Bankroll Management in Sports Betting: A Guide on How to Make a Profit Cover

Bankroll Management in Sports Betting: A Guide on How to Make a Profit

by Oddspedia Experts
Reading time 9 min
Although sports betting is a hobby for most, there are many people who want to take betting seriously by making huge profits. Becoming a professional bettor is challenging, but with the right guidance, you can actually achieve it. If this is your goal, then you should pay close attention to this bankroll management review.
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What Is Bankroll Betting Management?

Before you read anything about bankroll management, you first have to understand what the term bankroll means. Bankroll is the money that sports bettors set aside for betting.

There is a rule that states “you should never bet more than you can afford to lose”.

Considering this statement, many sports bettors choose to keep aside some money for betting. Once you have already known how much money you will gamble with, you have to start proper bankroll management. It simply involves setting some personal rules on how best you can allocate and use the funds on sports betting.

Bankroll management focuses on two key aspects: units and bet tracking. There are also different bankroll management systems that can be used to achieve your goals and the right bankroll size. Generally speaking, betting bankroll management helps you boost your wins and avoid losing money. It is recommended for new sports bettors, and for professional sports bettors alike.

The Importance of Bankroll Management

Becoming a successful sports bettor needs you to be knowledgeable about the sports betting world and have a Bankroll Management System - you should know how to handle your money if you want a successful sport betting career. The way you handle your money makes the difference between winning big and making constant losses. There are many benefits of bankroll management but the outstanding ones are:

  • It limits your chances of losing your entire bankroll
  • Prevents you from going for the big score
  • It helps you survive multiple losses in a losing streak

These are just but a few benefits of bankroll management that can help you become a profitable sports bettor.

A Starting Bankroll - How Much To Start With?

The first thing about betting bankroll management is deciding how much you will have in your bankroll. As stated earlier, a bankroll is money you set aside for the purposes of betting. You should make rationally correct decisions when betting money and the only way to do this is by separating your money. Now that you have to set aside money for sports betting, how much should you put in your bankroll? It depends on your current living financial situation. It is recommended you start with a number that you can afford to lose.

How To Decide The Optimal Wager Size For Each Bet

Now that you have already decided on your total bankroll, it is time to take a look at how much you should wager. So, for example, if you have a total bankroll of £500, your goal will be to make some profit out of that slowly. This means that the amount will be split into different wagers. As you do this, you should be ready to lose several bets before you can realise some profits. The general rules state that for a conservative sports bettor, the bets should be 1%-2% of the bankroll. For the average bettors it is 3% and for aggressive online bettors 4% - 5%.

Key Principles

Proper bankroll management is important if you want a profitable, long-term sports betting experience. There are simple practices that will help you use your bankroll well. First and foremost, you should never wager money you cannot afford to lose. You should also use units and keep track of your bets. Below are some helpful principles that will help you win:

Use Units

Units have always been used in sports betting because they make it easier to compare results between bettors. That is because if one punter has a £10,000 bankroll and another one a£1,000 bankroll, it is unfair comparing which one made more money wagering. By setting a unit size you will be able to determine how much you can bet in relation to your bankroll. For instance, if you have a unit size of £100 and you are up £500, it means that you are up by five units.

Track Your Bets

As long as you are into sports betting, you will always have to keep track of your bets. Regardless of which system you use, tracking your bets is very important. By tracking your bets, you will acquire knowledge that will help you audit your performance. Also, it will help you understand which sports are killing your bankroll and the ones that are boosting it. All this data can only be ascertained through tracking your results.

Do Not Involve Emotions

In sports betting, there is always the risk of losing as in all gambling. So, you should always prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best. Bet with your head and not your heart just because it is your favourite team does not mean they will win your bet.

One of the most important things, before you start betting, should be coming up with a bankroll. Ensure you only bet with what you can afford to lose. With the bankroll, you can actually make decisions clearly since you have already set aside money for your daily life.

Use Data And Make Smart Bets

Once you have already set aside money for sports betting, now you will want to see how much profit that money can make you. A long-term betting strategy is one that requires you to find out a team’s information on past performances. This should give you helpful insight into the best team to bet on. In short, you have to do a lot of betting analysis before you place any bets.

Bankroll Management Strategies

Obviously, punters do not have to bet using the same amount of money on each game. There are a variety of sports betting bankroll management strategies you can incorporate into your betting. In this section, you will find several strategies that will help with your bankroll management. Some good examples are the fixed stake strategy, fixed unit model and variable stake. The fixed stake bankroll management strategy (fixed unit model) is the most common way of wagering. It simply involves placing the same number of units on all the bets you place.

Note that other personal trends might cause a fluctuation in the bet amount. On the other hand, there is the variable stake strategy which involves calculating the value of your bets. This way, you can put more money towards the bet that has better value. Below are other common strategies for sports betting bankroll management.

Flat Betting Model

The flat betting model is one of the simplest strategies around, and it is also the safest in the long term. This sports betting strategy involves setting your unit size and then betting one unit for each wager. Your confidence level, betting form or odds do not matter. The only thing you consider is if you want to work with the “win” method or the “risk” method.

You can go with the “risk method” on Moneyline underdogs and the “to win” method on spread bets. However, the final decision comes down to the option that makes you comfortable.

Percentage Model

This bankroll management model resembles the fixed unit model. The only difference is that instead of betting the same amount at the start of your bankroll, it takes a percentage of the bankroll as it stands. For example, if you have a bankroll total of £1,000, and you have 1 unit worth 2% of the bankroll, the opening wager would have been 2%. But, this number can fluctuate daily. In case your bankroll rises to £1,100, your wager rises to £22. On the other hand, if it falls to £800, your wager will fall to £16.

The percentage model takes advantage of a winning streak, thus giving you a chance to win more for longer periods. But, if you make more losses, it takes longer to get out of that.

Potential Return Model

The previous two models mostly take the bankroll size into account, but the potential return model takes the odds into account. Rather than wagering one unit per bet, you try to win one unit per bet. Say, team A is competing against team B in a game and the odds are at -110. In such a case, instead of betting a unit, you bet 1.10 units, so that the win is 1.0. One advantage of this model is that it greatly takes into account that the favourite team wins more often and the underdogs lose frequently. Thus, more money is put on the favourites. This model is best if you tend to be more lucky backing favourites.

Many of the principles and strategies mentioned above will help you stay rooted in financial stability. Learning and developing money management systems will help you manage your capital and earn more profits. And thus avoid poor bankroll management. Here are some of the popular systems that will help boost your bankroll:

Kelly Criterion

The Kelly Criterion model takes the confidence model and makes it better. There are different kinds of Kelly including the Full Kelly, Fractional Kelly, Half Kelly and Quarter Kelly. Instead of working with the confidence level during each pick, you try determining the exact winning percentage you ought to get for each wager. You then take that number and use the following formula:

  • (Decimal odds of your wager * win probability – loss probability) / Decimal odds of your wager = suggested wager %

D'alembert Strategy For Bank Management

The D’Alembert strategy is similar to Martingale, the only difference is that the former uses algebraic instead of a geometric sequence. It is named after the 18th – century scientist D’Alembert who was a mathematician and physicist. The system has two main rules:

  • Betting odds have to be more than 2.0 for the events
  • The maximum amount for your first bet should not exceed 1/20 of your bankroll

Oscar Grind Strategy

This is a system that is used by bettors on wagers where the eventual outcome is evenly distributed. It is a positive progression strategy and it is also known as the Hoyle’s Press. The Oscar Grind system works in the following manner:

  • You bet 1 unit, in case you win, the cycle ends and you start again
  • If you lose, you keep going as follows: keep the bet the same size, if you are winning, you can increase the bet size by 1 (unless this will give a total profit for the cycle that is more than 1)
  • When the cycle gets to a 1 unit profit, it ends


This is a bankroll management model based on the Fibonacci sequence. The Fibonacci sequence starts with the numbers 1 and 2 and each number is usually the sum of the two numbers before it (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 24 and so on). Calculating the sequence and using it in betting is very easy. You start with 1 as the bet size and then move to the next step after winning. When you lose, you move down two steps.

If you bet too large of a percentage, you will run out of money. On the other hand, if you bet a small percentage for a longer period, you might be making tons of losses. The best way to go about it is by splitting punters into three risk windows. The risk window you fall into depends on the risk you are willing to accept and the bet sizes. The more risk you accept, the higher the percentage of your bankroll will be placed correctly. Here is a look at the different risk windows:

  • Low risk-the percentage of bankroll is 0% - 2% and it is the safest of the three options. Your chances of running out of money are lower but you will only land on small profits
  • A neutral Risk-percentage bankroll of 0% - 4% and it is for punters who are a little serious about betting.
  • The high-Risk-the percentage of bankroll is 0% - 5% and it is for people who take betting seriously. If you need some extra risk, then this is the best window for you

Pros vs Cons
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  • It limits making losses - Proper bankroll management ensures that you do not keep losing constantly which can affect your bankroll in the long run. If you do not deviate from the guidelines, you will greatly reduce the number of times you keep losing to online bookmakers.
  • Helps you survive losing streaks - Long-term downward trends can affect your bankroll but proper money management helps balance between your wins and losses
  • It keeps you from going for the big score - For example, you have won six bets in a row and you are very confident as your bankroll grows. You might get tempted to go big on your next bet, but bankroll management strategies help prevent this
  • You can lose all your bankroll due to poor management
  • The odds of making money in the long term are low

Sports Betting Bankroll Management FAQ

How Much Of My Bankroll Should I Bet With?

It is highly recommended that beginners stick to the 1% - 2% unit size. Others can try working with bets worth 1% - 3% of their bankroll.

💶 How Do I Choose A Bank Management System?

There are many popular betting strategies and systems to consider, each with its own benefits and downsides. It is important you stick to a strategy that fits your needs depending on the sports you like to bet on.

💳 Do I Need To Keep Track Of Sports Bets In Bankroll Management?

Yes, keeping track of sports bets is very important. So keep track of the games you are choosing, the ones you are winning and losing. You can do this on a spreadsheet.

🤔 What Is A Stop-Loss Limit?

A stop-loss limit is an amount a bettor is willing to lose while betting in a given period before stopping. The most crucial attribute in keeping your bankroll healthy is self-control.

Does The Type Of Bet Affect The Size Of The Bankroll?

Yes, the type of bet affects the size of your bankroll. Riskier bets may lead to a series of losses that can quickly deplete your bankroll. That is why you should place smart and informed bets which are in accordance with the size of your bankroll. This way you can increase the longevity of your bets

🏆 What Is The Most Reliable Bank Management Strategy?

The flat betting system is one of the Most Reliable Bank Management strategies. It involves betting the same amount of money on every game. So, you only risk 1% to 5% of your bankroll per stake.

💶 How Do I Calculate Profit?

Gambling is mathematics and you have to do some calculations at some point. The good news is that the best online betting sites will provide you with a betting odds calculator that figures out the possible payout automatically. For manual calculations you can follow these steps:

  • Odds (In Decimals) X Stake = Winning
  • Subtract the original bet from your winnings

💳 How Much Can I Make As A Sports Bettor?

The amount of profit you make greatly depends on the gambling site you choose, and the betting strategy you choose. But as long as you apply the strategies explained in this review, your bankroll should remain healthy.

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This article was written by our team of betting experts, any contributing references are noted below.
Last updated 24/08/2022
  1. Larking, R. (2021a, September 16). Gambling 101: What is Bankroll Management? Sports Illustrated.
  2. Purdum, D. (2021, August 11). Rookie bettors camp - Ultimate bankroll survival guide. ESPN.Com.
  3. Market Closure. (2022). Https://Www.Mrgreen.Com/En.
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