Money Management 101: How to Make Sports Betting More Enjoyable

Jeff Perkins
4 min readMar 6, 2018


It is inevitable in the sports betting game. That one pick that you think is a “lock” ends up being a loser, and you loss your entire bankroll. I have seen this time and time again, with the player then committing the cardinal sin in sports betting.

They try to chase their losses by betting more.

Under absolutely zero circumstances, should you ever have the mindset of betting more to try and chase a loss that you thought was a for sure winner. Sports betting can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience, but major problems can come quickly with these sorts of mindsets.

With a lot of research and by performing your due diligence, you too can earn long-term profits by placing efficient and calculated picks. I use the word long-term for a reason. Sports betting is a marathon and not a sprint. The selling point for sportsbooks is to get their customers to place sucker bets. By using their calculated advantage, sportsbooks are able to generate significant profits. Most people don’t know that sportsbooks have a small, calculated advantage over the player, hovering around a house advantage of 4.5%. While someone will never have the advantage over the house, there are various money management methods that will help you ensure that you have the potential to earn significant long term profits.

Tip 1: What Percent of Bets Do You Need to Break Even?

Most people may assume that a 50% win payout will be the break-even point, but ultimately you are just delaying the fact you will lose all of your money. Under typical sportsbook betting lines, spread and over/under bets use a typical payout of -110. The breakeven points for -110 bets, also known as “standard juice”, is approximately 52.38%. See the math below of how this is calculated.

BE% = 1.10 / (1+1.10)

BE% = 1.10 / 2.10

BE% = .5238 or 52.38%

Just remember that if you think hitting at least 50% of your bets will keep you from going broke, you are just going bankrupt at a slower pace.

Tip 2: Set Your Bankroll

This tip is very simple. Set aside a specific amount of money that will be used exclusively for sports betting purposes. This follows the main logic that you should only risk an amount of money that you are willing to lose. There are many cases where individuals will take on debt by trying to chase the potential to win more money. Under zero circumstances should you ever take out a cash advance to use for gambling purposes. Be smart when setting your bankroll and allow yourself a set of side funds that you are capable of handling. Ultimately, the goal of sports gambling is to have fun!

Tip 3: Determine Unit Sizes

A recommended unit size is generally in the range of 1–3% of your bankroll. This logic applies to the sports betting is a marathon and not a sprint. While some gamblers may be very aggressive and place up to 5% of their bankroll, any losing streaks can demolish their funds. Every gambler is going to go through a slump and lose a significant amount of games, and it is important to stick to a reasonable bet size of 1–3%. I usually bet around 2% for most games, and will sometimes bet 3% in college football. I usually place around 3% for college football, because I’ve had the most success here. It is key to limit your individual bet size, because losing is inevitable. You will go on a losing streak. As you get started in placing your first bets, be aware of betting trends and perform enough research. As you get more confident in the picks you want to place, you can then adjust your unit sizes accordingly.

Tip 4: Limit Your Parlay Size

While parlays can be a great way to make higher profits, the odds of hitting them are significantly harder than normal spread and over/under bets. A good rule of thumb is to limit your parlays to three teams, and it is okay to occasionally place a four team parlay. While it is possible to win a parlay bet of ten plus teams, the odds are completely astronomical and you are probably just wasting your money. To gain the most satisfaction from parlay bets, limit them to four teams at the most.

Tip 5: “Shop” Through Multiple Sportsbooks

A good method to follow is having multiple accounts through different sportsbooks. Different sportsbooks have different payouts attached to the same games very often, and through this method, you may be able to make effective hedge bets. By hedging your bets through different sportsbooks, you are able to limit the amount you may lose during a given sports match.

Tip 6: Avoid “Landslide” Bets

A landslide bet is one where the payout for a bet is in the range of -1000 or greater. For example, if the Patriots are playing the Cleveland Browns and the Patriots are favored by a lot of points, you may see a Patriots moneyline bet of -5000. Many times, a player will place an insane amount of money in the hopes of generating a decent profit off of what they think is a total “lock” of a bet. While a good majority of the time these bets come through as winners, all it takes is one large bet and one large upset to ruin all of the fun you could have had sports betting.

Remember this game?

Credit: Sports Illustrated

Michigan was 33 point favorites. Anything is possible.

Good luck, and happy gambling.

Check out my website for more content on sports betting and personal finance.




Jeff Perkins

I enjoy sports, gambling, finance, and things that affect young people.