Betting Strategy Guide: Sports Betting Money Management
This is entry in a long list of betting strategy guides found here on Fury’s Fight Picks. Whether you’re about to take the plunge into the sports betting world for the first time, or are looking for tips to gain an edge, these guides provide expert advice that will help improve your result. You can find all entries in this series here.
A penny Saved is a Penny Earned
The most vital aspect of sports betting is knowing how to manage your bankroll properly. It does not matter how skilled you are at other areas of betting if you’re not good at this aspect. The biggest mistake beginners make is not properly managing their money. They usually bet way too much per fight or event, which often results in them quickly losing their entire bankroll when they go on a bad run. Every bettor wants to do the same thing: win money longterm. You have to remember, sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint.
The best strategy is to use a unit scale, where you never invest more than a certain percentage of your bankroll on any one bet. Both Luca Fury and I base our bets on a 1-5 unit scale, with one unit equaling 1% of your bankroll. Personally, I have never bet more than four units on any given fight, and even that is rare. My usual bet is around 2.5 units, which I believe is a healthy number. For instance, if I had five, two unit bets the most I could possibly lose is ten units (10% bankroll). Further, this means my exposure will be greatly reduced come fight night. I do not have to worry about losing my whole bankroll in one night.
Money management is basically about being disciplined with your bankroll, such as having a structured system in place. Good money management drastically reduces the chances of taking huge losses. Many new bettors try to get rich quick and bet their whole bankroll, or close to it, each event. This often leaves them broke as soon as they have a bad night or two.
Overexposure on a given night is a huge problem for beginners, and a a recipe for disaster. Bettors should know that it takes time to build their bankroll, it is not going to happen overnight. Patience and proper money management are key ingredients to any successful long-term bettor. Being overexposed on a single play can put the bettor in a horrible position if their bet loses. There are far too many variables in mixed martial arts to trust a large percentage of your money on any one fight or event. Even if you think the fighter you are betting on is a lock, there is always the chance of an injury or stoppage due to a cut. Take the case of Randy Couture vs Vitor Belfort 1 for example. Vitor slashed Randy’s eye with a grazing punch that caused the fight to be stopped in 49 seconds. It was a fluke, but it still went down as a loss for whoever bet on Randy. This is why your unit size should be kept small enough to where any one loss — or even a handful of losses in a row– will not seriously hurt you.
Fat Pigs Get Slaughtered
In addition, bettors that manage their bankroll successfully do not chase losses. Chasing losses can lead to a downward spiral and an empty account. If you have a bad night at the books, do not force a bet that you did not adequately research and prepare for. Make sure you always do your due diligence beforehand. Chasing is very tempting sometimes, but it is almost always a bad idea. It is a good way to make a bad situation even worse.
Even the best bettors in the world go through peaks and valleys. Not every event is going to be a profitable one, that is a given. However, with proper money management you can guarantee yourself that you will be able to survive any slump that you find yourself in. Whether it is due to bad bets, bad calls, or bad decisions, there are a ton of variables in mixed martial arts betting and sports betting in general. You must keep that in mind and always bet responsible if you want to profit longterm.
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