A unit is a measure professional sports bettors or tippers use to help determine how to lay and track bets. Simply put it is an algebraic constant value that can be used to keep track of betting profits and losses without the use of monetary figures.
There are very good reasons why units are used and as you become more familiar with bankroll management for sports betting in general, it should become very clear that unit sizing whether you base this on the percentage or pre-determined monetary figure model is essential!
Why People Use Units
The reason why sports bettors and tipsters prefer to use units to analyse the success of seasons is 2 fold.
The first is because it is easier to track than using a monetary value.
For example, say we made $100,000 in a season. That might seem like a successful season to anyone looking, but in reality, if our unit sizing was $100,000 per play, realistically we only made 1 unit that season and hence we didn’t actually do very well. Whereas if an individual only made $100 in a season but their unit sizing was $1, this was a lot more impressive as they made 100 units profit based on a unit size of $1.
The second reason is that it makes it easier for individuals to tail plays based on their specific bankroll.
Let’s say for example that you are only just starting out and do not want to risk a lot of money, especially if you are picking teams/lines yourself which is very very risky (and potentially dangerous if you have an addiction). But assuming you have a small bankroll, say $500. You do not want to be following someone that states you must use $500 per bet. Just because they are doing this doesn’t mean you need too.
Instead, you should be using approximately 2% of your bankroll per bet on RESEARCHED plays. Or on anyone you follow. Now you can either use 2% of your moving bankroll, this is called an active unit management system. Or you can take your bankroll at the start of the year (say $500 for example) and state 2% of this regardless of how much movement in either direction your bankroll receives. This is called a fixed unit management system.
In this scenario each play would be – 2% of $500 = $10. Might seem a low amount but we’re sports investors not gambling degens. If you make 200% on your money each and every year (this would be a bare minimum too) even a $500 investment would equal 3 million dollars after 10 years… Let that MF maths sink in for a second. But of course, most people blow it all and have no discipline (or follow the wrong people/get distracted/other reasons) and hence do not make that.
Also, this strategy doesn’t change if you have a $5,000,000 bankroll. You still should be using 2% of highly researched plays, although in many situations you would actually decrease to 1% for larger bankrolls to avoid daily fluctuations of potentially mammoths amount of money, as well as the obvious fact of it being difficult to lay $100k on plays, especially ones that aren’t major sports.
Note: When I say highly researched plays I mean very confident ones. I use a 2% fixed bankroll management system and re-analyse at the start of each season (hockey season). But even at 2% a large amount of my plays are half unit plays, this is done for a number of reasons but the most important one is just I do not want to ever risk anywhere close to 4% on one play (aside from the longer term sports-investing style plays that I make on the cricket.)