Step 1: Set A Budget
The first rule and the most important rule of all is: NEVER bet what you cannot afford to lose. This is the biggest issue gamblers run into overtime. The importance of having a comfortable ‘cushion’ cannot be overlooked. Make sure that if you decide to gamble, you have money set aside that will have no impact on your everyday life. Once your budget is put into place, you must stick to that budget and allocate that money to be used solely for the purposes of betting on sports.
Step 2: Establish Unit Size
Once you have your bankroll set, you must figure out your unit size or in other words, the amount you bet per game. We must establish a set of rules that determine how much we should stake on any given wager. These rules should be based on our overall budget, the way we bet and our betting goals. Many handicappers have a different outlook on this, but I want to share with you my strategy and what has worked for me over the years. I bet anywhere from 1-3% of my bankroll per bet, depending on the value I find in that particular pick. For someone with a $10,000 bankroll, that would mean betting anywhere from $100-$300 per game. I know it may not seem like a lot, but I promise you that over time this is the most effective way to stay profitable without getting hurt during a cold streak. Discipline is key when following this strategy and by readjusting your unit size when your bankroll increases or decreases by 20%, it will ultimately make you money, without the risk of blowing through your bankroll.
Step 3: Don’t Favor A Particular Sport
This is where I may differ from many other handicappers out there. I NEVER, under any circumstances, change my unit size based on my success in a particular sport. For example, I am 45-22 on the NFL season at the time of this article (2019 NFL), picking roughly 70% winners, but I will not raise my unit size when betting NFL games. Why? Because even the best of the best go cold. If I were to start raising my unit size for my NFL picks based on previous success, then what happens when I go on a skid? I would essentially be giving back everything I worked for throughout the season and going against our bankroll strategy.
Step 4: Don’t Chase
If you’re in the middle of a rough patch and believe me, we’ve all been there - don’t try to chase in hopes of making your money back. This is the number one cause of a depleted bankroll. I assure you that if you stick to the strategy, you will be profitable over time. I know it’s extremely clichè, but gambling is a marathon not a sprint. The best gamblers in the world hold a 55% win rate. So if you’re cold for a month, don’t panic, remain disciplined, keep doing your research and it will turn around!
Step 5: Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Don’t gamble with the mindset that you believe you can become rich from it. People with this mindset often lose more than they win. The goal isn’t to get rich overnight, it’s to be profitable long term. Make a living doing whatever it is that you do and try to put some extra money in your pocket every week to live a better lifestyle.