Effective Sports Betting Money Management

Effective Sports Betting Money Management

Money management, sometimes called bankroll management, is not, strictly speaking, a betting strategy. But it is very important and will influence how you play.

The Pot

Your pot, or bankroll, is the amount you are willing to spend on your betting system over a fixed amount of time. The main benefits of creating one are:

  • To accurately assess the success of your strategy by monitoring your progress
  • To stick to a plan and avoid impulse betting
  • Strong money management can help you stay in a game
  • It helps you decide how much to stake

Money Management Strategies

Once your pot is in place, money management strategy becomes a question of how best to put this pot to good use. There are lots of ways to do this, but we will have a quick look at the most common ones here.

Fixed Stake

Always betting a fixed figure (usually a percentage of your initial pot), lets you apply equal value to all of your betting decisions and allowing the odds to account for variations. This is a safe start for every beginner and can be a good way to ease into regular gambling.

Kelly Criterion

The amount you bet, as a percentage of your bankroll, is calculated by multiplying the odds (in decimal form) by the chances of winning, then dividing by the odds minus one.

For example, let's say you had a bankroll of £1,000 and wanted to bet on Real Madrid to beat Athletico in the Champions League final with Betfair Sports at 1.98, but thought Real had a 75% chance of winning. You'd bet ((1.98 x 0.75) - 1) - (1.98 - 1) = 0.494 or 49% of your bankroll, so £490. But it's vital to get the predicted chances of winning correct to avoid over or under valuing a bet; and it's also worth remembering that the Kelly Criterion instantly reflects the size of your pot, making it a strategy that pushes for aggressive growth.

Star System

Even more aggressive than Kelly, the Star System is essentially a more complex version of casino-betting's Martingale System, and involves an incremental series of rising bets to rapidly boost your pot. The series, which represents bet multiples, goes: 1, 1, 1 / 2, 5, 10, 15, 25, 40 STOP. The '/' represents the point to start the progression, which only ever occurs after a win. To employ this approach, you need to be incredibly confident in your predictions or risk losing everything due to gambler's fallacy.

Monitor and Keep Track

TThe rise of online gaming has made it much easier to establish and track the development of your pot. Sites like Betfair provide their account holders with detailed bet histories and the option to download long-term account data.

Gamble Responsibly

Your money is important, and a solid bankroll management strategy plays a big role in responsible gambling. It helps stay in control and cultivates discipline. It reminds that you have a strategy in place and helps you stick to that strategy instead of allowing impulsive behaviour to creep into your play.

Modern online betting sites help with some tools that help you monitor how long you have been playing as well as tools to help you set financial limits. These days you can control the products you see, limit your deposit amounts and self-exclude if you feel a break is the right thing.

Responsible gambling helps you avoid reckless behaviour and helps to enhance any bankroll management strategy you put in place.

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Hi, I'm Dean Ryan

"A passionate sports betting expert and journalist with over 15 years spent in the gambling industry."

  • Sports Betting Sites
  • Odds Compiling
  • Horse Racing

Reviewer since June 2016