Last Updated on 09/23/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Sports betting can be an immersive experience once you understand it. But, many new bettors struggle with that initial understanding stage before everything else. One of the more important things a novice should understand is sports betting management.
Sports betting bankroll management is an important tool that every bettor should learn before they become too involved with betting. How to balance your money with bets in a way that could be profitable to you is the tricky part, and at TheGruelingTruth.com, we will try to make this easier on you. Let’s explain how to manage bankroll betting.
We know this isn’t the most attractive betting topic to talk about. But, as we explain in our betting for beginners article, it’s important to have a good foundation of the technicalities.
When sports betting, your only source of generating more income is with your current money. Either by winning wagers or reloading your account, this is what sports betting money management is all about.
You have to be responsible with your bankroll in sports betting constantly. That’s why betting too aggressively is always bound to cause negative effects. You’ll likely lose most of your account funds, and will have to reload to compensate.
Betting bankroll management is all about thinking strategically, rather than tactically. This means looking at things in the long term, rather than living bet by bet and focusing on short-term gain.
It’s only over a long period that you could see returns on your sports betting. That’s what all the professional bettors do, and that’s exactly what sports betting management is all about.
This is a tough one to break down because everyone is different and everyone has different funds available to them. However, we can’t all just bet on every wager we come across – we have to be smarter, and have our sports betting management strategy figured out.
Let’s say you deposit an initial $2,000 to get you started. This is all you intend to bet with for the moment, and you want to bet 1% on every single bet you make. 1% of 2,000 is $20. That’s a reasonable wagering amount to start with, and if you take your time, we believe a series of $20 wagers could add up.
There’s something called the ‘5% rule’ in betting bankroll management guides. This essentially tells you not to go over 5% of your overall funds, because that will work out to be too aggressive and will drain your resources fairly quickly. We think it depends on what is in your account, but anywhere from 1% to 2.5% is a good starting point for a new bettor.
That’s how you determine your units, which is an important term to remember for sports betting management.
A unit is how you measure your success and results in other sports betting. The reason we use percentages to do that is to put everyone on equal grounds across the board.
For example, you could have starting funds of $2,000, and someone else has $10,000. Even though you might be a smarter and more successful bettor, it doesn’t show what’s in your betting account, because the other bettor still has more money by default.
Let’s say you were betting on the Super Bowl, and you were placing a sports betting points spread on the Bengals to win the AFC Championship. On odds of 6/1, and with a successful wager of $20 (one unit), you got a return of $120.
This shows you are up to six units, and that will reflect well on your betting bankroll management.
It gives you a good standardized rate on what you could potentially win with that unit compared to the betting odds. The way to measure units is by ‘u’ (1u is one unit, 3u is three units, etc).
There are several different betting bankroll management strategies you can use. You don’t necessarily have to bet one unit on every single wager that you make to make a profit with your sports betting management.
This is the most straightforward of the betting bankroll management strategies, and most likely the safest betting method you can use. Flat betting is doing exactly what we mentioned above, always betting exactly one unit on every single wager that you make.
There’s a problem with this that will depend on the odds, which is why most bettors do things one of two ways. ‘To win’, or ‘risk’.
If you’re going for the ‘to win’ method, you’ll have to compensate with some additional units on lower odds to make sure that you do win at least another 1u.
For example, if you’re betting on odds of 0.8, you’ll have to wager 1.2 to make another 1u. The ‘risk’ method cuts that out completely. If you were going with risk, you’d just bet 1u on the 0.8, and take whatever winnings you would get from that wager.
Flat betting is a very strategic method of betting. It’s safe because it’s a way of budgeting, and it’s perfect for betting bankroll management as a result. But, it will take some time, and patience before you will see larger profits.
We’d always recommend checking your bankroll with this method, and depending on how much money you’ve won or lost, increasing or decreasing your standard units of wagering.
This betting method gives you a little more flexibility, especially if you’re a well-informed bettor.
This method encourages you to increase your standard betting unit if you’re confident in the result of a wager. It’s something you should only do on occasion, and if you’re well informed in the sport/activity you’re betting on.
For example, let’s say you’re a UFC fan and you’re tuning into Colby Covington vs Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272 on March 2nd. If you’re confident that Covington is going to pick up the victory in this bout, then you could place 3u on him to get the victory.
It’s always best you try out this method first before you fully commit to it. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to do that through a sportsbooks rewards system, or through a signup bonus. Check out our sportsbook guide to see some signup bonuses that you could use for the Confidence model.
Another, less laborious way you can try out flat betting is by just placing parts of units on different bets. For example, you could sprinkle a 1.2 wager on an underdog on one of the preliminary bouts at UFC 272, and the result could potentially be the same depending on the odds.
This is very similar to the flat betting model, however, your 1u isn’t always fixed and will change as your bank balance does. Let’s give an example.
Say you have your $2,000 to start with, and you place your successful 1u ($20) wager at the very beginning. That means your new betting bankroll management account has $2,020 funds, so your 1u will increase to $20.20.
This is a hugely popular betting method because it allows you to take advantage of your winning streak.
You’re betting incrementally more each time, so you’ll win incrementally more for every successful wager you make. But, you’re not betting an extortionate amount each time, you’re still sticking to 1u. It’s all a responsible increase of your wagers, and as a result, you could have a greater return on your investments when successful, but still not a crippling blow when you’re not.
The only downside to this method is that you can find yourself falling into a hole.
Theoretically, let’s say you’re up to $20,000. That’s fantastic, but now your 1u is $200. If you lose that bet, you’ll have to drastically decrease your 1u to match your current balance, so it’s a time-based model.
If you’re committed to the percentage model, you’ll have to accept that there are upswings and downswings to every betting cycle, and it’s going to come with a little more risk than the flat betting method.
Sports betting management is important for one reason: streaks. Losing streaks happen to the best of us if we bet often enough, and knowing how to handle losing streaks without getting obsessed and developing an addiction is one of the most important things we can teach you.
There’s a reason betting odds on Monday football are higher than on Sunday afternoon football, people are always trying to chase and recapture their losses. Betting bankroll management is designed to break that cycle.
A sound sports betting management strategy prevents you from spiraling down into that hole by always placing a cap on how much you wager. Ironically enough, the same can be said for winning streaks.
Everyone feels like they’re untouchable when on a betting winning streak, so it can be easy to get arrogant with your bets. That’s why sports betting bankroll management keeps you grounded even when you’re on cloud nine, and reminds you that responsibility is critical.
We hope you’ve developed a sense of how important sports betting bankroll management is. You can’t just bet everything away on a whim, you need to have a strategy going into something as risky and immersive as betting. It’s like developing a financial plan for life: you’ve got to adopt a strategy and understand the importance of keeping your funds in check.
Any one of those strategies is an effect in managing your funds, but it’s up to you which one you choose. You’ll have to remember to choose a strategy that you and your betting account are comfortable with.
There are some great sportsbooks available for bettors to try out for the first time. It depends on your tastes, but many offer some great bonus offers and competitive odds for you to play with. For more information, check out our sportsbooks guide.
Many different types of bets will ultimately help you change up your betting strategy. Many of these betting types can be a benefit, but some can be a hindrance. Take a look at our ‘what does draw no bet mean’ to see an example of betting types and their effects.
To be honest, that depends. Ultimately, you need to choose a bookmaker that has competitive odds. You’ll notice that some odds will be more competitive on others, on different days and sports. This is how bookies make money.