Understanding Bankroll Management

Managing your money is an essential practice for both casual and pro sports bettors

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The term “bankroll management” might not be familiar to novice or casual bettors, but those who make sports wagers on a daily basis understand that it’s one of the most important aspects of establishing success. Remember, most bettors are using their own hard-earned money to make wagers. Therefore, it’s essential to be conscious of how much money is in your bankroll, know how much of it to wager on each bet and have a defined plan of what to do when wins and losses occur. 

Bankroll Size

The general rules to follow before depositing money into a sportsbook account are to: identify a number that you not only feel comfortable with and make sure you can afford to lose it without ruining your entire livelihood. Be realistic. Don’t sugar-coat your own financial situation. Remember, as fun as gambling can be, it can also be destructive if you do not establish healthy habits as far as your bankroll is concerned. This number should also reflect the amount of time you’re willing to spend on the craft. For example, a casual bettor who’s planning on making a couple of bets a week on his/her favorite team should have a smaller bankroll than someone who’s betting every single day and putting in multiple hours of daily research. While those are two extreme examples and most people fall in between, you get the picture. Therefore, don’t sign up for a sportsbook and deposit a random number. Go through this process, come to a conclusion and deposit a figure that you’re comfortable with. 

Unit Size 

Do you have a number in your head after reading our Bankroll Size section above? Good. Think about it when reading this section. The general rule of thumb is to bet somewhere between 1-5% of your bankroll on each wager you make and we recommend that you keep this percentage consistent. This is called your “unit size”, or the size or your bets. Conservative bettors tend to stay at 1-2% of their bankrolls while more aggressive bettors typically range from 3-5%. However, since establishing success in the betting world is a slow grind, many experienced and successful bettors recommend wagering 1% of your bankroll on every bet. That way, you can be disciplined and establish your own personal strategy, which leads to the next section. 

Determine Your Personal Strategy

While there will undoubtedly be certain bets that you get all fired up about, it’s recommended not to deviate too far off of your unit size. For example, if you’re checking out the lines for tonight’s games and notice that certain odds are wildly different from where you thought they’d be, you can consider making it a two-unit bet. But, it’s important to not get too emotional and make the aforementioned wager a four or five unit bet (if you’re a conservative bettor). Remember that sportsbooks want even action on both sides of every bet they post. Therefore, when something looks “too good to be true”, it usually is.

Nonetheless, you’ll have winning streaks and losing streaks, and it’ll be up to you to determine what happens when those occur. Avoiding the natural thought of increasing unit size to recoup losses on a losing streak or getting over-confident on a winning streak is essential, for example. Maintaining a consistent unit size, win or lose, and trusting your own process, is key.