Football season is just over the horizon. For most sports bettors that means that the serious betting action is about to get underway. There are few things on this planet better than betting on football. If you have the bankroll to do it properly and you manage that bankroll well that is. Everyone approaches bankroll management a little differently, and as long as your way works for you then it is probably fine. There are some fundamental principles of bankroll management that should be a part of any approach, though. Here’s a look at six common bankroll management blunders that can turn good handicappers into losing bettors.
Betting a bigger percentage than you should – It doesn’t really matter how big your betting bankroll is – whatever you can realistically afford it to be is what you can work with. Regardless of the size of the roll, though, what is important is that you are only betting a small portion of that amount on each game. Some people will say one percent of the roll while others will say as much as three or four percent. The actual number doesn’t particularly matter. What is important, though, is that you have the ability to make a lot of losing bets in a row without going broke. No matter how good you are you are inevitably going to hit a losing streak. If you don’t have a large enough sports betting bankroll to weather that rough patch then you won’t have money left to profit from the eventual turnaround. Betting too much of your bankroll at once is just being greedy, and in sports betting greed never pays off in the long run.
Increasing unit size too soon – The formula for growing a bankroll systematically is simple. You grow your bankroll by winning some bets at a responsible unit size, then once the bankroll grows significantly you increase the unit size and, as long as you keep wining, you watch your bankroll grow faster. If you keep increasing your betting unit size when it is appropriate – and decreasing it when you have to – then you are well positioned for long term success. The problem, though, is when people get greedy (there it is again) and increase their unit size too quickly. That means that they have more of their bankroll at risk than they should, and they have a better chance of going broke.
Chasing losses – It seems like such a beautiful concept – you lose one bet, so you double the bet size to recover the loss. If you lose that one then you can just increase your bet size again to come out on top, and so on. The problem is, though, that it doesn’t take a very long losing streak to totally evaporate your sports betting bankroll, and that’s hard to recover from. Long term winning bettors are very good at forgetting about what just happened and concentrating instead on the next move. Chasing is concentrating on what has already happened, and you never get ahead by looking back.
Not having a unit size – Some people like to bet a different number of units on different games depending upon how strongly they feel about the likely outcome. That’s fine if it is done responsibly. Where people get in trouble, though, is if they differ their bet amount without a particular plan in mind. If you are basing your bet amounts on how you are feeling, how wealthy you are feeling, or some other random factor then it will be very hard to be a long term winner.
Not having a designated bankroll – A lot of people approach sports betting casually and don’t have an official bankroll set aside to bet with. That’s just not acceptable over the long term. Without a bankroll you can’t properly establish your bet size, you can’t determine if you need to adjust that bet size, and you may not have the funds on hand to make the bets you need to make. Most significantly, people without a bankroll set aside are more likely to bet money that they can’t afford to lose. There is no better way than that to cause stress and create negative pressure on your betting.
Not keeping good records – I am consistently amazed by the number of people who I talk to who don’t keep good betting records. I honestly believe that record keeping is the single most important aspect of winning betting. If you don’t keep good records then you can’t know how you are doing, and you can be making bets of a size that don’t optimize your potential return. Good record keeping also allows you to look back at the types of bets you have been making to see what has been working, and what traps you have consistently been falling into. As the saying goes, those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Remember that in your daily sports betting process.