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Bankroll Management

Bankroll Management

Sadonna Price
Sadonna Price
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6 Min
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Spend 6 Minutes To Learn

Is Bankroll Important?
How To Choose Your Unit Size
Strategies For Bankroll Management & Unit Sizing

Money management is a key factor in sports betting. Many successful bettors even state that their success in sports betting is determined by how they manage their bankroll.

Due to this importance, bettors of all levels need to know how to manage their betting funds, in addition to shaving off those unhealthy staking habits.

So whether you have a 6-figure bankroll or are just starting with a $500 investment, this guide will show you how to handle your betting funds properly.

Is Bankroll Management Important?

If you’re a newbie, this may be one question that plagues your mind. It’s really easy to dismiss bankroll management when you’re new to sports betting, or if you think that your bankroll is sufficient and doesn’t need any management.

The truth is, bankroll management isn’t a strategy limited to the pros. Regardless of the amount that you’re wagering or whether you’re in it for the short or long term, you need to have a method in place that helps you determine how to best approach your sports bets.

Bankroll management does this by helping bettors determine how much they can wager, size each wager appropriately, and track their wins and losses.

And one of the best things about bankroll management is that it helps bettors avoid chasing losses, which is a major problem that many bettors struggle with.

How To Choose How Much You Should Bet With?

To accurately know how much you should wager each time you place a bet, you need to follow the steps below:

Calculate How Big Your Bankroll Is Going To Be

Each bettor’s bankroll differs in size. Since there is no set standard, each person needs to appropriately measure how much funds will be allocated to their bankroll.

If you’re starting out, put aside a sum that you feel comfortable risking. This means that if you were to lose this amount, it wouldn’t drive you into a financial frenzy.

In fact, this is one of the unstated rules of sports betting: do not risk what you can’t afford to lose.

Also, take into account how frequently you’re going to bet. Someone who places wagers daily will have a bigger bankroll than someone who bets once or twice a month.

Once you’ve decided on an amount, you can deposit it all at once. This will help you avoid constant deposits and withdrawals—which may have fees of their own—and give you a clear picture of how much you have left, making tracking easier.

Alternatively, you can create a separate checking account that will be exclusively used to store your betting funds.

Appropriately Size Your Betting Units

One terminology that is common in betting circles is the term units. Simply put, a betting unit is the standard amount that you stake per bet. Let’s say that you have a bankroll of $10,000, and you wager $100 per bet. That $100 is what forms your betting unit.

Units are also used because bettors like to compare each other’s results, and since each bettor has a different bankroll, units become the default mode of comparison in such scenarios.

How you choose to size a unit will depend on your bankroll. Most bettors are advised to ensure that their unit size is 1-3% of their bankroll; if a bettor wishes to exceed that, then 5% of the total bankroll should be the limit.

So in the above example, a bettor with a $10,000 bankroll who sizes each unit at 2% will be betting around $200 per game if they are betting one unit per game.

Pro bettors are usually rigid with their units and rarely ever stake more than 2%. A few reasons why it’s advisable to stick to the lower end of the recommended 1-3% is because a low unit size gives a bettor enough room for error and also instills betting discipline.

Constantly Adjust Your Bankroll

Betting isn’t as straightforward as many would like to think. Losing runs are common, and so are winning streaks. What makes or breaks bettors is how they adjust to the situations that they find themselves in.

If you’ve gone through a period of great fortune, you should withdraw some profit and then resize your bankroll accordingly to ensure that you’re betting more while your units remain at the recommended 1-3%.

Your confidence might tempt you to up your units when you’re on a good run but never place more than 5%. Remember, fortunes can easily change in betting.

On the other hand, if you’re suffering from continual losses and can’t pick a winner to save your life, you also need to adjust your bankroll accordingly.

Though one may be tempted to increase their unit size during such runs in the hopes of recouping more, falling into this temptation may create greater problems.

Even the pros lose; no one is immortal when it comes to sports betting. Always remember that winning and losing is a part of the game. So stay disciplined and always stick to the recommended unit size.

In the end, you’ll eventually grow your bankroll using measured strategies.

Bankroll Management & Unit Sizing Strategies

Some bettors rarely ever place a single unit per game. This is because certain factors dictate how they approach each game.

Since these factors can sometimes be too many to consider, the best approach is to opt for a bankroll management strategy to help the bettor size their units and their bets. Additionally, sticking to one strategy gives a bettor a streamlined approach to betting.

Each strategy has its own merits, so your pick will mostly come down to preference and how best the strategy works for you.

The four common management strategies used by sports bettors are discussed below:

Fixed Unit

This is the easiest strategy to use to size your bets. You bet the same amount of units per game, which, in this case, is always going to be one unit.

So it doesn’t matter how impressive your betting form has been, how confident you are about an upcoming game, or how great the odds of an upcoming event are; you simply bet one unit regardless of all the above factors.

New bettors are always advised to follow this strategy because of its simplicity; minimal calculations and a straightforward approach mean that everything is easily trackable.


If you constantly find yourself gauging bets by using confidence as a measurement, then this strategy may be apt for you. Using this strategy, you bet more units on games that you’re more confident about.

So if you usually bet one unit on a normal wager, you can bump it up to two or three units for the picks that you’re confident about.

It’s best to have a model that helps you assess the returns from extremely confident picks rather than going with gut instinct.

Spreadsheets can be useful here because you can track the bets you place and then rank them from 1-5 based on how confident you were when you placed them. From there, it’s easy to come up with a simple model that works for you.

The Kelly criterion model is often attached to this strategy because its mathematical formula shows investors the exact amount they need to risk per investment. Some pro bettors use it as their go-to confidence model.


The percentage model is also commonly favored among sports bettors. It bears a certain similarity to the above-mentioned fixed unit strategy because the percentage to be wagered will always remain the same.

The difference here is that the percentage may be rigid, but the amount to be wagered will constantly fluctuate based on wins and losses.

Let’s say that you start with a $1,000 bankroll and size each unit at 2%; the first bet that you place will be a $20 bet, and thereafter the next bet that you place will be 2% of the amount remaining in your bankroll after the result of the first bet has been decided.

So this strategy can be good when you’re on a hot streak since you’ll earn more by simply winning more without adjusting your unit size. However, if you go on a losing run and use this strategy, it will be harder to claw your way back up.

Potential Return

This strategy takes into account the betting odds of an event.

If an event has higher odds, you wager fewer units on that event. If an event has lower odds, you bet more units on that event. This way, no matter the odds, you can standardize the potential return.

Always Track Your Bets

Regardless of the strategy that you end up employing, always remember to track your bets.

Good bankroll management relies on one’s betting habits, and the only way to know your habits is by tracking your bets. Bettors who track their bets end up knowing which habits are profitable and which ones are a major deterrent to their bankroll’s growth.

Tracking your bets will also expose you to your strengths and weaknesses in betting. You might realize that you’ve nailed 4/5 spreads, while only 1/6 over/unders have gone your way. This will make you shift your focus from game totals to point spreads and will end up being a massive boost to your bankroll.

Final Word On Bankroll Management

It may take a while to adopt some of the rigid principles associated with bankroll management, and it’s understandable if such info seems daunting to new bettors.

So if you’re new to betting, just set aside an amount that you wish to bet with, try as many strategies as you can until you land on the perfect one, and learn from any mistakes you make.

In time, you’ll have complete control of your betting habits and you’ll be managing your bankroll like a seasoned pro.

Thirsty For More Betting Knowledge? Check Our Gambling Education Hub.


About the author

For almost two decades, Sadonna has remained at the forefront of the gambling industry in the US and abroad, covering the latest news and legal update...

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