Sports Betting Bankroll Management – Treat Betting Like a Business

Sports betting bankroll management

11 minutes

Last Updated: July 15, 2022


Betting on various sports events can be a fun hobby to spice up the big games over the weekend. But, placing bets that sound the most fun and sizing your bets from the top of your head is not a good way to rake in consistent profits.

To be a successful sports bettor, you first need to develop a sports betting money management system.

Arguably, the topic of bankroll in sports betting is certainly not one of the most exciting ones, but it is definitely very important..

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about having a bankroll for sports betting, how to size your bets, and the best sports betting bankroll management strategies for maximizing your profits.

What is Bankroll Management in Sports Betting?

Bankroll sports betting

Before we go into more advanced topics like specific strategies, let’s first go over what bankroll management in sports betting entails.

In simple words, your sports betting bankroll is the money you keep separately from your other funds. And, bankroll management refers to how effectively you use your bankroll when betting on sports.

If you want to treat your sports betting like a business, you need to always keep your betting funds separate from all other money.

Your betting bankroll is the money you’ll use to generate profits in betting and nothing else.

With this in mind, you also need to treat your bankroll with great care, as you don’t want to constantly refill it as you run out of money.

A sports betting bankroll management strategy protects your betting funds. More importantly, it allows you to grow your bankroll so that you can sustainably place your bets and never have to reload using everyday money.

This is only possible if you’re responsible and serious with your bankroll management practices. This brings us to the next key point.

The Importance of Money Management in Sports Betting

Bankroll management sports betting

Proper sports betting bankroll management is essential, as it helps you make responsible sports bets.

We’ve touched a bit on this in the previous section but should expand through specific examples. Here are the most significant reasons why money management is crucial in sports betting:

It Helps You During Losing Streaks

No sports bettor wants to think about this, but losing streaks are part of the experience, and there’s no way to avoid them, no matter how good of a punter you are.

That said, the important thing is to have a good bankroll management strategy that will help you ride this wave and come out on the other end without losing too much money.

A sports betting money management system does so by stopping you from chasing your losses and ending up losing even more money.

You’ll also be able to decrease your bet sizes and keep track of the results so you can make sure you don’t lose too much too quickly.

It Helps You During Winning Streaks

Equally as important as the first reason, sports betting bankroll management is a great thing to have by your side when you get into a winning streak. Just like losing streaks, winning streaks, shorter or longer, can and do happen to everyone.

During such situations, many sports bettors often increase their bet sizes when they’re on a run of good results. This is an equally significant mistake as chasing your losses.

The winning streak can come to an end at any point, and increasing your bet sizes can easily put your money at risk.

When you have a system for money management in sports betting in place, this potential issue is easily preventable. You’ll never risk more by making reckless bets in the heat of the moment.

It Makes You Bet More Rationally

When you have a bankroll management strategy in place, you don’t have to constantly keep track of your finances. So, you can dedicate more of your attention to the actual betting decisions that you should be making.

Focusing on the optimal betting decisions is much easier when you don’t always have to think about your balance.

You won’t be influenced to make overly safe or risky bets simply because you think you’re running out of money or don’t know how much money you have left.

How to Know How Much to Bet Every Time?

Sports betting bankroll management system

With the basics covered, you also need to understand another practical thing when betting on sports. You should always know precisely how much you should stake on each bet you’re making.

Different betting experts will recommend different amounts, but we’ll focus on the middle ground to give you the optimal perspective.

Let’s say you have a sports betting bankroll of $500. This is a solid amount of money, especially if you’re just starting your sports betting experience.

Many bettors recommend that you bet between one and five percent of your total bankroll per bet.

That said, one percent often results in too small of an amount to make the betting exciting. In this example, one percent is just $5. Contrarily, betting five percent puts you at risk of losing much more money if you lose a couple of bets in a short period.

So, we recommend ideally betting between two and three percent of your total betting bankroll.

This also lines up another question: should you always stick to the same bet amount for every bet you make?

The answer to this is: of course not.

The numbers we’ve discussed above only provide you with the basic blueprint you should rely on in most general situations.

If you’re more or less certain of the specific game’s outcome, you can adjust the amount of money you want to bet.

So, the key takeaway from this is that you should always have some sort of fixed rule and be ready to size your bankroll differently depending on the game or event’s variance.

Variance is a significant thing to consider in sports betting bankroll management as well. Some types of bets will unavoidably have a higher variance.

With that in mind, the less likely you are to win your bets, the more your sports betting bankroll will fluctuate. You’ll stand to lose more but also win more if you get a few bets right.

Best Sports Betting Bankroll Management Strategies

Money management in sports betting

The more you look online, the more different strategies you’ll come across, with each claiming to be the best one or guaranteeing profitable results.

While no sports betting bankroll management strategy can guarantee profits, some are more effective than others.

Taking this into account, we’ve filtered the best bankroll management sports betting strategies and will go over each of them to help you pick the best one for you.

The Flat Betting Strategy

A flat betting strategy is one of the simplest strategies, as it’s easy to use even if you’re an absolute beginner.

The flat betting strategy is also known as a fixed betting strategy, as its base premise is that you choose a certain bet size and stick with it for an extended period.

For example, if you have a sports betting bankroll of $1,000 and decide to bet three percent per one bet using a flat betting strategy, you’ll always bet $30. This approach is very convenient, as it enables you to stay consistent and structured.

The biggest advantage of the flat betting strategy is that it’s relatively safe, as you never run the risk of losing big. Plus, as long as you’re above a break-even rate, you’ll always be profitable.

The main disadvantage is that you also most likely won’t win any substantial amount unless you have a sizable bankroll or are willing to make bets that have very high betting odds.

The Miller System

Developed by J. R. Miller and JV Miller, The Miller System is a two-part betting system more suitable if you already have some betting experience. The first part of the strategy revolves around betting on events that have odds as close to 50/50 as possible.

The second part of The Miller System includes having a strict bet sizing strategy. More precisely, you should always bet only one percent of your bankroll until your overall bankroll increases by 25% and only then increase your bet sizes.

For example, if you start with a bankroll of $500, you should bet $5 per game. As your bankroll grows 25% more to $625, your bet size should increase to $6.25.

This is also a fairly safe betting system like the flat betting strategy. That said, the main thing to keep in mind with this system is that you need to get around 53% of all of your bets right to be profitable.

The Kelly Criterion

The Kelly Criterion is one of the most popular sports betting bankroll management strategies but also the most complicated of the four we’ll talk about in this guide.

To use this strategy, you need to follow a precise betting formula to calculate how much to wager. This formula is: (b x p – q) / b = f. Here’s what each of the letters represents in this equation:

  • b – The return based on the bet’s odds (For instance, a bet with 2.0 odds lands you a $10 profit on a $10 bet).
  • p – The probability of winning the bet, from 0 to 100%.
  • q – The probability of losing the bet must be reciprocal with the winning probability.
  • f – The total percentage of your bankroll that you should bet on the game.

To better understand how this works in practice, here’s a real-life example.

Let’s say that you want to bet on a football team with 2.5 winning odds. The probability of the team winning is 0.42, and the probability of them losing is 0.58.

The formula would look like this: (1.5 x 0.42 – 0.58) / 1.5 = 0.33. In this scenario, the Kelly Criterion advises you to bet 3.3% of your total sports betting bankroll on this game.

There are also different variants of the Kelly Criterion. Some are riskier and more aggressive, while others are more conservative. The most notable types include the Constant Kelly, the Full Kelly, and the Fractional Kelly.

The Fibonacci Sequence Strategy

The Fibonacci Sequence money management for sports betting system is based on the famous mathematical sequence of the same name.

In basic terms, the Fibonacci Sequence is a series of numbers that begins with the numbers 1 and 2. Each following number is the sum of the previous two numbers in the sequence.

For instance, the sequence goes like this: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, and so on.

Applying this sequence when sizing your sports bets is quite simple. To make it even more straightforward, you can start with 1 or 10 as your bet size.

So, for example, you could make your first bet $10 and keep following the sequence while you’re winning.

When you lose a bet, you go one number back in the sequence. This can be a very profitable betting strategy but is also very risky, as you can end up losing a large amount of money after a series of winning bets.

Useful Sports Betting Money Management Tips for Beginners

Sports betting bankroll tips

Making a living from sports betting while enjoying the games you bet on is a dream of many fans, but we all have to start somewhere.

If you’ve never used a sports betting bankroll management strategy before, these four tips will help you start on the right track:

1. Keep Track of Everything

If you want to treat your sports betting ventures like a business, the first thing you should do is start keeping track of all of the bets you make.

Moreover, keep detailed data on how much you bet, whether you win or lose, and how much money your bankroll goes up or down.

The easiest way of doing so is by creating an Excel file, which will provide you with a streamlined overview you can go back to whenever you need to.

2. Analyze Your Results

If you apply the first step, you can also employ this second one and make sure you improve with time. More precisely, you should analyze your performance every month or two.

Assess whether you’re winning more bets than you’re losing, how has your sports betting bankroll changed, and what bets have brought or lost you the most money. This way, you know what to change going into the future so you can be more successful.

3. Never Bet Under the Influence

Sometimes it’s nice to have a few drinks when watching a game. Although this can be a fun way of making it more exciting, it’s precisely when you should avoid betting.

If you’re set on betting on the specific game, the best way to go about it is to make all of your bets before you start drinking.

That way, you can enjoy the game without risking your bankroll due to making decisions while being under the influence.

4. Never Bet When Overly Emotional

Lastly, another thing to keep in mind to make sure you don’t waste your bankroll on silly bets is to never make sports bets when you’re feeling emotional.

Generally speaking, sports games always put us on a roller coaster of emotions, so there’s no way to avoid this entirely.

That said, you should make bets with your brain, not your heart. No matter how you’re feeling, you should always follow your bankroll management strategy. It’s your safeguard that prevents you from needlessly losing money.

Money Management in Sports Betting – Summing It Up

Sports betting bankroll management is undoubtedly the boring part of betting on your favorite games and events. But, if you’re going for longevity and want to win more money than you lose, it’s one of the most important factors to consider.

If you want to become a professional sports bettor one day, you need to start treating it like a business right away. This includes educating yourself on different bankroll management strategies, the bulk of which we’ve covered in this detailed guide.

Making the right bets is just a part of the equation. Knowing how to manage your money is arguably equally as important.

So, make sure to remember the tips and advice we’ve shared with you on this page, protect your bankroll, and always make knowledgeable decisions when betting.

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