One of the most important things when it comes to betting is managing your money. It doesn’t matter how many bets you place per day, week or month. You can have success by placing 10 bets per day but you can also have success by placing 10 bets per month. To each his own, every bettor is different. But every bettor has to deal with one thing if he wants to achieve long-term success: money management.
By managing your money I mean that you need to have a reasonable system in place that you follow consistently. Our success rates usually vary over time, but our system of spending money shouldn’t. Our big goal is to consistently profit money from sports betting. Grow the bankroll, withdraw money and move on with a new, bigger bankroll. The key of money management is to have a system that allows you to grow your bankroll when you are successful but limits your risk when you are not. Losing is part of what we do – we can have bad stretches over weeks or months. If you aren’t thinking long-term and just bet for the quick buck, you don’t need to care about money management and this article probably isn’t interesting for you.
We hear the word bankroll very often. A bankroll is the disposable base amount of money you are willing to spend on betting over a certain time span. To go one step further – your bankroll is also the amount of disposable money you are willing to lose over a certain time span. Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose. That amount doesn’t need to be physical, it can be virtual and you only need to have a certain percentage of your bankroll deposited into your sportsbook accounts. Of that bankroll, you calculate a reasonable amount or percentage you want to spend per bet.
If your bankroll is $1,000, you shouldn’t bet $100 per game when you are invested in 10 games per day. If your bankroll is $20,000, betting $100 per game on ten games per month might be a little bit too low and too stagnant to grow your bankroll. I guess you get my point here. On Gambling Twitter you see guys spreading out daily cards with plays ranging from 1 unit up to even multiple 10U MAX BOMB plays which might add up to 50+ units per day. Aside from the fact that probably no one can explain what distinguishes a 10-unit play from a 4- or 1-unit play, I would guess that many followers struggle to project those “systems” to their own money management strategy.
Many ways lead to Rome and there are a lot of strategies bettors use all over the world, but I’ve made the experience that two certain main strategies are very useful. I will explain them along with examples. Before we get to these, we need to talk about the term “unit”. The term unit pops up everywhere in the gambling world, but it is basically just a measurement system for tracking success. Units are something everyone can identify with and everyone can project his own betting sizes to it. If someone is up 10 units, it can be $10,000 for him but $2,500 for you.
Also units aren’t units, as crazy as it sounds. Units can be dynamic or static and bettors can re-define them again and again whenever they want or need to. It is just – a measurement system. And it is probably more reality for someone who bets for his hobby than for someone who does it professionally. Let’s dig into stategies.
Betting a certain percentage of your bankroll on each game
I will use the NFL season as the example for both strategies. Let’s say you start with a bankroll of $5,000 and you want to bet 3% as a dynamic unit of your moving bankroll on each game. You will start by betting $150 per game, or by the base amount bet, you will bet to win $150. Let’s take the latter one as the example with an average line of -110.
If you are successful, your amount per bet is going to raise per day/week. You would evaluate your profit after each week and calculate a new amount to bet on each game. The big advantages of this system are that you have a good risk management for your losses on the one side and that you are able to increase your profits off a good season or a hot run.
Imagine you bet 7 games per week during the NFL season. Even if you go 0-7, you would lose “only” 23.1% of your bankroll. The probability for it to happen is basically zero, but let’s assume you let that 0-7 week follow another 0-7 performanc. Meaning, you start the season with an ice-cold 0-14 run. You would have lost 40.86% (-$2,043) of your bankroll. However, 90% of the bettors in the world would have gone broke by either a poor money strategy and/or by chasing their losses.
After the base amount of $150 in week 1, you would bet $127 to win $115 in week 2. Your base amount going into the third week would be $89. But if you go on to a 14-0 winning streak, you profit +46.41% (+$2,321) of your bankroll and your base amount would be $220 going into the third week. So the disadvantage would be the fact that it’s tougher to get back to a certain amount off an awful run, this is the contrary aspect to the risk management. Assuming you let the 0-14 run follow a 7-0 week, you would be down -28.45% (-$1,422).
Betting with a static amount over time
Again, you set a bankroll to start the season, let’s assume you also start with $5,000 and decide to bet 3% as a static unit of your starting bankroll on each game, meaning $150 as the risk amount or the base amount on an average line of -110. We go with the base amount again, meaning $165 to win $150 on each game.
Off a 0-14 start, you would lose 46.2% (-$2,310) while your base amount stays the same, the one unit of $150. Off a hot 14-0 run, you would profit +42% (+$2,100) while sticking to your initial unit base amount of $150. With the unit-system you would lose a higher percentage of your bankroll on a losing streak, but it’s easier to get back to even. Assuming you let the 0-14 run follow a 7-0 week, you would be down -25.2% (-$1,260).
Because the static amount doesn’t increase automatically while winning, you could set yourself milestones for when to adjust your static bet amount. For instance, you could set the goal of re-calculating when you are up or down 50% (+-16.67 units) of your initial bankroll. Or at 50% on profit and 25% on losses. That’s on you. You can also use the Kelly criterion.
It’s important to have a money management system in place
The differences between these two systems are the following: With the percentage-system, you would profit more money (4.41% on the 14-0 example) on a winning streak and lose less money (5.34%) on a losing streak. It’s tougher to get back to even or a certain amount off a losing streak. As I said earlier, many ways lead to Rome. People adjust their systems, some more often than others. But the most important point is that you actually have a system in place and follow that system with patience.
Remember, sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint! People always want to make the quick buck, but you have to think long-term. You probably want to do this the next 20 years, don’t you? Work hard, never chase your picks and be happy about each profit you make.