Sound money management is a critical component of successful sports betting – one that's all too easy to overlook. If you find a truly successful punter who consistently generates profits, you can be certain that effective money management is a key factor.
Money management strategies apply generally to all betting. Your purpose in using these strategies is to preserve profits and reduce financial risk from your betting activities.
The most important money management strategies for punters are to:
- set a betting budget (and stick to it)
- use flat betting
- set a realistic stake value
- set limits on your betting.
Setting a betting budget
Budgeting realistically for your betting activities is the foundation for successful money management. A bankroll is the amount of money you have available to bet. A rule of thumb is that if you can’t contribute to your bankroll without borrowing money or using savings, you should wait until you can. Your bankroll should always be made up of money you can afford to lose.
Using a monthly betting budget is a good way of determining your bankroll and betting responsibly. Consider budgeting the same amounts as you would for any other types of casual entertainment. This will lower your risk of losing more than you can afford to. Just remember to stick to your bankroll budget once you set it by topping it up only once a month. If you ignore your own budget limits, you’re much more likely to engage in risky activities like chasing your losses.
A common mistake that punters make is to randomly vary the amounts of money they stake on each bet. You might be tempted to put a big bet on a “sure thing”, place a smaller bet on a long odds outcome, or even just bet the balance of your bankroll as you try to chase a loss.
This approach has many potential downfalls. It can lead you to make betting decisions based on your emotions and make it difficult to measure the success of your betting activities over the long run. It may also encourage you to aim for large, risky short-term gains rather than focusing on long-term profits.
The simplest way to avoid these potential pitfalls is to use flat betting. This simple money management strategy involves staking the same amount of money every time you place a bet. It’s easy to calculate how well your bets are doing when you use flat betting. You simply divide your winnings by the number of bets you’ve made to calculate your average return on each bet.
Setting a stake value
In conjunction with using flat betting, it’s important to calculate the optimal amount of money to spend on each bet. Experienced sports betting strategists recommend spending 1 to 2% of your bankroll on each bet. If this percentage seems low, consider that using 1% of your bankroll guarantees you at least 100 bets, 2% guarantees you 50 bets and 3% guarantees just 33 bets. Raise the percentage to 10% and you’re guaranteed only 10 bets.
Keeping your stake value at a small percentage of your bankroll gives you more betting opportunities. This means that your bankroll will last longer, and that you’re protected from going bust on long losing streaks. It’s best to base your flat betting stake size on your monthly bankroll budget, rather than on your overall bankroll amount. This is because the size of your bankroll will fluctuate over the course of a month, making it difficult to maintain the correct stake size and use flat betting at the same time.
If you earn an overall profit for a month of sports betting, it’s a good idea to ”bank” your winnings. You can do this by setting the winnings aside as cash or keeping them in a separate bank account. Don’t leave these funds in your account with a bookmaker or you may be tempted to use them to chase losses. Start fresh for the next month, depositing your monthly betting budget into your betting account. Using this technique, you get to watch your profits grow steadily, and you’ll have access to a betting-based savings account when you need it.
Breaking your budget and chasing losses are two things you should avoid at all cost. Fortunately bookmakers allow you to set deposit limits on the accounts you set up with them.
Your bookmaker will also allow you to set an automatic ”cooling off” limit between deposits. Once you’ve deposited funds, you’ll be forced to wait a specified time before making another deposit. If you request a change to the cooling off period, the previous cooling off period will be enforced before the new setting is applied. This is a quick and easy money management strategy for ensuring that you stay within the limits of your budget.