Sports Betting Unit Sizing – Everything You Need To Know

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Unit sizing is another important element to sports betting.

I generally have a rule: if you don’t use units or bankroll percentage (%BR) then you aren’t a professional gambler, however much you make.

This is because you cannot physically track what you make/lose over the long term.

When we go through a heavy downswing, we look into how many units we lose.

If we lose 10-20 units then that’s not a problem.

But what if we had doubled our unit size the week before?

Suddenly this is a huge percentage of our bankroll!

Here is what we recommend when it comes to unit sizing in sports betting.

What Should My Unit Size Be?

There are a few general rules for this:

Rules for unit sizing

The first one is to have 100 units in your bankroll.

That means that if your unit is $100 then you need to have $10,000 in the bankroll.

This can be spread across different betting sites (which is something we recommend anyway) but the total should equal $10k.

This means that even when you have a bad swing and lose say 20 units in a week/few weeks, it is not the end of the world.

This also means that you don’t need to have a HUGE bankroll to start in the first place.

If you are betting wisely then you shouldn’t ever need to add funds to a betting account once this is started.

Another general rule (essentially the same rule in reverse) is to know the maximum amount you can afford to lose and then break this down into units.

For example, if you have $5k that you can invest, simply divide this figure by 100 and you have your unit price.

In this case, you want to use $50 units.

One key element to remember though is that this is based on average 1 unit plays.

The juice for a play (-150 for example) is fine, but when you come to 2-3-4-5 unit plays you need to be very careful.

When Should You Increase Unit Size?

This is a question we get asked a lot.

The answer is always the same (with a caveat.)

If you are a serious sports bettor you should be looking at the long term picture, this is to grow your bankroll, reduce your risk and increase your unit size all at the same time.

Well how in the heck are you meant to do that?

It’s simple really. In fact, it’s so simple, we can break it down into four pieces.

  1. You must have income from a non-sports betting direction, such as from a job, business or anything. This income must be able to support you for the coming months/years.
  2. As a result you should not need to withdraw any potential earnings for 2 years from any sports betting accounts! TWO YEARS! That’s a long time.
  3. During this time though you should be able to build a monster bankroll, whilst increasing your units at the same time. Say you start with $100 units but by the end of year 2, you are using $500 units.
  4. AND you want to be risking even less than 1 unit = 1% of your bankroll, so you need to have 150+ units in your bankroll.

What does all this mean? 

You have to be incredibly disciplined.

And incredible good.

There’s no 2 ways about it, if you don’t make money from your picks or others picks in sports betting, no amount of bankroll management is going to help you.

BUT if you do make money over the long term, increasing units, losing risk is pretty much the most important element.

So back to our question – When should you increase unit size?

Answer: in these 2 situations:

When to increase the size of your units

  1. When you double your bankroll at your current unit size. Let’s say you start with 10k and get to 20k betting $100 units. Congrats first off! And also start using $200 units. – This is the general advice and something that I think is generally a good idea.
  2. Another higher risk strategy is to deposit 50% of your bankroll everytime you double your units. For example let’s say you started with 10k and $100 units. Got to $12k but wanted to increase units to $200. In this case you would have to deposit an additional 6k (50% of current bankroll) = $18k bankroll. Not far off the recommended 100 units.

One element we should mention – if you are losing, don’t be impatient and raise your bankroll.

Instead, hold off and wait for the variance to even out (or luck to come your way.)

If you start messing with your bankroll when you are in a downswing, you will likely do more damage than good.

Patience is so key in gambling.

Most people do not wait for good bets to come around.

Instead, they look for the “only way out” which is the game on tonight.

This is not sports investing.

This this is just throwing your money around.

A real 10-unit bet should be on your radar before the lines are even out.

There should be external forces in play too.

For example, injured players bookies have not accounted for, weather they have under-accounted for (this is my favourite), or simply a series that is priced incorrectly.

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