How to Manage Bankroll in Sports Betting

Table of Contents

In sports betting, being the champ of predictions is not the only thing that’ll make you big bucks. You must learn to manage your bankroll effectively as well.

Sports Betting isn't a Game of Thrones but rather a game of risks. Each bet comes with the potential for profit or loss, and the decision on how much to wager on an event is entirely in your hands.

Despite having extensive knowledge about sports and the industry, some people make the mistake of putting all their money on a single bet, often driven by aggression or emotions. Not a smart move!

Such instances occur because bettors often overlook the most important thing – their bankroll. They end up losing all that they have saved and ultimately lose their financial stability. 

As per a news report, “Ever since the Supreme Court legalized sports betting in 2018, $245 billion has been lost on sports betting by Americans.” 

Avoid playing random shots. You must have a clever game plan that is less risky and realistic and doesn't put pressure on your wallet.

In this post, you’ll learn how to build an effective system of bankroll management and help you avoid wagering money cluelessly. After all, you might get lucky, but don’t bet on it.

What is Bankroll in Betting

Your bankroll is basically the cash you’ve set aside specifically for throwing down bets. Simply, think of it as your betting capital or the amount you currently have on sports betting sites. 

It’s the money you’re okay partying with, separate from the essential bills because, let's face it, there’s always a chance you might kiss it goodbye forever. 

What’s A Good Initial Bankroll

If you want to keep things in check, you can decide on a particular budget for your bankroll. You can start off with $200-$500 as your initial bankroll. However, your bankroll ideally should be what you’d spend on any other entertainment stuff.

If luck isn’t on your side, and you end up losing your starting bankroll, it’s a clear sign to hit the brakes. Take a step back, do your research, and find new ways to succeed.

Ways to Effectively Manage Your Bankroll 

Once you learn the art of managing your bankroll, then it all becomes fun and play from there. There’s no need to rely on lady luck when you’ve got the brains to navigate the game like a pro. 

Let’s explore the secret sauce of these expert betters and discover how they skillfully keep their bankroll running smoothly.

Choose the right unit size

Once you have chosen a specific budget that does not jeopardize your financial stability, you can move on to the next crucial step – determine the unit size. Units represent a percentage of the bankroll assigned to each bet. Depending on your bankroll management strategies, the percentage may range from 1%-5%. 1 Unit is equivalent to 1% of your bankroll.

Opt for a lower percentage, and you’re limiting potential losses on a single bet. However, going too conservative might mean missing out on some good opportunities to cash in that come with a slighter aggressive approach.

Avoid Chasing losses

You might get super lucky in the beginning, but things don’t always work out the way you want. When you're on a winning track, the curse of greed takes over. People start to increase their unit size too quickly when they see other people winning like crazyyy…A big mistake!

Another brainless act they do is spend more money in order to cover the loss they incurred on a bet. Don’t let these losses take over your head. The smartest way to go about this is to resist the temptation of earning quick and easy money. Seriously, you’re not gonna become a millionaire overnight. So, stay disciplined with your unit size.

Do your Research and Look For The Winning Edge in Odds

Instead of throwing away your money aggressively, do your homework. Find multiple sportsbooks and choose the one that offers the best options. Look for hints that can give you the upper hand.

Consider team stats, player performance, recent form, injuries, and any other info that can boost your betting decision. In short, the more you know, the better.

Don’t Put Your Entire Money On One Bet

You’re living in a fool’s paradise if you think one bet is gonna turn you into Kerry Packer in one night. You might get lucky, but it’s better to have a backup plan. Consider spreading your bets across multiple opportunities. That way, you won’t get a major hit if you lose your money.

Also, don’t go overboard with the bets in a single day. Stick to a maximum of 3-5 bets in one day. It allows you to concentrate more on quality over quantity, and you can maintain better control over your bankroll.

Monitor Performance and Evaluate Your ROI

Sports betting is a numbers game. If you’re not keeping track of your wins and losses, you’re gonna be surrounded by a messy situation. The best way to track your performance is to use a spreadsheet or apps designed for sports bettors.

Include info about the name and type of bet, the amount you’re betting, the odds offered, and the results. That way, you can easily track your ROI, which is just a fancy word for saying how much you're getting compared to how much you’re putting in.

A positive ROI means you’re going in the right direction, while a negative ROI means you need a change of strategy. 

Avoid Emotional Decision-making

What if you won a big one and started betting aggressively to double the amount? Or start betting mindlessly to cover the loss of your previous bet…Your emotions are your biggest enemy when it comes to gambling. 

When you feel you’re losing it, just take a deep breath and rationalize the situation. Use your head instead of your heart. Stick to a winning strategy and avoid getting overwhelmed by your losses or super excited by your amazing wins.

Pro tip# Limit your bets on weekends as it’s peak time, and bookies know how to take advantage of the crowded situation. Chill and use your strategies during weekdays.

Strategies to Manage Bankroll

Your bankroll management will depend upon the type of strategies you follow. It can either earn you good cash, or you’ll end up all broke!

Flat Betting

If you're a patient guy who wants to enjoy the game in the long run, then flat betting is the easiest strategy to go for. You bet a fixed percentage without worrying too much about odds and other external factors.

You can bet in two ways. Either play, win, or risk. In the winning tactic, the vig takes over. You have to wager 2 units to earn 1 unit, whereas when you're playing in risk mode, you bet 2 units straight to win 1.82 units.

In the beginning, it would feel like earning in pennies, but eventually, it will keep the bankroll preserved and stable.

Aggressive Betting

It's not the most recommended one, but it's definitely the most used one. If you have been in the game long enough, you’ll be able to track the winning pattern quickly. When you believe a bet can offer you a higher ROI, you can wager a higher percentage, like 5%.

This is a more aggressive and risky technique that relies on your confidence level. If you think you can nail it, then you might as well go for it.

Percentage Betting

Another safe and exciting play is to bet a fixed percentage of your bankroll regardless of the type of odds or bets. Let's say you decide to bet 1% of your $1000 bankroll, which would be $10. For each bet, you wager the same percentage.

As your bankroll starts to increase, so does your betting amount, keeping the percentage the same of course. If your bankroll shoots to $2000, your betting amount would also move to $20 (Still 1% of total bankroll).

This method will help you keep track of the ups and downs in your bankroll and plan for what’s next.

Tips to Consider While Betting

  • Avoid alcohol or drugs as they can make illogical emotional decisions rather than rational ones.
  • Don’t stress out too much about your losses. 
  • You can also use online tools to manage your bankroll.
  • Start small and gradually increase. Avoid aggressive betting if you’re a newbie.
  • Search for the best options among the bookies.
  • Stay informed and research.
  • Set realistic goals
  • It’s more of a personal preference thing, but it’s good to withdraw your winnings every now and then.
  • Once you reach a certain milestone, make changes in your strategy, like increasing the fixed percentage on a bet, and track how things are working out.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of bonuses and promotions offered by different betting websites.


You can turn yourself into a savvy bettor with a stable bankroll after following the actionable steps mentioned in this post. Put a set amount of your disposable income into your betting account. Focus on increasing that bankroll rather than putting in more money to cover losses.

If you’re a novice, pick safer strategies like flat or percentage betting. As your experience grows, you can risk a higher amount depending on how confident you are about the outcome. Kick all emotions (except the winning one!) out of the door and learn to strategize like a pro. Remember, there’s always a new tomorrow.

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