Sports Betting Bankroll Management Tips

In betting parlance, your bankroll is the entire sum of money you have set aside for gambling over a given period. Managing your bankroll is extremely important, and includes details like how much cash you can afford to lay down on each bet, how often and if you should vary the size of your bets, questions about whether or not you should hedge your bets, and basically every financial decision you make about your gambling dollar.

Put simply, good bankroll management means never letting your gambling budget dry up. As a general rule, gambling experts advise that you never wager more than 2% of your total bankroll on any one play.

Any sports bettor that doesn’t practice proper bankroll management techniques is just as likely to go broke as a gambler that doesn’t research or handicap games or one who doesn’t shop around for the best lines. Bankroll management is more than simply quitting while you’re ahead – placing regular sports bets requires as much hard work and forethought as running a business.

After all, the important part of placing sports wagers is your return on investment, also known as ROI. A sports bettor’s return on investment is a calculation based on his winning percentage and the amount of money invested overall. In short, all sports bettors, recreational or professional, should work out their ROI based on how many games they wager on and how much they bet per game. Like with any business, understanding the return on your sports betting investment is key to maintaining a profit.

Here are some tips to help keep your bankroll in the black.

Avoid Betting Systems

Page after page of bad bankroll management advice exists, most of which suggests that gamblers should increase their bets when they’re winning and decrease them when they’re losing. These betting systems go by different names and some have slightly different features, but they’re all basically the same. The trouble with these betting systems, many of which are sold by touts looking to make a quick buck on novice sports gamblers, is that they depend on the notion of a winning or losing streak. In reality, each of your wagers is independent from the one before; adjusting your wagers has no impact on the outcome of games you bet on. Instead of increasing your bets when you win and decreasing when you lose, it’s much smarter to work out a set percentage of your bankroll as a maximum wager.

Determine Your Reason for Betting on Sports

So how do you determine how much your maximum bet is? The answer depends on your reason for placing sports bets. Different bettors are looking to accomplish different goals – some of us are just looking for cheap entertainment, while other gamblers bet on sports for a living. If you’re placing bets for pure entertainment, betting $100 per game on Monday Night Football will only set you back about $5 a week if your picks break even; that’s cheaper than going to a movie every week, and if it adds excitement to your sports viewing it’s well worth the cost.

If you’re more serious about wagering on sports, you have to treat your wagers as investments. In this case, you’re basically running a business in which your bankroll is your inventory. In this case, you might set your max wager amount a little higher when you see good opportunities for investment, i.e. good lines on games that you can easily handicap. Figuring out why you’re betting on sports, whether it’s just for fun or as a way to make a living, is a big part of managing your bankroll.

Use Sportsbook Tools to Help You Keep Track of Your Bankroll

Online sportsbooks take pride in the tools they offer their customers. Bankroll management tools built into various online sportsbooks can be your best friend. Online books that post your account balance clearly on every page of the site and those that have user-friendly account management tools can be the bettor’s best friend. When selecting an online book to do business with, look into their user interface and what kind of financial tools they offer to help you keep track of your wagers.

Use Flat Betting to Maintain Profit

Flat betting means placing similar or identical bets on every game that you bet on. Varying your bet size can turn a winning day into a losing one, a situation in which you win more bets than you lose but still lose money. Here’s an example: let’s say you want to bet on three NFL teams to win on a given day: the Houston Texans, the Green Bay Packers, and the Atlanta Falcons. If you bet more on the Texans, thinking they’re a sure-win, and bet less on the Packers and Falcons, you could ostensible win with Green Bay and Atlanta and lose your wager on Houston and end up losing money thanks to the larger bet you placed on the Texans.

If you’d used flat betting, placing the same wager on all three games, you would have turned a profit. In this example, you place a flat bet on all three games, putting up $220 to win $200 on each. Even if any one of the teams loses, you’d still profit $180. Varying your bet size puts you in a situation where picking more winners than losers doesn’t turn a profit. By placing flat bets, all you have to do to end up turning a profit is pick more winners than losers.

Bankroll management is an easy concept to learn but a difficult one to keep in practice. All gamblers have a tendency to want to take a big risk in search of a big payoff, but sticking to a fairly rigid set of rules about your bankroll can keep you from blowing your budget based on a hunch or an emotional wager. Work out your total gambling budget, your max bet size, and stick to the tips above to maintain your bankroll.