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Bankroll Management in Sports Betting

Bankroll management in sports betting is just as important as the sport they’re betting on. It’s one of the aspects of gambling no one really talks about, but it’s just as important as anything else.

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Why Are Betting Plans So Important?

Consider this example: you place 4 bets on a weekend and 2 of them win (you lose the 3rd, the 4th is still to come). You’re already in profit, but your final bet is equal to it. You lose and go even for the weekend. So, even if you’ve won half of your bets, you haven’t really won any money. With a good betting plan, however, this could change.

These kinds of situations (or even worse ones) are the main reason why you need to set a limit on your bankroll and stick to it. A good betting plan can make all the difference between losing and winning money. Setting your bankroll before betting will limit your choices a bit, but if it brings you a profit, it’s definitely worth it.

A betting plan and limited bankroll will prevent you from getting carried away and keep your losses at a minimum. Of course, it requires a lot of discipline, but it will help you establish some rules you will get used to in order to become a better punter in the future.

What’s Bankroll Management?

The bankroll is essentially the sum of money we’re planning to spend on a betting session. The betting or staking plan is essentially a set of rules you establish yourself for your betting exploits. You can make up your own, but there are many already created you can easily apply yourself. Once you’ve set the limits and decided on a staking plan, you can start betting.

Sports betting bankroll management
Bankroll Management in sports betting is important

We’ve all been in a good or bad punting streak. Whenever you’re winning, you’re surely satisfied. However, many punters start increasing their stake after a string of losses, hoping to win back their money with a single win.

Chasing your losses is an extremely dangerous gambling habit. Although it might work for some people, it’s hazardous and usually ends up bad. Your chances of winning everything you’ve lost in the previous round are slim at best. If you stake everything you have left on one win that can make it or break it, you have to be aware that you’re risking our whole bankroll.

This is where a staking plan comes in. It will keep your losses at a minimum and help you stay in the game for longer, which is what every punter hopes for.

Staking Plans

There are many staking plans that actually work in sports betting. Of course, you shouldn’t expect to win millions, but they will bring in a profit and make you a more successful punter. First comes the flat-betting method, one of the more popular options for many experienced punters. Flat betting is the simplest staking plan out there. It only requires you to use 1-5% unit size. If you have a bankroll of $100 and you’ve chosen to use a 3% unit size, you should stake $3 on every bet.

It’s a simple approach that will help you track your wins and losses and stop you from betting too much. However, there are other more advanced betting plans such as the Kelly Criterion, percentage and fixed stake methods which can bring a nicer profit.

What’s the Percentage Method?

The percentage method is a simple staking plan. It only requires you to set a percentage of your bankroll you’re going to use on every single even money bet. It can be anything from 1-5% or even more if you’re feeling confident. It will keep your losses at a minimum, but sometimes, you’ll waste a good bet on lower odds and you may also get stuck in a losing rut, potentially losing a lot of money.

What’re Fixed Staking Plans?

Fixed staking plans are as simple as it gets and are great for beginners, unlike variable staking plans. When using a fixed staking plan, you can either use level staking or percentage staking plan – in each of them, you follow a fixed formula for your bets.

If you use a level staking plan, you set a general bet size for all your bets and stick to it. On the other hand, a fixed percentage staking plan requires you to use a fixed percentage bet of your overall bankroll for each one of your bets (for example 2 or 3%). Both are simple to follow for inexperienced punters, so if you’re only now entering the world of sports betting, we suggest you start with them.

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The Kelly Criterion

The Kelly criterion is a staking plan used by serious punters, although many still don’t like it. It’s a variable staking plan used to determine the optimal bet unit size in order to maximize the profits. It’s not great for beginners, though, as it uses an advanced mathematical formula and requires at least a basic understanding of the concept of expected value in sports betting. The Kelly criterion uses the probability of success and failure in order to determine the bets. Knowing these factors is definitely hard in sports betting, but if you know how to predict them, the Kelly formula will work great.

The mathematical formula used by this method works like this – Stake = ((d x s) – f) / d. Don’t worry, we’ll give an explanation for these figures. The d stands for decimal odds; the s is probability of success (either 0 or 1); the f stands for probability of failure. We admit, the formula looks pretty complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you can easily use it.

Let’s try an example. First, imagine you have a bankroll of $500. If you bet on a football team that has about 55% chances of success and the bookie offers even odds (d is 1.0), there’s a 45% probability of failure. So, the formula will be Stake = (1.0 x 0.55%) – 0.45) / 1.0. To save you some time, the formula equals 0.10, which should be the percentage of your overall stake. If your bankroll is $500, your bet size would be $50.

The problem with the Kelly criterion is that correctly predicting the probability of success or failure can be tricky in sports betting. Additionally, the suggested stakes can sometimes be too high of a percentage of your bankroll. So, unless you’re a math genius, we would stay away from it. Some punters use the half or quarter-Kelly approach in order to prevent spending too much money on their bets.

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