky (and similar to the strategy of Dutch betting or incomplete arbitrage)

Let’s cite an example of a Polish middle:

(Screenshot of middles calculator)

Polish middle

Match: Lech Poznan vs Belenses


  • H2 (+0.25) — odds 2.36 – (the bet will count when Belenses wins. In case of a draw, a half of the bet will be returned, and the 2nd half will be calculated according to the odds)
  • 1 — odds 2.10 – (the bet will count when Lech Poznan wins)

Let’s bet $100 on 1 bet, and in order to have the same amount of profit of $23.62, according to the calculator, bet $112.38 on the 2nd one.

Let’s do the calculations:

Belenses wins100×2.36 – (100+112.38) = 236.00 – 212.38 = $23.62 of profit
Draw50×2.36 – (50+112.38) = 118 – 162.38 = – $44.38 ($50 on the basis of losing, because only one half of the bet has won, and there’s a return for the 2nd half)
Lech Poznan wins112.38×2.10 – (100+112.38) = 236.00 – 212.38 = $23.62 of profit

If you are still wondering why I need that Polish middle when I can use a conventional one, or surebets for instance, here’s a hypothetical scenario:

The value of 2.88 (100/2.88 = 34 %) in the upper left corner of the screenshot shows the risk of the middle. It means that if you bet a total of $100 + $112.38 = $212.38, then (according to the theory of probability) you will win the first two times: 2 × $23.62 =  $47.24. And the 3rd time, when you bet $212.38, you’ll lose $44.38. And the profit you’ll have in the end will be: $47.24 – $44.38 = $2.86. That is, when winning 2 bets of 3, you’ll be net positive.

In different sports

The middling strategy in betting on basketball with one bookie

It was in basketball that the middling betting system initially emerged. Here it is popular to bet on totals. One of the types is that you place a live bet on O or U at the beginning of the game, open the middles calculator, and watch the movement of the line, waiting for the required odds for the opposite event to appear.

Middles in betting on tennis

Here you can bet both on totals and on sets. For example, an “obvious Favorite vs No-Hoper” game is expected.

We are betting on that:

  1. The favorite will win
  2. The no-hoper will win 1-2,

thus excluding such an outcome as the favorite losing 0-2. Don’t forget to search for good odds with different bookies.

Middles by bet types

From the examples above, it is already clear that there can be middles not only for O and U, you can find quite a lot of types to fit every taste.

  1. On Handicap: H1(+20,5) – H2(-15,5)
  2. On outcomes: 1X – X2
  3. And also, all kinds of grim cocktails like:
    • W2 – H2(2,5)
    • X – Even

Let’s sum up what the advantages and disadvantages of middling are


  • There is a chance to win a great amount of money while risking to lose a small one (in the short term)
  • If you use overpriced middles in the long run, you can make a profit
  • It’s easier to hit a middle than a surebet
  • There are fewer chances to attract the bookmaker’s attention, unlike surebets

One but equally important disadvantage:

  • If you select wrong middles in the long run, you can go into negative
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *