Money management in sports betting is very easy to explain, but its takes a great deal of will power to adhere to. The basic theory behind sports betting money management, or bankroll management as it is often called, is to bet a small enough percentage of your bankroll on each wager to avoid going broke due to a losing streak. Even for winning bettors losing streaks are inevitable. If you are betting too big the variance of your wins and losses could cause you to go broke.
Betting To Go Broke
This may just sound stupid, but it applies to more people than you may think.
Many bettors are subconsciously betting to go broke. You obviously don’t mean to do this, but it’s how it looks from the outside, and in reality it’s what you’re doing.
If for example you bet 10% of your bankroll, but never reduce your bets when you’re losing you are betting to go broke. If you start with $1000 betting $100 and you lose your first bet you will be at $900, but most bettors will still keep betting $100. Now if you turn things around and get to $2000 you think to yourself, “ok well I’m at $2000 now, I’ll up my bets to $200”. If you get to $3000 you up your bets to $300 and so on. With each increase in bets you have the same chance of going broke. It basically makes the fact that you’ve increased your bankroll meaningless. When you have tasted the $300 bet it’s very hard to go back to the $100 bet if you lose a few bets in a row and find yourself at $1000. This is a prime example of betting to go broke. You simply can’t win. You will keep upping your bet until variance beats you and you have a big $0 in your betting account.
This is the classic example of the worst kind of bankroll management, but you see it all the time.
Bankroll Management Advice and Tips
There is no one correct way to manage your bankroll, but there are basic principles that you should follow.
First of all set aside the amount of money you are willing to lose betting online. This is your sports betting bankroll. Losing it is a worst case scenario, but it will give you a starting amount with which to work from in the next steps.
Your bankroll doesn’t have to all be deposited at one site. You can spread it around multiple betting accounts (I advise this) or even keep some of it set aside in your personal bank account.
Now that you know the size of your bankroll you should decide on how much of it you plan to bet on a typical wager. This will be considered your base betting unit. Typically 1-3% is normal for most bettors, with the option to go to 5% on favourites where the risk and return are low.
I suggest committing to placing only 1 unit bets on everything you wager on, but when you find games you think are locks it can become hard to stick to this rule. That said I strongly encourage you to bet a maximum of two units per bet because as we all know, nothing is a lock.
Now that you have this outline you know exactly what you should be betting on every wager.
Let’s look at an example:
Let’s say you have a starting bankroll of $1000 and you’ve decided that your base unit equals 2% of your bankroll. That means that you should be betting $20 each wager. As your bankroll changes you can adjust the size of your wagers. For example, let’s say you had great run and your bankroll is now at $1400. Your unit bet can now be $28 because its still 2% of your bankroll. If your bankroll drops to say $800 then you should adjust your bet size to $16. By always changing your bet size to be 2% of your bankroll you can avoid variance and winning bettors can slowly build their bankroll without having to worry about going broke.
If you choose to withdraw some money for personal expenses, or if you would like to add some disposable income to your bankroll go ahead and do so. Just make sure you always know how much actual money you have in your sports betting bankroll and bet accordingly.
It may seem simple enough, but it does take some will power to stick to your rules. That said if you are in sports betting for the long haul, you will be happy you did.