How To Manage Your Sports Betting Bankroll

You’ve decided to try your hand at sports betting or some other form of gambling. You’ve done your research, picked a strategy, and now you’re ready to put some money on the line. But before you dive in headfirst, there’s one crucial thing you need to consider: sports betting bankroll management. How you handle your money will ultimately determine whether you end up a winner or go broke in the long run.

Too many times I have come across to a post on Reddit, Twitter or any social media to be honest, a punter betting probably his last $100 to a MLB parlay in the hopes of making 10x or more. Just going with a gut feeling, no research about the pitchers, team form, injury list – you name it. All resulting (surprise surprise) to a loss. Next comes the tilt, and the hopeless punter eagerly waits for his next paycheck to make the same mistakes over and over again.

What is Bankroll Management

Bankroll management means effectively managing and allocating your betting funds in a way that minimizes risk and maximizes the potential for long-term profitability. It is a critical aspect of sports betting and gambling in general, as it helps you to maintain control over your finances and make informed decisions when placing bets

Even the sharpest sports bettors and card counters can see their bankrolls wiped out by poor money management. The ups and downs of gambling mean that losing streaks are inevitable, no matter how good you are. The key is having a working plan and stick to it. If you go into gambling without a solid bankroll strategy, you’re basically just throwing darts at a board and hoping you get lucky. But with the right steps, you can turn the odds in your favor and come out ahead.

The Importance of sport betting bankroll management

When it comes to sports betting (and any gambling in general), bankroll management is absolutely crucial. If you want to actually make money instead of inevitably losing it, you need to go in with a smart strategy.

bankroll management in sports betting

Here you can see a simulation done with 250 bets of a coinflip scenario where you win 51% of the time. However with small sample size luck plays it’s part and you might end up ruining your bankroll when betting too heavy with too small of an edge. In the long run with thousands of bets with similiar edge this scenario is always profitable. But as a reminder, don’t bet too heavy when you don’t have enough conviction and expected value. And never chase losses!


A bankroll is the amount of money set aside entirely for sports betting activities. The money used for betting should not interfere with regular living expenses, so the bankroll should be an amount that doesn’t cause difficulties in your everyday living costs. This way, even during a losing streak, the funds for daily expenses remain unaffected.

Think of the bankroll like a bank account. Bets are placed using the money from the bankroll, and winnings are added to it. Bets are always calculated based on the current size of the bankroll to ensure that the stakes and risks remain appropriate.

The size of the bankroll depends on the individual player, their investment assets, and how much of it they are willing to allocate for sports betting. It is basically impossible to determine the minimum size of the bankroll since it depends on the player’s success, management costs, and their risk profile. Players with small bankrolls may not be able to diversify across multiple bookmakers, which can reduce potential profits. To improve returns, a player can significantly benefit by spreading the bankroll across different bookmakers and always choosing the best available odds for their bets.

How Much Of My Bankroll Should I Bet?

Never bet more than 1-5% of your bankroll on any single wager. If your bankroll is $2,500, don’t bet more than $25-$125 on any single bet. This limits your risk of ruin and ensures you don’t go broke quickly. Here we look at some of the most used betting models by sport bettors.

Most used Bankroll Management Strategies

Confidence model

The Confidence Betting Model is a strategy where the bettor assigns a confidence rating to each bet, typically on a scale of 1 to 10. The higher the confidence, the larger the bet size. For instance, if a bettor rates their confidence in a bet as 8 out of 10, they might wager a larger amount compared to a bet rated 5 out of 10. This model allows the bettor to capitalize on their stronger predictions while still having smaller bets on less confident selections.

Kelly Criterion model

The Kelly Criterion Model is a more advanced betting strategy that takes into account the bettor’s edge and the odds offered by the sportsbook. It helps determine the optimal bet size to maximize long-term growth of the bankroll. Read this blog post to learn more about the Kelly Criterion.

Percentage Model

The Percentage Betting Model is similar to the Units Betting Model, but instead of a fixed unit size, the bettor wagers a certain percentage of their total bankroll on each bet. The percentage can be adjusted based on the perceived confidence in the selection. For example, if a bettor has a bankroll of $1,000 and bets 2% of it on each wager, they would bet $20 on a $1,000 bankroll. If their bankroll increases to $1,200, their bet size would become $24.

Units betting model

The Units Betting Model is a straightforward approach that involves using a fixed unit size for each bet Think about your bankroll as units. 1% = 1u. I recommend betting 1-3 units on a single bet at all times. This model helps you to manage your bankroll effectively, especially during streaks. For example, if a bettor has a bankroll of $1,000 and uses a 2% unit size, one unit would be $20. If they are very confident in a particular wager, they might bet 2 or more units on that selection.

Use Data and Track your results

To successfully manage your bankroll, you need to track your wins and losses. Some useful tools can help.

Bankroll Tracker Spreadsheet

Create a simple spreadsheet to log each bet you make. I can recommend  Excel Betting Tracker which is free and I’ve been using. Record the date, event, type of bet, amount wagered, and outcome (win or loss). This allows you to see at a glance how your bankroll balance is trending over time. If you see losses piling up, it may be time to reevaluate your strategy. A basic spreadsheet is easy to set up yourself, or you can find templates online to get started.

Betting Tracker Apps

For those who prefer mobile apps, there are free sports betting tracker tools you can download to your phone or tablet. Apps like Pikkit and Betsperts offer an easy way to track your bets on the go. They provide stats like your win percentage, return on investment (ROI), and streaks to help determine what’s working and not working. Some also allow you to connect with other sports bettors to share tips and advice.

Advanced Betting Analytics Tools

Once you get serious, consider analytics tools. These provide sophisticated features to analyze your betting performance in depth. They track multiple seasons and sports, filter by bet type or league, provide graphs and visual reports, calculate key stats, and even optimize your staking strategy based on your risk profile. The insights they yield can help transform you into a disciplined, data-driven bettor.

Using tools to analyze your bets will keep you accountable and help build better habits. See what’s boosting your bankroll and cut out what’s draining it. Make data-driven decisions instead of emotional ones. With the right technology and discipline, you’ll be managing your bankroll like a pro in no time.

Make informed and smart bets

Always do your research. Don’t just bet on your favorite team or go with your gut. Study the teams, matchups, and stats to determine where the value lies. The more you know, the better your chances of winning. When I was new to sports betting, I too used to fall the trap of betting my favorite team. Well, at the time it was not about making profit, more like chasing thrills, which is totally fine if you are just betting casually, and don’t actually have any issues losing the bet.

Also, consider hedging to offset losses. If a wager isn’t going your way, you can place a bet on the other side to minimize damage. And if you’re on a losing streak, avoid chasing losses by increasing bet sizes or making reckless wagers. Take a break and make changes to your strategy.

The most important thing is looking for the best odds, focusing on straight wagers over bet builders, and keeping records to analyze what’s working. With experience, you’ll get better at sizing up risks which will allow you to adjust your stakes accordingly.

Take breaks to avoid tilt betting. If you go on a losing streak, take a break to avoid anger or frustration influencing your bets. Tilt betting often leads to losing even more money.

Review and revise. At the end of each month, see if your bankroll management strategy is working. Make changes as needed to improve it. The key is finding what works for your betting style and risk tolerance. Keeping track on your bet sizes, expected value, profit and losses are the foundation of profitable betting. Learn the basics of Expected Value here.

Following these tips will help make you a disciplined bettor. While losing is part of the game, good bankroll management means you’ll always have money left to play, and when the wins come, they’ll be bigger. Stay patient and stick to the strategy.

Conclusion: sports betting Bankroll Management Principles

Set a Budget

Determine the amount of money you are willing and able to lose on sports betting. This is your bankroll

Define Unit Size

Establish a fixed unit size or percentage you will wager on each selection

Avoid Chasing Losses

When you find yourself in a losing streak, don’t chase and increase betting sizes. This will do nothing more but ruin your bankroll in the long run. Stick to the strategy

Stay Disciplined

Can’t find anything worth betting on? Not enough expected value? Don’t bet. Gut feelings and emotions are not in the equation of being profitable at sports betting.

Manage Risks

Each game you bet is unique, no matter how confident on your pick you are, and how big of a favorite the team you are betting is. There’s always luck involved. Avoid taking too much risks, that involves betting bigger than you should.

Use Betting Models

Units Betting Model, Percentage Betting Model and Kelly Criterion are good ones to try out and find which one fits you the best. They help you to keep your betting sizes in check in relation to risk.

Bet Responsibly

Never bet more than you can afford to lose. Responsible gaming ensures that betting remains a form of entertainment.

Review And Adjust

Review your betting performance and adjust your strategies when needed. Your goal is to learn from every bet, losing and winning. aims to promote responsibility in gambling. They provide information to help you make informed decisions about your gambling


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