How to Manage Your Bankroll

This has been discussed a lot, the idea that sports bettors really need to properly manage their wagering bankroll in order to make money. The fact is that you can be a great handicapper and make solid picks, but if you don’t practice sound fiscal management, you’re going to lose a lot of cash that you should never have even risked.

Too often sports bettors don’t take the time to divide their stake into betting units or if they do, they make the units much too big. This is a true sign of the amateur bettor. Too often the neophyte sports bettor will designate a unit as 10% of their total bank. Thus, if they have $1,000 on hand, they will decide to go with units worth $100. A betting unit should be no more than 2% to 3% of your total stake. If you have $1,000, a unit would be worth $20.

One of the complaints you’ll hear from bettors is, “How can I make cash at $20 per unit.” The response is simple, “With patience.” Sports betting is a game of patience and time. By betting $20 per unit (2% of your bank), you’re doing two things. You are giving yourself the chance to make cash and you are also protecting yourself from large loses.

If you break your $1,000 stake into $20 units, you’ll have 50 units on hand. However, if you decide to go with $100 units, you’ll be able to bet with just 10 units. That leaves little to no room for loses. A bettor who decides to break their $1,000 bankroll into $100 unit bets will either win some and then lose all or simply lose all. There’s no two ways around it.

Many bettors lack the discipline necessary to be successful.  Here an example of two different bettors, both of whom had the same number of wins. Both went 7-3, but only one of these gamblers won cash.

Sports Bettor One wagered $20 per unit on 10 games and went 7-3. He won $140 and lost $36 (including the vig) and ended up with a profit of $104. In that same time period Sports Bettor Two also went 7-3, but he lost money. How could that be the case?

The first bet that SB Two put down was $20. That lost. He was down $22 with the vig. He then won the next. He decided to bet $50 on that one. So now he was up by $28. He really wanted to realize a profit for on the next he wagered $100 and won. Now he was up by $128, having gone 2-1. He wagered another $100 and won again, which meant he was up by $228 and was at 3-1. The next two bets were also won. Each one of those was worth $200, which resulted in a profit of $400 more. He was cruising as he was now up $628! He was 5-1. What the heck, the next two he made a total of $400 more. What an astounding profit! Now he was at +$1028 with a record of 7-1. He threw $500 on the next wager and lost. With the vig, he lost $550. Now his profit was at $478.  He was at 7-2. He really wanted to make up for that loss and so he tossed $500 at the next game and lost. His record was the same as above 7-3, but he was at minus-$72!

Here’s what all sports bettors need to do when it comes to money management. First, develop a fiscally responsible plan that includes your wagering  bankroll, units and number of units you’re going to risk on any given day. Chart out your best-case and worst-case scenarios. Be reasonable in doing this. Then try to be ultra realistic and determine what your likely growth will be during the course of a week, month and entire season. You’re creating an economic plan that you will use to evaluate your results.

Don’t just do this in your head. Put it on paper using a spreadsheet. Determine if you’re going to be spending any of your profits or if you’ll be reinvesting them. Also create a plan that you’ll use when you hit a bad streak. It’s bound to happen so be prepared. The more prepared you are for various scenarios, the better equipped you’ll be to handle them. Then you need to implement the plan and stick with it throughout the betting seasons.

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to sports betting. Fast money, greed and chasing losses equals a loss of profits and a volatile bankroll. Which would you rather be: $128 in the black or $72 in the red?  Manage your bankroll properly to maximize profits. That’s the key to winning and profiting from sports betting. Stay in it for the duration.

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