We teach you how to manage your money effectively and achieve long-term success in sports betting.
Last updated: October 22, 2023
Bankroll Management — many bettors ignore it because, frankly, it’s a bit dull. While it may have little to do with the exciting part — the sports themselves — bankroll management is just as important as finding the proper handicaps and the best odds at US sportsbooks.
Sports wagering is about long-term success, and professionals consider it a sort of investment. This means you should consider it similar to running a business.
If you are serious about sports betting, you need to be fully aware of bankroll management and its importance to your wagering career.
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Bankroll management in sports betting is crucial for controlling risks and ensuring long-term sustainability. It involves setting a budget, employing consistent unit sizing, and avoiding impulsive decisions, such as chasing losses. By adhering to a structured bankroll management plan, sports bettors can optimize their betting strategy, enhance profitability, and maintain financial stability over the long term.
To fully emphasize its significance, it is fair to say that proper bankroll management makes a massive difference in your long-term success as a professional sports bettor.
Underestimating it and instead focusing on short-term success is the most common mistake punters can make in this industry.
Professional bettors will never rely on their guts and will never risk their entire bankroll. Only a rare few land massive parlays and get rich overnight.
The exceptional examples of life-changing wins can make you swerve the opposite way, but you must know these are only a drop in the ocean, and you do not want to rely on catching that rare drop.
Instead, focusing more on the numbers, doing your math, and following a pattern that can lead you to long-term success is the way to go in online sports betting.
The reason is simple: it lies in super-thin margins in the sports wagering niche. When you consider the house vig (sportsbooks need to make money to stay alive), you need to hit 52.38% of your bets to break even.
You do not get even odds (+100) for spread or totals. The standard odds for home and away win (or over/under) are -110 each. This way, even if you are at a 50% hit rate, you will not break even.
Staying above a 60% hit rate on your sports bets is almost impossible. If you can go above this percentage, you must own a crystal ball that tells you the future. In this case, bankroll management might not be a thing for you.
Nonetheless, since most of us don’t possess any magical powers, we must thoroughly consider bankroll management to stay profitable in the long run.
With such tiny margins where 52.38% breaks you even while nobody ever goes above 60%, a serious bettor must manage their bankroll properly.
Now that we have learned the importance of bankroll management, we will move on to applying it to our everyday sports betting habits.
For starters, you need to set the starting bankroll for sports betting. This must be the money you can afford to lose because there are no certainties in this niche whatsoever.
Once the initial bankroll is sorted, you need to figure out how much you are willing to risk on a single bet.
Extensive research got us to learn more about bankroll management, and we found out that the majority of experts advise betting around 1% of the starting bankroll for each wager.
This is, however, a scenario from an ideal world because not many bettors, especially beginners, possess such a massive bankroll at the start.
For example, if you have $1000, 1% would mean you can bet only $10 per pick. If you go for a single on a spread bet, your potential winnings would be $9.1.
Do not get us wrong, this system can work perfectly in the long run and will cut your potential losses, but would these potential winnings entice you to start a new hobby?
This is why some bettors raise their bet size to 5% of their starting bankroll. In the example from above, that would be $50.
However, if you risk that much on every single bet, you increase the risk of losing your whole stack because the negative streaks can be so harsh, and they will happen sooner or later.
The answer, thus, lies somewhere in the middle. Betting 2.5% of your initial stack works on both sides of the equation. It increases the excitement factor instead of wagering 1% while also reducing the risk factor compared to those who bet 5%. It’s the ideal middle ground.
The percentage can generally go anywhere from 1% to 5%. You should think carefully before selecting the adequate one, and once you do so, you will have your regular unit size.
|Basic Betting Strategy
|Always bet just 1 unit
|Increase bets as the bankroll increases
|Add extra units when the confidence level is high
You now have your “unit” size and are ready to place bets. How to know whether and when to raise the number of units wagered on a particular bet? This is where different bankroll management strategies come in handy.
The most common one is probably the best. It says that you should bet one unit per wager, regardless of the pick and any other factor surrounding it.
You don’t consider your confidence level or if you’re on a hot/cold betting streak. Instead, you do your thing and bet the same amount every time.
We love this strategy because it removes the outside factors and emphasizes the numbers. We do tend to trust the numbers more than our instincts.
Those who find this strategy boring can try the so-called percentage model. The principle is identical to the above-described method, the only difference being the adjustable size of the unit.
So, bettors should still place one unit per bet, but the unit size will depend on the ongoing bankroll. Let’s say your starting bankroll is $1000, and you win your first $10 bet on a -110 odds pick.
In this case, your bankroll would grow to $1,009.10. Thus, you would wager $10.091 on your next bet, as this amount would represent the new 1% of the total bankroll.
Finally, you can include your confidence level in the mix and decide to increase the number of units on a particular bet.
Instead of wagering a single unit every time, you can push to betting two or three units on picks you feel more confident about.
These strategies are viable, but those struggling to maintain discipline should stick to the basic strategy of only betting one unit at a time, at least for the first few months.
The best strategy for utilizing bankroll management in sports betting is to establish a consistent unit size for bets, generally ranging from 1% to 5% of the total bankroll, and to avoid deviating from this strategy, even in the face of losses or wins. This approach helps to control risks, prevents impulsive betting, and ensures the preservation of the betting funds for long-term sustainability.
Increasing unit size in sports betting should be considered only when your bankroll has significantly grown, typically by a predetermined percentage, such as a 25% increase from the initial amount, and when you have a proven track record of consistent and successful betting over a substantial period.
As long as your bets are not rushed or forced by a losing streak, you can place as many bets and units per day.
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