Bankroll Management – Complete Guide for Sports Betting

One of the most underrated aspects of sports betting is the need to have good money management skills. Understanding how to manage your hard-earned money will improve your staking plan. If you do not have a system in place and put an arbitrary amount every time you want to bet, you’ll likely end up losing […]
by Sambafoot Betting

One of the most underrated aspects of sports betting is the need to have good money management skills. Understanding how to manage your hard-earned money will improve your staking plan.

If you do not have a system in place and put an arbitrary amount every time you want to bet, you’ll likely end up losing money in the long run. The good news is you can put this to an end today if you read this guide.

Whether you are a high-roller or a novice bettor, the information here will help you become more profitable in your betting!

What is Bankroll Management?

Your bankroll is the amount you are willing to risk when betting. Bankroll management is a system of balancing your books to make it easy to record higher profits when betting on sports.

There are 3 simple steps to managing your bankroll the right way.

Step 1: Determine the Size of Your Bankroll

Set a budget for the amount of money you are prepared to risk on sports betting. How much you spend will depend on your financial situation, betting skills and level of risk aversion.

The rule is simple: Never bet money that you can’t afford to lose.

Once you’ve established how much you’d be willing to lose, stick with it. Decide how many times you’d like to invest over a given period, as this will determine how much money you spend on sports betting. For example, you may decide to bet once every week or only on major sporting events like the Super Bowl or Champions League finals.

Step 2: Choose a Unit Size

Once you’ve set aside a bankroll amount, the next step is to determine what percentage of your bankroll you will bet on each event. For novice bettors, it’s advisable to have a consistent figure of somewhere between 1-2%. It’s rare to see a professional bettor wager more than 3% of their bankroll on any one event. More aggressive and skilled bettors may consider increasing their unit size to 4-5% of their bankroll.

Step 3: Reevaluate Your Bankroll

Betting is highly dynamic, so your bet size should change throughout your sports betting career. For instance, if you are taking losses, you need to adjust your unit size to avoid losing your entire bankroll. If you are on a bad run, it’s best to sit back and focus to reassess your strategy. Betting with lower stakes will prevent you from suffering high losses.

Importance of Bankroll Management

To start with, bankroll management helps you to gamble responsibly. When applied consistently, it helps you bet within your means and only risk money you can afford to lose. No one should bet with money meant for utility bills and other living expenses.

In this section, we discuss four valuable benefits of having an effective bankroll management system in place.

It Helps You to Avoid Betting When on a Losing Streak

Losing streaks happen to everyone. These are times when nothing seems to go according to plan and you feel you’re losing one wager after another.

At this point, you may be tempted to start chasing your losses. Most bettors increase their stakes hoping that a win will take back their losses. More often than not, this ends badly.

Having a sound bankroll management system can help you resist the temptation to chase your losses when on a losing streak. The premise is that you have fixed rules in place about your betting amount, which makes this a lot easier.

You Don’t Get Carried Away When on a Winning Streak

A similar principle applies when you’re on a winning streak. Just like pro bettors, recreational bettors may seem to get everything right and win every bet they place. While a winning streak is something everyone looks forward to, it does come with potential downsides.

It’s common for punters to increase their stakes significantly when they win a lot. This can be due to a boost in confidence or simply greed. Regardless, it’s still a mistake, just like chasing losses. When it happens, you could easily give away all your winnings on a single bet gone wrong.

Withstand Multiple Losses Without Going Broke

Bankroll management does more than just stop you from chasing your losses. With a staking plan in place, the amount you stake is proportional to the size of your bankroll. If your bankroll starts to decrease due to a bad run, the amount you stake will also decrease, which prevents your bankroll from evaporating too quickly.

If you keep staking the same amount even as your bankroll decreases, you’ll likely end up losing everything. On the other hand, staking a smaller percentage of your bankroll can help it last longer and give you the opportunity to address your mistakes and strategies.

Make More Rational Betting Decisions

Good bankroll management makes the financial aspect of betting less relevant, which can help bettors make rational decisions. Your focus should be on more than just how much money you win or lose on any given wager. Your focus should be on making the right betting decisions. It becomes much easier if you’re not worried about the money involved.

Focusing too much on the profit can make you place unrealistic bets. Many make safe bets to reduce the risk of losing or go for huge odds to try and win big. Neither of these is based on rational thinking. A bankroll management system can help even those who bet for fun in their decision-making process.

Bankroll Management Strategies

Now that you understand why bankroll management is vital to your sports betting success, we will give you a few useful strategies that you can implement right away.

Fixed Unit Model

This is the safest bankroll management strategy and the easiest to use if you are just getting started with sports betting. To implement it, come up with a unit size and then bet exactly one unit for any given wager. This means you’ll always wager only one unit on every pick regardless of form, confidence or odds.

With this strategy, it’s recommended to have a unit size of 1-2 percent of your total bankroll. For instance, let’s say you have about £1000 set aside for sports betting this football season. At a unit size of one percent, you’ll be betting £10 on each wager.

You can also set some milestones on when it makes sense to reassess your unit size. For example, this could be every time your bankroll grows by £100 or £250. Whatever the figure is, just be consistent and stick to your system.

Percentage Model

The percentage model is similar to the flat unit model, but instead of a fixed unit, the percentage of your bankroll is fixed. Let’s say you start with £1000 and have decided that one unit is equal to 1% of your total bankroll. Your starting wager will be £10. However, you can adjust this for every wager.

If you’ve won 1.5 units or £15, your bankroll will be £1015. So, your next wager will be 1015 x .01 = £10.15. If you lose 2 units or £20.30, your new bankroll will be £994.70 and your new unit size will be 994.70 x .01 = 9.947. This means you’d have lost 0.53% of your bankroll despite losing just 0.5 of the unit.

The biggest advantage of this strategy is that it allows you to take advantage of your winning streaks. You will be increasing your betting amount in a responsible manner after each wager, which allows you to make a larger return on investment. The disadvantage is your wager size is going to decrease if your bankroll reduces beyond your initial starting point.

Confidence Model

This strategy allows you to increase the bet amount in games you feel more confident about. Based on your level of risk aversion, you could increase your bet size to two or three units on occasion. Increasing your unit size is not recommended because you might end up eating through your bankroll if you lose on a few high units. Try a 1-3 scale unless your confidence levels have proven accurate.

If you are interested in using this model, we recommend choosing a confidence level in a bet. If it’s low, stick to 1 unit, if medium pick 2 units and if it’s high then go with 3. If you’re not sure where to start, be conservative by using a 2 unit confidence until your confidence levels have worked over a large number of wagers. You could even use a half unit if you like a heavy underdog who is unlikely to win.

This model demands a lot of discipline because it’s easy to go on a winning streak and then lose it. If you decide to go this route, keep a copy of your wagers and be honest with yourself. Remember, if your confidence levels are inaccurate and you’ve gotten into a habit of betting multiple units, you could burn your bankroll quickly.


So there you have it – a complete guide to everything you need to know about a bankroll management strategy. While this is not as exciting as placing wild and fun bets, it’s the surest way to win long term. If you dream of becoming a successful punter and make lots of money betting on sports, then you need to master one or more of the strategies we share here.

Sports Betting Bankroll Management FAQs

Do you have more questions on bankroll management strategies or need clarification on what we’ve discussed in our guide? This section offers answers to frequently asked questions on the topic. Feel free to send us yours and we’ll add it here!

What is value in sports betting?

This is the difference between your estimation of a game outcome and what bookmakers predict. Before placing a bet, you want to ensure that the probability of an event happening is higher than what the bookies anticipate.

How much of your bankroll should you play with?

Professional punters play with 1-3% of their bankroll. We recommended 1-2% for beginners.

How do you build a bankroll?

The right way to build a bankroll is slow and steady. Having a solid bankroll management system is crucial if you want to win in the long term.

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