NFL Betting 101: Bankroll Management Expert Advice
One way you can tell the difference between a casual bettor and a betting geek is how they feel about talking about bankroll management. The casual bettors probably feel like nothing is more boring. They don't understand good bankroll management, and they don't care. They just want to bet. The betting geek, though, obsesses about bankroll management. They want to bet the most they can without risking losing it all. If you are one of those people that could care less about bankroll management, though, then this chapter in our exploration of the basics of betting on football are for you. It doesn't have to be a confusing or intimidating subject, and good bankroll management doesn't have to get in the way of you having fun. In fact, it should help you have more fun for longer. Let's look at the basics of good bankroll management.
Related: Sports Betting Money Management
One reason why a lot of casual bettors don't feel like they want to worry about bankroll management is that they don't feel like it applies to them. They think that the people who need to worry about bankroll management are the sharp bettors with huge wads of cash who are making their living making bets. But that doesn't have to be the case. Bankroll management is simply about making your money work for you - giving yourself the best chance of long-term success. There is no one-size-fits-all definition of how to manage your betting bankroll. It's about figuring out what works for what you want to do. These four questions will help point you in the direct you want to go:
How much are you working with?: Even the most casual bettor has to differentiate between the money that they are going to be betting and their walking around money. If you don't do that, then it is too easy to lose money that you can't afford to lose. If you haven't set aside money specifically for betting, then you need to. You don't necessarily need to set aside a whole season's worth of cash at once. If you plan to invest $500 per month, then you know you are dealing with a $2500 bankroll during the five-month football season, for example.
What are you looking to accomplish?: Once you know how much you are betting, you have to figure out what your goal is. Are you looking to double your money over the season? Or do you just want to get a rush out of betting? Will you be crushed if you lose all of your cash before the season ends? Or is it important that you still have money left at the end of the season no matter how things go? Are you looking for small but consistent winnings, or are you looking for a big score? Too often, people think about bankroll management as having to bet a tiny percentage of your total money on each game - to be very conservative. For some people in some cases, that is the best approach - like if you are looking to maximize your returns while minimizing your chances of going bust. But that's not why everyone wants to bet on games, and if it isn't for you that's perfectly fine. You just have to know what you want so you can act accordingly. If two bettors have the same bankroll, the one who is cautious and doesn't want to lose too much is going to bet a lot less per game than the person who is in it for adrenaline and a rooting interest.
How deep do you want to go?: The buddy I watch football with more than anyone is one of those guys who wants to have action on any game he watches. If we are surfing through all the games on a given card, then he will have made a bet - or three - on each game. They won't all be big bets, but having a clear interest in each game is what excites him. I'm the opposite. I like looking for spots that really stand out as having interesting value. And if there isn't a single play that stands out in an afternoon of games, I'm perfectly content. I don't need action to enjoy a game, and I just hate making dumb bets. I don't mind losing good bets - that's all part of it. But I hate bad bets. All things being equal, it only makes sense that my bet size would be quite a bit bigger than what my friend throws down if we have similar bankrolls - a shotgun pellet is much smaller than a bullet that comes out of the same size barrel. Again, neither approach is wrong - you just need to know what your approach is so you can determine your strategy accordingly.
What's the risk?: If you were betting point spreads and moneylines and needed to win about 50 percent - or slightly better - of your bets to come out on the right side, then that is likely at least theoretically feasible. But if you are betting prop bets that pay 7/1 or higher and have convinced yourself that you are going to win those 50 percent of the time, then you are fooling yourself. And you are an idiot. And if you are betting heavy favorites on the moneyline, then winning 50 percent of your bets is a recipe for disaster. Yet again, I don't care which types of bets you make - you can make money on any of them if you are good enough. But bets that you get paid off on regularly but for a small amount are going to have a very different bet size than one where you can expect long stretches of failure between each success.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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