Managing Your Sports Betting Bankroll

In the movies, betting usually comes down to one wager to strike it rich. The main character puts down their last few dollars on one longshot and boom – strikes it rich. End scene. Cue credits. Unfortunately life isn’t a movie. For new and expert sports bettors alike, the need to manage your betting bankroll is crucial. [+]

We interviewed professional gamblers, who make a living from placing wagers online, as well as former sportsbook employees who saw customers make some serious money from sports betting, even into the hundreds of thousands, and quizzed them on strategies for bankroll management, and a few strategies not to use.



Sports Betting Bankroll Management: How To

Alright, let’s get down to…accounting. Believe it or not, account management is a big part of sports betting. It seems every year some website wise-guy says he has a “no lose” betting plan that can make you millions. There is no magic guaranteed winning strategy when it comes to gambling, but some of the strategies below should help preserve your precious betting bankroll.

Bet in Units

Unit betting is a mathematical way of managing your bankroll. Think of your betting bankroll as units, 1% of your balance is 1 unit, for example, while 5% of your balance is 5 units. By choosing this strategy, you are applying a set variable to a changing number i.e. your balance.

If I say “I will always bet 2 units on Monday Night Football” then I may bet different amounts – one week this may equate to $10,, the next week I’ll bet the same 2 units, but this may mean I am betting $20. The amount you bet is dictated by the size of your bankroll. This method helps you to ride out losing streaks, allowing you to continue betting for longer.

Flat Betting Strategy

Closely related to Unit betting is Flat Betting. You set your bet amounts for the season and that risk amount does not change, no matter what your account balance is. Let’s look at an example, Week 1 Monday Night Football I say “I will bet $10 on the Spread of this game.”

Week 2 comes along and, following this same Flat Betting strategy, I once again bet $10 on the Point Spread of this game. The balance could be different or the Point Spread could pay out half of what it did week-over-week, but with a Flat Betting Strategy it doesn’t matter, the amount is the amount, no matter the odds.

Betting Systems: To Use or Not to Use

Unit and Flat Betting strategies are two of the most common used strategies out there, however there are countless others. Some customers will go for “home runs” and use their entire balances to fund wild parlays.

The odds are stacked against those players, but sometimes the stars align and a player strikes it rich. Other players will use their balances to back heavy favorites. They won’t win large amounts, but the odds are in their favor. Find a system that suits your betting style, your available funds, your betting goals, and how risk averse you are.

Chasing Lost Bets

While experts are split on the effectiveness of different betting strategies, almost every professional handicapper agrees that chasing lost bets is a terrible idea. Never heard the term? Say on Sunday morning you bet half your balance on an early NFL game. The game starts and after 10 minutes you’ve already lost, so you decide that you can’t lose the day and bet your balance on afternoon NFL games, even though you haven’t done any research and there aren’t any favorable odds.

You’ve just chased a lost bet. Successful betting requires patience and research on your part. Losses are part of gambling. If a bet loses, forget about it and move onto the next bet, but make sure that you are betting because you think you have an edge or the bookies have the odds set wrong, don’t go chasing those losses because you could end up going broke.


More sports betting tips:

Picking a Sportsbook

Understanding Bonuses

Comparing Odds

Drinking and Betting