So, you’re getting into sports betting.
But it isn’t as simple as just placing bets on the games you like. Well, I guess it could be, however, you won’t be in business for very long.
The truth is, you have to exercise more than a modicum of fiscal responsibility and learn how to properly manage your bankroll if you want to bet all season long. And the easiest way for me to put this into perspective for you readers is like this: Sports investing is a war of attrition, not a get rich quick scheme. You can find more on sports betting bankroll management here.
People love to think that they can just drop a ton of cash on a game and they are going to rolling around in a pile of money. I have unfortunate news for you: it’s not that easy. You can just as easily lose all of that money; it’s 50/50. And the universe seems to respond in the negative when we take that approach.
One to Three
Did you pick up on the clever little play on words I just made? One to three percent of your total bankroll is what you should bet.
But why, you might ask?
If you only have a $1000 bankroll and you are betting the standard $100 per game, just a couple of bad nights will put you out of business. If you lose five games, your bankroll is suddenly struck down to $500. Then you are apt to start chasing the dragon, so to speak, and a couple more losses and you’ve lost it all.
If you keep your action between 1% and 3% you’re betting between $10 and $30 per play. Like I said above, it’s not a get rich quick scheme, it’s a war of attrition. Betting smaller while building your bankroll makes it so you can afford a series of bad beats. Instead of only being able to afford a grand total of 10 plays, you can make between 33 and 100. So, for me, I stick to $20 bets (2%) while building my bankroll. As I make more money, I slowly increase my unit size accordingly.
This is because you are going to lose roughly half of the time. And given the bookie rake, winning 50% of the time makes you a loser. You need to win at least 54% of the time to turn any sort of profit — and that all depends on how much effort you put into finding the best lines. If you are getting hit with extra juice, you’re going to have to win at a higher percentage. If you find lines with reduced juice, say, -104, your profit margin is slightly better, about 5 cents on the dollar. Over time this adds up to either more winnings or the ability to take extra losses and still break even or turn a profit.
Another principal aspect of bankroll management is to only bet games that you are sure you have some sort of advantage on. When I say that, I mean against the betting lines. Sportsbooks and other media outlets will have you believe that it’s you against the rest of the public. That is a bold-faced lie. It’s you against the line the sportsbook sets. Sure, the public action or even sharp action (smart money) might force the books to adjust the lines, which could push them in or out of your favorite regardless, it’s you against the book. So, only make plays where you have found a definitive advantage against the lines. Couple that with only risking 1% to 3% of your bankroll, and you’ll be betting all season long and well on your way to a profit.
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