Bankroll Management in Sports Betting

Alisa Barladyan
28 Mar 2021
13:46
Article

Two qualities characterize a successful player: the ability to find value bets and the ability to manage your bank properly. The bank means the amount you have allocated to play at a betting office and deposited into your account (it must always be available). Many players successfully define higher value bets at betting offices, learning how to assess the real probability of an event. But when a bet like this is found, how do you know how much you need to bet on it to protect your bank?

What is the optimal bankroll?

The bank amount is not important. Start with an amount that you are not afraid to risk. And remember, never borrow money to place a bet.

How much should I bet?

There are many financial strategies in the bookmaker game, with different betting amounts. Once you have learned our lessons, you will have the basics of bankroll management and the basic strategies to manage the money you have allocated for your bets.

Betting on a bank fixed percentage

One strategy is to regularly bet the same percentage of your bank. So you can protect yourself from a quick loss of the entire available amount in the event of a black streak. Why? Because with each loss, the bank will decrease as well as the amount of the next bet (after all, we bet a percentage). Of course, with a long series of losses, you will still lose a lot and you will be betting relatively small amounts. Accordingly, it is important to determine the bet amount, taking into account the bookmaker’s odds. It is logical to assume that the bets on the 2.50 and 4.00 odds should be different. Furthermore, if you bet with the same odds of 1.70 on the “chalks” in three different matches, does this mean that the probability of a team winning is the same in each game? This is most likely not the case. But you will bet the same bank percentage on these outcomes.

So the “fixed percentage” strategy may offer a good way to manage the bank, but it has a big disadvantage - it does not take into account the odds and the value bet. And sooner or later this can lead to the loss of the money you have.

Flat Betting

The principle of the flat betting is quite simple - you need to place a fixed amount on each selected event. The result of previous bets does affect the bet size. The player determines the amount for himself and then bets it on all the outcomes that he decided to play.

This is a basic financial betting strategy that can be quite effective when combined with other systems, since flat betting does not give an advantage over the bookmaker due to the progression, such as the D'Alembert System.

Overtake (Martingale)

Martingale is a betting strategy for “equal chances”, which involves doubling the bet amount after each loss so that if you win, you can return what you lost and get a profit equal to the amount of the first bet. In sports betting, the Martingale strategy is better known as overtake. The player “overtakes” an event (for example, he bets again and again on a draw in a football match). After each loss, the gambler increases the bet amount so that in case of a win, he has a small profit. Bookmakers are tolerant of this strategy. From a mathematical point of view, playing according to the Martingale strategy only redistributes the player's winnings: the player wins often but receives small amounts or the player loses rarely but spends large amounts.

Classic example:

  1. With the first bet, the player places 100 dollars on “red” - he loses.
  2. With the second bet, the player places 200 dollars (100 x 2) on “red” - he loses.
  3. With the third bet, the player places 400 dollars (200 x 2) on “red” - he wins.

As a result, the player receives a net profit of 400 dollars, which means he compensates for the lost (300 dollars) and receives a net profit in the amount of the first bet (100 dollars).

The formula for calculating the amount of each next bet looks like this:

C = (X+Y)/(Odds – 1)

  • C is the amount of the expected bet.
  • X is the amount of the potential winnings for the first bet (or the amount that the player wants to earn).
  • Y is the sum of all previous losses.

Ladder

The ladder game strategy is a simple betting management system that can hardly guarantee profit over a long distance but sometimes it allows you to win a large amount with minimal investment.

To play, you need to allocate some part of the bank, usually a small one, which you do not mind losing. You need to bet the entire amount for one match. Simply said, stake all. After that, you should bet the entire bank again, including winnings from previous bets. Before making the first bet on the ladder strategy, it is important to set a goal that you need to close the cycle on.

Important tips for using this strategy:

  • Analyze in detail each match you are going to bet on. After all, this is the essence of the strategy, that the player shouldn’t place bets for several games, but concentrate on one.
  • It is advisable to make no more than three bets per day, avoiding difficult and unpredictable matches.
  • Betting on sports using the ladder strategy is best done on outcomes with low odds, no higher than 1.50.
  • It is recommended to reduce the odds with each step because the price of an error increases with the growth of the bank.

The Kelly Criterion

Even if this method still has opponents, it is time-tested, as it has been known since the 50s of the last century. This method takes into account both the real (calculated by you) probability of the outcome and the bookmaker's odds for this outcome.

In other words, this method offers you to choose the bet amount based largely on the value bet. At the same time, you should be able to calculate the real probability of the outcome as accurately as possible by analyzing the teams' performance in recent matches, line-ups for a face-to-face meeting, etc.

The value of the bet, as we already know, is calculated by multiplying the percentage of “your” probability of the outcome by the odds and minus 100%.

Over the years, several varieties of using the Kelly criterion have appeared. They are constantly being improved and modified. But the basic principles remain the same.

Currently, many strategies are regulating the bet amount. But it's commonly believed that the Kelly criterion strategy, in particular the partial Kelly, is the best. It takes into account both the value of the bet and the probability of the outcome. And based on all this, it recommends an appropriate amount for your bet.

Proper use of bank management strategies will help you not to lose your deposit, and if you're lucky, it will help you to make a profit.