Money management in sports betting is of the utmost importance to your overall success when striving to become a long term winner. Without the ability to know how much to bet you will without a doubt, lose.
Money Management when wagering on sporting events is just as important as having the ability to pick more winners than losers. In fact, money management is more important because when done properly, it limits your losses and maximizes your profits.
95% of those that will ever bet on sports, will do so in a recreational manner. Less than 5% of sportsbettors can be classified as professionals, contrary to what you read on the internet.
This article is geared towards the 95%. We’ll give you a very simplistic approach to managing your sportsbetting bankroll. First, we will briefly discuss the pros.
Money Management Pro Style
Every professional sports bettor uses some form of the Kelly Criterion which the late great Huey Mahl is credited with applying to sports betting. I say some form, because in many instances it has been tweaked and optimized.
The pro’s I know of use an excel spreadsheet with everything programmed into it. All they need to do is enter their bet amounts and results and the sheet takes care of the rest. They are on auto pilot if you will.
There’s much more to it in terms of how the pro bettors manage their bankrolls, specifically, the tweaks and modifications they have made to Huey Mahl’s work.
Some of that has to do with taking “dividends” and adjusting the bet size. So, it’s auto pilot but with some human intervention.
But this article intends to focus on how the recreation player can apply some of these principles.
It’s Not Rocket Science!
The idea behind the Kelly Criterion money management system is that if you knew the exact win percentage you would hit, the system will tell you the optimal bet size.
In other words, if every bet you make has a 55% chance of winning, then theoretically you should hit 55% over the long term. In that scenario, the Kelly system says 5.5% of your bankroll per play.
Of course, no one knows what their winning percentage will be over the course of a season, but I can certainly tell you what you won’t hit.
If you could hit 59% long term (over many tears) then Kelly says you should bet 13.9% per play.
No one reading this will ever hit 59% long term. Sure, when you float around the net you’ll see all kinds of claims. None are true, period. Somewhere between 54% and 57% is attainable. Though in most cases, it will be closer to the 54%.
Our Key Releases have hit a steady 55% over 25 years. That’s damn good. We’ve had some incredible 60% seasons and yes, we have had losing seasons. Mix it all together over two and a half decades and it’s around 55%. We’ll take it.
Simple Sports Betting Money Management
If you’re good, and work your tail off you may be able to attain a winning percentage somewhere between 54% and 56% A 54% win percentage would translate into risking 3.4% per play. A 55% win rate would mean 5.5% per play.
So, splitting the difference between the above percentages would be 4.45%. We will use extra caution and be a little more conservative. We’ll use 4% as our number.
First, you must have a set bankroll. An amount of money you set aside for the sole purpose of wagering on sports. Let’s use $5000 for our example. 4% of 5000 is $200. So you’re starting unit size would be $200.
If you go 5-0 your first week, you’re bankroll is now $6000. You’re new wager amount is $240. You’ll be betting more when winning and less when losing.
Another option for recreational bettors is to flat bet. In this instance, you would still start with that 4% of bankroll, $200 in our example. The difference being, you would never stray from that fixed figure all year. $200 on every play from start to finish.
There are all kinds of discussions online about whether flat betting or some version of the Kelly system are better.
Truth is, for most people that will ever wager on sports, either method will be sufficient. Either method will serve it’s purpose which is to add some structure and stability to your wagering.
Resist the urge to load up on games you really like. Don’t chase you’re losses. Don’t try to play catch up.
Managing your money properly will insure that you get as much enjoyment as possible out of what can be a fantastic hobby, betting on sports. With a little luck and skill, you’ll come out ahead of the game. You can’t say that about many hobbies!