Bankroll Management 101: Importance in Sports Betting and Winning

In today’s lesson, we will be talking about an important betting concept every sports bettor should be aware of called bankroll management.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to answer the following questions.

  • What is bankroll in gambling?
  • How much money should be in a bankroll?
  • What percentage of your bankroll should you bet on?
  • What is the best betting strategy to use today?
  • How to grow your bankroll?
  • What prevents sports bettors from winning?

Sports betting has been so popular in the past decade or so because of the rise of online bookmakers. You can start placing your bets with just a few clicks and you don’t have to drive to your local sportsbook anymore to place your sports bet.

For this reason, more and more people are getting involved in sports betting every passing year. A few of them win, while most of them don’t.

And one of the most important factors determining if you win or lose in sports betting is bankroll management.

What Is A Bankroll In Gambling?

Bankroll in gambling is the total amount of money you can use to bet on sports, casinos, or horse racing, or whichever gambling platform you want to participate in.

Bankroll means all your gambling money.

This is the total money you’re willing to lose for betting purposes.

How Much Money Is In A Bankroll?

This doesn’t mean your bankroll is equivalent to your whole net worth as you don’t want to bankrupt yourself gambling.

No matter how risky you are, you’re gambling money should not exceed 10% of your net worth. You could go up to 20% if you want to.

The outcome we’re trying to prevent from happening here is you losing all your bankroll. That’s why you need to know how to implement proper bankroll management.

Now to answer the question, “how much money should I have on my bankroll?”, depends on how much money you have.

For casual bettors, we could be talking about $50-$200. Some might even bet up to a thousand dollars of their money to start.

For those who are thinking about making serious money in betting, it could start from $2000 to tens of thousands of dollars.

Understanding Bankroll Management

Before we get into details about proper bankroll management, let’s define some important betting terms first.


A unit is a portion of your bankroll or your gambling money. A unit can imply how much you want to bet for a certain sports game.

As we mentioned in the previous section of this lesson, you should be able to place 50 to 100 bets before you lose all your bankroll due to a very bad losing streak.

This means you should divide your bankroll by 50, 60, or 100 units. Depending on how much you’re willing to risk on a single game.

For example, your starting bankroll is $1000 and you want to make a respectable amount per day for betting, you should split your bankroll to 50 units.

That means one unit for you is equivalent to $20.

If you want to take things slow and get a feel for the game, you can opt to split your bankroll into 100 units.

That means one unit for you is equivalent to $10.

The unit amount you set depends on your total bankroll, how much you want to make for each bet you place, and your overall risk profile.

Betting Unit FAQs

How much should a betting unit be?

A betting unit should allow you to make 50 to 100 bets. Experience bettors advise beginners to make their unit size equal to 1% of their overall bankroll. This means for a $1000 bankroll, one unit for you will equal to $10.

What is a 1 unit bet?

A 1 unit bet is equivalent to 1% of your bankroll or more depending on how you divide your bankroll.

If you have $1000 bankroll to start, and you divide it by 50 units. One unit for you will be $20. Dividing it by 100 units makes one unit equal to $10.

What is a 100 unit bet?

A hundred unit bet is not necessarily equal to 100% of your bankroll.

This depends on how you split it. If you have $10,000 to start with and you split it to 200 units. One unit for you is $50. A 100 unit bet will cost you $5000 or half your bankroll.

If you split your bankroll equally to 100 or fewer units. When you talk about a 100 unit bet, you’re talking about betting all your bankroll or more.

What percentage of your bankroll should you bet?

The percentage of your bankroll you want to bet depends on several factors that include your risk profile, the amount you want to win, and how confident are you with the game you’re placing a bet on.

For some bettors, they place only a unit for each game. Some of them place 2 unit bets if they’re confident with the team they’re betting on. Others might even bet a five to ten unit bets if they know the team can win comfortably or if the betting method their following tells them to do so.

Again, the percentage of your bankroll you should risk depends on your bankroll and your betting strategy.

How do I manage my bankroll?

To manage your bankroll for gambling, the first thing you should do is come up with a total amount that will be your starting bankroll.

Next is to identify the betting strategy or method you want to follow or implement before you start placing your bets.

This will help you determine how many units you should be wagering.

betting money bankroll management

Best Bankroll Management Strategies

Since gambling has been around for quite some time now, bettors have developed several betting strategies and methods that they follow to win the most money when they place their bets.

All-in Betting

This betting strategy is very straightforward. You simply bet everything every single time you place a wager.

This also means if you lose, you’ll lose 100% of your bankroll.

For example, you have $100 to start, you win your underdog bet at +150 odds and it becomes $250. After that, you decide to bet again on the same team as favorites, they win again. Your bankroll is at $450. You decide to ride their winning streak and you won again. You’re at $1000 after just 3 bets.

What would you do after that? Would you cash out or bet more?

Everything looks good in theory, but that doesn’t mean it will happen in real life.

What if you lose on your second bet or third bet?

What if you lost your first bet?

You’ll be out of the game sooner than expected.

Fixed Wager Betting

Fixed wager betting means you’re betting the same amount each time you wager. Regardless of how confident you are in the game or match you are betting on. You’ll still place the same amount.

The amount you wager highly depends on you. You can start with just 2% of your bankroll or up to 10% of it.

For example, you have a $500 bankroll to start with.

If you’re going to follow betting 2% of your bankroll, are you okay winning only $10 or less for each of your bets?

What about betting $50 each game?

Again, the amount you’ll depends on your risk profile, the amount you want to win each time you bet, and how much your bankroll is.

Everything You Need To Know About No Risk Bets

It is better if your betting unit can last you at least 50 bets before your bankroll runs out.

The main downside of fixed wager betting is your winnings are limited.

However, there is a good chance it will increase slowly as long as you win your bets.

Martingale Betting System

Martingale betting strategy is done by doubling your stake every time you lose a bet.

By doing so, you’ll easily cover any losses you might experience. As opposed to fixed wager betting, your winnings can easily increase over time.

For example, you have a $1000 bankroll, and your betting unit is 5% of your bankroll. You start placing your bets and you were able to win your first bet.

However, you lose your second bet. Following the martingale betting system, you now have to place a bet that is 10% of your bankroll to try and get back what you’ve lost.

martingale betting strategy example

If you lose again you have to double it and place $200.

If you don’t win again, you’ll have to place $400 wager.

How much do you still have left if you’re going to lose again?

As you’ll notice, your bankroll has already run out with you losing four straight bets. You started by just placing $50 bets, but after losing four straight you now have to decide whether to add more funds to your account or change your betting strategy

This betting strategy could be useful to you if you have a good amount of cash to supplement your bankroll whenever you have to.

But for those who don’t have much money for gambling, this might not be the best betting strategy to follow.

Fibonacci Betting Strategy

fibonacci betting strategy explained
Fibonacci Betting Sequence

The Fibonacci method is a progressive betting strategy where the amount you place depends on the sequence above.

You start with a 1 unit bet. If you win, you restart from the start which is betting a 1 unit bet again.

If your bet loses, you move on to the next number, 1.

However, losing your bet again means you move to the next number which is 3. This means you bet 3 units.

Once you win, you can go back two numbers and stake the amount indicated.

Let’s say, you went on a losing streak and you’re at 21 of the betting sequence. If you win your next bet, then you go back to betting 8 units.

You’ll have to follow this until you go back to betting only 1 unit.

The downside of this strategy is if you go on a long losing streak.

Similar to martingale, having a long losing streak while implementing this strategy will require you to place bets which may be too much for your bankroll.

Proportional Betting

Proportional betting is wagering differing percentages of your bankroll based on your preference or discretion.

It can range from 0.5% up to 10% of your bankroll depending on how much your bankroll is and your risk profile.

Experts do recommend betting 1% to 5% of your bankroll.

Proportional betting allows bettors to scale their bets according to their calculations or the amount of their bankroll.

If you’re winning, then you can increase your wager amount. If you’re losing, then you can lessen the amount you wager, until you can get a winning momentum going.

Proportional betting also weighs the probability of a team you’re betting on to win or fulfill your bet. You have to take that into account when you decide how much you want to bet.

Kelly Criterion

The Kelly Criterion betting strategy helps gamblers determine the amount they should be wagering on a certain opportunity.

Kelly Criterion utilizes decimal odds, so you have to convert fractional odds or American odds into decimal odds first to make it easy for you.

After that, you will have to determine the winning probability of your bet based on your calculations.

The result will be the amount you should be betting for a particular match.

kelly criterion betting strategy example
Kelly Criterion Formula

This betting strategy only works if you can calculate the probabilities properly.

If you’re not able to do that, then you might have a hard time calculating the right amount you should be betting.

If this happens, you might end up placing bets that are too much or too low. This can result in you losing your bankroll too quickly or impeding the growth of your winnings.

Bankroll Management FAQs

What is the best betting strategy to use?

The best betting strategy to use is proportional betting.

Proportional gives you the advantage of being able to stay in the game longer unlike martingale or an all in betting strategy.

You’ll still be able to grow your bankroll faster using proportional betting compared to fixed wager.

Proportional betting will require you to have a solid betting plan and discipline.

It will also test your patience since you are only betting 1% to 5% of your bankroll. The good thing is this allows you to protect your bankroll.

But this slow and steady approach can be all worth it in the long run.

How to grow your bankroll sports betting?

For you to grow your bankroll in sports betting, you should be very selective about which sports you bet on. You cannot just bet for the sake of betting and place bets on any sports you see on your television.

When betting on sports, you should find where you’re good at and stick with it.

You can be so great betting on the NBA and not so good betting on the NFL, and that’s not a bad thing.

For that reason, you may have to stick betting for the NBA for now until you improve your NFL betting skills.

You should also be very disciplined when it comes to the wager amount you place. We all know winning streaks can improve your mood and give you more confidence.

However, you should not increase your stakes significantly when you are on a winning streak and more importantly, when you’re in a losing streak.

Stick with your betting strategy and place only bets you can afford to lose.

What sport is the easiest to bet on?

Betting on tennis is the easiest way to win money in sports betting according to most sports bettors.

Tennis, unlike soccer, only has two outcomes. Either the favorite wins, or the underdog gets an upset win.

The very reason why tennis is the easiest sport to bet on is there are very clear favorites before each match.

Most of these favorites win their match against inferior opponents more often than not.

This is also the reason why the odds in tennis are very high, it’s normal to see -1000 to -2000 odds for a tennis match between a top 5 tennis player and an unranked one.

What is the most profitable sport to bet on?

There’s a good article written by the team at Sports Betting Dime where they compared all major sports in America and studied which sport is the most profitable to bet on.

Their study concluded that college football in the US is the most profitable sport to bet on. This is the best sport to bet on the money line, against the spread, and game totals.

You can read more about it here.

How do I win my bet every time?

This question has a very simple answer to it.

You simply don’t.

No sports bettor can claim that he or she has never lost a bet. You’re going to lose one or many of your bets eventually.

It does not matter how good your bankroll management strategy is, you can’t win every time.

No sports team has won every single game they play on, because just like in sports betting that is impossible.

However, some sports bettors can win consistently in one or two sports they’re very knowledgeable of.

They do lose some time, but at the end of the year, they’re always in the green. They can consistently make money sports betting.

Bet on Tennis

Steps to Win Consistently in Sports Betting

Some may say that they’re into sports betting for fun and are fine even if they lose most of their bets. But we believe you’re not telling the whole truth when you say that. Who in their right mind will refuse to make money by betting on sports? And to do it consistently too.

  1. Know your sports or the market you’re playing on

    Being knowledgeable enough on the sports you are betting is important for you to know what bets you should place. If you like soccer or football, then you should study how you can win consistently in soccer betting.

  2. Follow a betting strategy

    Following a betting strategy will make it easier for you to know how much you should be wagering for a certain match. It will also help you protect your bankroll from running out.

  3. Be disciplined and patient

    This will help you last longer in sports betting and will help you find the right opportunities to bet on.

  4. Avoid making betting mistakes constantly

    Committing too many sports betting mistakes can be detrimental to your bankroll.


Doing those steps should help you get better in wagering on sports, and hopefully, you can get more winning bets too.

Sports Betting Mistakes

Mistakes in sports betting are not that uncommon as you might think, especially if you’re just new betting on sports.

Sports betting mistakes happen but they are avoidable.

These mistakes are simply part of the learning curve. You just have to make sure that you learn from these mistakes for you to be a better gambler.

What prevents sports bettors from winning?

The only reason a sports bettor doesn’t win is because of him or her, and no one else. Your sports betting decisions are controlled by you and you alone. You are the one deciding what bets to place and which teams to pick.

The only way you can win consistently in sports betting is if you can improve yourself while doing it and make better betting decisions.

Most Common Sports Betting Mistakes

Before we end this discussion, let us tackle the most common sports betting mistakes. Why they happen and the things you could do to avoid these betting mistakes.

Betting Too Often

One of the most important things to remember when you’re sports betting is the importance of being patient.

You should know how to time your bets. More importantly, you should know how to control yourself, for you to avoid placing too many wagers.

Betting too often can easily make you lose track of your bankroll. This can also lead you to do things you might regret like increasing your wager or chasing your losses.

Chasing Losses

You should know by now that you can never know when you’re going to win a bet.

You cannot fall to Gambler’s Fallacy or the Monte Carlo fallacy.

Gambler’s Fallacy is believing that you have higher chances of winning your next bet because you’ve been losing consistently. However, this is entirely wrong as your chances of you winning your next bet are not affected by your losing streak.

For example, you’re betting on a coin toss. Heads have been coming up consecutively for the past 11 flips, yet the chances of you winning by betting on tails do not increase. There’s still a 50-50 chance that heads will show up instead of tails.

Accepting the truth that there are some losses you may never get back is one way you can avoid chasing any of your losses.

Losing streaks happen, but for you to get out of it, you should make a calculated decision, not a wild guess, or believing luck will be on your side soon.

Having a good bankroll management plan can help you avoid this.


This sports betting mistake can be very broad.

Let’s start with ignorance of the game. You should only bet on sports you know of and are very familiar with.

You cannot pick up your phone at midnight and decide to start betting just for fun.

Since the only games available for you to bet on are in India. You will then place a bet on who’ll win a cricket match in New Delhi.

Another classic example of ignorance is having unrealistic expectations when placing bets on sports.

Most sports bettor expect to win right away.

This usually happens to beginners who place a bet on their favorite sports team for the first time and their team win. They think that sports betting can make them instant millionaires.

Unfortunately, they’re wrong.

Sports betting can’t make you a millionaire fast unless you’re already are one and you can place a million-dollar bet easily.

Winning in sports betting is not easy and it will never be easy. You should not think of sports betting as a get-rich-quick scheme you could just participate in.

Lastly, one might consider betting with just one sportsbook as ignorance.

If you’re not taking advantage of the fact that you can shop for better odds, then you might be missing on good opportunities.

Why You Should Sign Up With Multiple Bookmakers

No one is stopping you from grabbing a better line from another sportsbook.

Bet at 5dimes

Experienced sports bettor advise beginners to have at least have three to five bookmakers to be able to get better odds.

We highly recommend checking out 5Dimes. You can read our in-depth 5Dimes review for more information about their betting platform.

Improper Bankroll Management

Our last example of the most common sports betting mistakes is improper bankroll management.

This is the most common betting mistake most bettors make. It can also be the most damaging for you as a sports bettor.

You always want to win all your bets, but as we mentioned earlier, that’s impossible.

There’s always the possibility that you’ll experience a losing streak, a short or a long one.

You would not know how long it’s going to be until it happens to you, but what will keep you in the game is practicing good bankroll management.

We already discuss the betting strategies you can implement or follow. It’s up to you which one you will be using.

Following a solid betting strategy will help you to avoid other betting mistakes like chasing losses or betting too often.

That’s why it is so important for you to have a betting strategy before you start placing your bets.

Bankroll Management – Final Thoughts

Bankroll management is not going to be easy at first. As you place more bets, then you’ll be able to better grasp your betting strategy.

You can test a handful of bankroll management strategies. See which one will best fit your goal, your personality, and your bankroll.

Once you determine which one you will be using, you should stick to it.

You should be strict in following it every time you place a bet to avoid committing mistakes that could cost you money.

Always gamble responsibly.

Good luck!

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