The house makes money by people who bet way too much on a single game. If you were a stock investor, you wouldn’t invest your entire portfolio into a single stock that you feel will probably do well. You probably wouldn’t even invest 40% of your money into it. So why in the world would you try to do that with your bankroll and sports? It just doesn’t make sense. Sports investing, like many other advantaged gambles, should be looked at from the perception of the LONG RUN. If we can have a 5% advantage at betting on sports games over 1,000 games, we would be looking at 52.5% vs. 47.5% on bets. That would be 525 winners and 475 losers, meaning if you bet 100 bucks on each bet, you’d be up 5,000 dollars at the end of 1,000 bets. Sound good? Over the long run, you are guaranteed to make money. However if you try to make the quick hit and put 20%+ of your bankroll on your bets, well then you’re basically guaranteed to go broke.
This example should seem like common sense, but almost every person who bets on sports, bets way too much on one game relative to their bankroll. This is one of the main reasons the bookies stay in business and profit. They count on your lack of discipline and let you blow through your money trying to hit it big instead of constantly and consistently winning money. The first lesson on successful bankroll management for sports investors is: Do not bet a significant portion of your bankroll on one game. There is going to be variance in any gamble, advantaged or not. You have to bet within your bankroll to survive the ups and downs that ARE going to happen. The most prominent reason for losing is bad money management techniques, we can erase the biggest reason for losing in sports betting, by just controlling how much we bet on each game.
The second point to good money management can be summed up in two words: Flat betting. This means wagering a similar amount on each game, varying your betting amount doesn’t mean you’re going to be profitable. Please avoid all those props that the bookies like to promote, such as parlays, teasers, round robins, IF bets, etc. The books wouldn’t promoting them if it didn’t advantage them, remember they’re in the business to bleed you dry so they can make profit. These bets are not in your best interest and it is best to stay away from them. Returning to flat bets, the goal here is to maximize your profit, while still keeping enough in your bankroll to combat the losing streaks that are bound to occur.
The question now turns to how much should you be betting on each game? With a short bankroll, I would suggest betting about 5% of your bankroll on each game. Definitely no more than 10% and in fact I would not even recommend betting 10% on each game on a short bankroll, maybe every once in a while, but don’t make a habit of it. Five percent is actually on the higher end of what you should be betting each game. However 5% is safe enough to combat variance, and also provide some action, if you’re betting 1% of your bankroll with a $500 bankroll, well 5 dollars isn’t going to be too exciting for you. On the other hand, 5% of 500 dollars would be 25 dollars per bet and that seems much more worthwhile for your time.
With a larger bankroll, which is dependent on what you can afford and what you consider to be large, but with this kind of bankroll I would recommend betting a smaller percentage of your bankroll. Somewhere between 1-5% of your bankroll should be sufficient, averaging at 2-3% should be good. The reason for this is that you have much more at stake and much more money to defend against the down swings which will occur. Losing a few hundred dollars sucks when you’re betting on sports, but losing a 5 figure or more bankroll can be devastating to you. 2-3% is your best bet, making a nice profit on your investment and limiting you enough to protect your bankroll.
The key to successful money management is to bet flats and to have the discipline to do it EVERY single time. Get the idea of “locks” out of your mind, there are no sure winners in sports. The real sports investors don’t make money by getting lucky and winning a big score one time, they grind out profit, slowly and over time. Don’t look for a quick hit, we don’t try to go 8-0 on the weekend, we’re happy with a 14-8 weekend, because the 8-0 weekend isn’t going to happen every time, however we can manage to score a 14-8 weekend consistently and slowly grind out that profit. Any stock investor would be happy with a 15% return on a week and that should go the same with sports bettors. Using the information given here and with successful money management techniques, you will slowly grow consistent profits over the long run.
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