It’s that elephant in the room. It’s the B word. It’s the reason you haven’t hit it rich…yet. It’s the part of profitable sports betting that no one likes to talk about. It isn’t flashy. It isn’t fun. It’s relatable to tax time- well, for those of you south of the border- but less confusing. Its bankroll management. Bankroll Management can help you both lose less and win more while giving yourself a more true representation of the sample size of sports bets you make this year. Like football, sports betting is a game of discipline.
A Unit is a percentage of your bankroll you wager per outcome. An amount of money you decide is your desired risk per bet. Now, a unit is not the same for everyone and not one size fits all idea. Generally, a unit is regarded as somewhere between 1-5% of your true bankroll. Your True Bankroll is the amount of money you would be willing to lose in a worst-case, run to zero, bust of an NFL betting season. Yes, those can happen too. Sports betting isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. You can be conservative, or you can be aggressive, or you can fall somewhere in between. Many find their desired choice along the scale correlating strongly with their risk tolerance levels. If looking for a realistic place to start, think about your weekly allocation to DFS contests and multiply by 18. Assuming you’ve chosen a number you’d have the guts to stick out in a game you feel more confident in.
While the possibility to get rich certainly exists in prop betting, it isn’t going to happen fast. We’re looking to have a large sample size of +EV bets, recycling bankroll weekly to increase our investment totals, while hitting 58%+ of our bets, for a total Return on Investment (ROI) between 5-10%. It’s a slow burn, especially if you are starting out with a limited bankroll. X and I both started around 50$ per bet, we’ve been there. Some of you might be starting out even smaller while cutting your teeth in sports betting or giving the OWS team a chance to teach you to fish. Enjoy the ride. Like really, enjoy the ride, it’s a long one. Be sure to smell the roses.
Prop betting can be looked at alot like DFS Cash Games. We’re looking to take a sample size of 18 weeks and go 11-7 (60%+). Were any of you around for the early DFS days when 10-7 could be a pretty reasonable goal for someone who put the work in? The good ol’ days JM and Levitan reminisce of? The days of bankroll building? Well, those days are now. These are the types of returns prop betting effectively can bring you, but in 2022, not 2015. You’ve got a second chance.
The NFL week is long. It isn’t like MLB, NHL, or NBA with a 24-hour realization. Your bankroll is going to be locked up for days in most cases. Not only is it locked up, but a large portion of your bankroll will be in play each week if betting aggressively. Because of this, bankroll management becomes even more important while NFL prop betting.
A 1-2% unit bettor would be looked at by most as a pretty conservative sports bettor in today’s world. This means you have 50-100 bullets in your proverbial bankroll chamber. As an example, a bettor with a 1000$ True Bankroll would have a 1-2% unit between 10-20$. This bettor is pretty risk averse, will build slowly, while learning and becoming more comfortable to increase their risk as their knowledge grows. The average unit in sports betting is between 2-4%. This gives you 25-50 bets a week (give or take the sample size needed to get a complete representation of X’s weekly bets) which is absolutely crucial in having success with any prop service- OWS included. Aggressive bettors betting 5%+ of their bankroll as a unit run into problems with services, especially during NFL season, as they have no more than 20 possible units available in each realization cycle. These bettors need to limit their sample size while delegating a higher proportion of their resources to each individual event. These are the GPP bros of the sports betting world, with the swings following them as well from week to week.
For those of us that are visual learners, or those that just want to know how to set their unit size, below is a chart to help you identify where you may fall with a given bankroll.
The ideal prop betting sample size has as little variance within it as possible. It’s full of +EV bets, at stable unit sizing, over a long period of time. If you’re following a prop service, you want to make sure you are eliminating as much sample size variance as possible, and try your best to get as many bets as you can to avoid any dumb luck. Bankroll management comes into play here in two facets.
1) Don’t price yourself out of late week bets. Say X averages about 20 official bets per NFL Sunday. Your unit size can not exceed 5% or you will have drained your bankroll and lose extremely valuable data points of success. This math doesn’t even take into account the nature of juice, with many prop bets sitting with small negative numbers (think -110 to -130). This only gives you the ability to bet about 16-18 bets per week, almost certainly restricting your sample size during multiple weeks this season, especially early with no byes and the odds in the bettor’s favor with more uncertainty in the unknown.
2) Don’t chase bad numbers. “But Reasy, you just told us to have as large a sample size as possible?” Did you read the first line? It mentioned +EV bets. Both the numeric value of a prop bet and the odds associated with that bet are important factors in determining +EV. For example, a line of o5.5 catches may be a +EV bet for a player at +150, but not so much at +110. OWS will be guiding you in this department with a “this bet is good to” range provided with each prop bet. Stick to it, don’t over pay, don’t make -EV bets. Your bankroll will thank you.
As your bankroll grows, so should your unit per outcome. It’s touch and go, maybe reassess every 3-4 weeks and choose a percentage to stick to for a period of time. The absolute best thing about a prop service that no one talks to is that your personal emotion has no effect on your process. That’s X’s problem. Keep it that way. I’m sure many of you had, or have heard about, losing streaks after raising your unit size. When we personally make a big jump in unit size, changes can occur within our betting style. We become more scared or anxious and don’t do the things that got us there for fear of losing our newfound riches. Since OWS has no idea when you raise your individual unit, you are further eliminating the potential emotional variance that comes with it. Make a plan, evaluate, and adapt. Emotionless.
The above was the biggest individual thing that has helped me increase my unit size and build my bankroll quickly over time. Take the emotion out of this. Books prey on emotions and swings. One day you’re flying high, the next you’re chasing it. There will be hot and cold streaks, and there will be highs and lows, but by staying disciplined, and consistent, while gathering as much knowledge along the way from the OWS team and our OWS Insider Betting Discord, your learning curve can be efficient and worthwhile.