Sports Betting Money Management Skills

  • Money Management and a “Good Defense”

Most of us focus on betting systems and strategies that will be profitable.  After all, without a good betting system, we won’t make any money, right?  The same thing can be said about “money management.”  That is, if you don’t pay attention to money management, you might not be able to take that “next” step to becoming a “sports investor.”  Good money management will reduce the chances of extreme losses and help turn this “hobby” into a legitimate “investment.”

In the world of finance, many professionals use the phrase “risk management” and “money management” interchangeably.  What are we trying to do when we focus on “money management?”  In simple words, we’re trying to “manage our money” – or “manage our risk.”  Our goal is to preserve our capital or hard-earned money.  We want to minimize the chances for loss – or in a larger sense, minimize our “risk of ruin.” 

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Flat Betting

First things, first…  We believe that “flat” betting is the way to go.  That is, bet the same amount for each play.  “Chasing” or increasing bet size based on your last bet (or series of bets) is not recommended.  (This is true for most people; please see * Note * below.)

Over time, you may hear about various systems where you increase your bet size “knowing” that you are due to win sooner or later.  In general, these systems don’t work.  Eventually, a bad streak occurs and you are betting a recklessly large amount to re-coup losses.

In general, many of these approaches MIGHT seem to improve short-term performance – BUT at the HUGE expense of increasing your risk of ruin.  A bad stretch could endanger your bankroll fairly quickly.  If you DO succumb to the charms of various Martingale systems, please use some sort of systematic risk management method.  In this business of sports investing, it pays to minimize your risk of ruin.

Professional money managers – as well as sensible sports investors – will agree that you should minimize the chances of “blowing out” your investment portfolio.  Flat betting will help you to “stay the course” and ride the ups and downs of investing.

“True” Bankroll and “Risk Capital”

Whenever we talk about percentages of bankroll, most casual bettors feel that they are on the “high end” of the ranges we discuss.  This might SEEM true – but only because the “true bankroll” for most casual bettors is higher than what they have in their accounts.  That is, many bettors might have $X in their accounts, but are willing to add another $Y if they draw down their account.  Professionals normally already know their “full bankroll” and need to preserve their “capital” versus “risk of ruin.”

Investors – and in this case, sports investors – need to understand the level of their “true bankroll” or “risk capital (allocated to sports).”  Once investors take a serious look at their finances, they might better understand the “true” level or amount they allocate to sports investing.  They might then realize that 1%-2% of their “true bankroll” or “risk capital” is indeed a realistic bet size.

Summary: Money Management and Playing Defense  

Many of our articles focus on SportsInsights.com’s philosophies and contrarian strategies that have proven to work over time.  In this article, we focused on money management – an area where most bettors do not pay enough attention.  In essence, good “money management” is a lot like playing good defense.  Money management will allow you to “stay in the game” during tough times so that good handicapping strategies (your offense) can put you ahead.

Disclaimer

We do not guarantee that the trends and biases we’ve found will continue to exist.  It is impossible to predict the future.  Any serious academic research in the field of “market efficiencies” recognizes that inefficiencies may disappear over time.  Once inefficiencies are discovered, it is only a matter of time before the market corrects itself.  We do not guarantee our data is error-free.  However, we’ve tried our best to make sure every score and percentage is correct.

Profit with Value Betting

The key to successful sports betting is obtaining value on every bet. Value means getting better than “true” odds on a team. For example, if your objective assessment of the game suggests the underdog should be receiving 3.5 points, but is receiving 6.5 point, then that is a value-betting proposition, also called an “overlay”.

Value betting means betting when you regard the risk: reward ration as being heavily in your favor. And that can often mean betting the underdog. Too many bettors are frightened to back underdogs, but remember that a relatively poor team receiving a large point spread does not actually have to win the game, just lose by less than the points it is receiving. And they frequently do because they better team is only interested in winning and reducing the risk of injury, not covering the point spread.

Oddsmakers are often in a position where they have to issue lines/odds on a large number of games, so their resources are stretched and they are vulnerable. Even with their considerable expertise , they are by no means infallible, so be on the lookout for the so called “soft sports” where you consider that the oddsmaker has failed to judge the game or event properly or ignored a potentially key factor in the outcome.

Pay particular attention to key number in Football, especially 3,4,6,7, and 10, where minor changes in the spread have major implications for value. Even with the 2pt conversion option, changing a line from 6 to 7.5 is a major move; If you liked the under at +6, then you are getting tremendous value at +7.5.In Football, more games are decided by a margin or 3 points than by any other margin. Therefore, a point spread of 2.5 to 3.5 is a critical to the smart bettor.