No matter what form of gambling you are allocating your bankroll towards, bankroll management is going to be the nucleus of making it all happen. If you cannot prudently manage your bankroll, you may as well donate it to a charity or something useful like that. Money will never last beyond a short period of time without proper managing skills. This is the mother of all rules when it comes to gambling. The ultimate cardinal sin is betting money you cannot afford to lose.
The choice you have to make is simple. Do you want to take what you are doing seriously, or not? If you do, then you understand that sports betting is about the very long term. That there will be periods where you feel like you are invincible and know everything, and others where you feel like you can’t even pick your nose, let alone a winner. When understanding what you can and can’t afford to lose, it seems a bit of a wide open topic. You need to be informed of where to draw the line on a risk that is simply not worth the reward.
If you’re betting sports knowing already that you are a beginner at this, then chances are you are only doing it for fun. The most prudent way to go about something you are new at would be to start small, so you can get a full taste of what you’re doing without having to invest a whole lot into it. Betting sports can provide quite the entertainment rush no matter how small the wager. If you’re new to it, you can’t know how you will react to it watching it all unfold. That’s why if you go small and find that you hate the agony it evidently caused you, you can calmly walk away from this knowing it didn’t really cost you anything.
You can be watching sports for years without even realizing how many wild twists and turns there really are. When you personally have nothing on the line, it’s all normal. Place a bet, and a whole world suddenly opens up. People can really get sucked into sports betting. A part of them is always liable to believe there should be something easy about this. All you have to do is pick the right side in a game and you make money. The best way to go about it is to just take your time. You decide what you consider small. That should probably depend either on your net worth, or what you would consider a night of cheap entertainment no matter what you got in the piggy bank.
There are lots of people who have their careers and/or their families, but try to bet sports on the side too. They do it with the intent and belief that they can pull down some extra money, while at the same time, not feel concerned if they lose. This is entertainment money. It was never to be allocated towards the rent, or the mortgage, or anything that was to provide for their life or their family. This money is strictly for their use from all the work they’ve been putting in. They are essentially giving themselves a freeroll because they’ll be happy to make any amount of extra money, but if they lose that’s fine too. All of this begs the question, how do you properly manage a bankroll when betting sports as a hobby?
I think you have to really sit down and analyze how much money you can afford to spend on this. If you get too cavalier, you can get yourself into trouble all too easily. Calculate how much money you make each month, how much money you need to cover all of your expenses, and then whatever you have leftover, theoretically, you can allow yourself to risk on sports up to that amount. If you’re taking home $4,200 a month at your job, and need $2,500 a month to live, that means you have an extra $1,700. I would recommend saving some of that since life happens and you have to spend money on things unexpectedly. If something breaks in your house, if you need to travel somewhere last minute, anything. Once you decide on a comfortable figure, record your sports betting results each month. You need to know how much you are putting into this since it’s inherently very likely you lose. Anything is possible of course, this is all just about planning for the worst prudently, so that if it does, you’re not left out in the cold.
If you take your extra money and lose every penny on it every month, at $1,700, that’s $20,400 a year. This is not a good or bad thing, it’s your money. You decide if you can afford that or not. You decide if it’s worth it or not. If it’s October 14, and this is the first month you’ve given this a try, and you’re already down $1,700, I suggest you put the brakes on. Gather yourself and regroup. Wait till the start of the next month, and if you’re still feeling it, give it another go. Once you start trying to overextend yourself and think you can just make it back all at once, or if you tell yourself, “okay I’m going to keep going this month and if I lose another $1,700 I just won’t bet sports at all next month”, you are likely falling into the trap. Yes this line of thinking is capable of working, but it’s already violating the initial plan of discipline you had previously set, so how can you realistically expect you won’t violate this one too? This is how the vicious cycle begins, and it’s up to you entirely to prevent it if you just assign yourself some responsibility.
If your objective is to do this full time, before you put a moment into researching a game or a team, you need to map out what you are trying to make with what amount of money to start with. With all the variance in sports betting bound to take place, you have to give yourself a big cushion, and permanently maintain it, so that any time you go on a sudden downswing, you can comfortably incur it. The feeling of going through that will probably suck no matter what, but at least you can do it without feeling like you’re in any kind of trouble. 1-2% is about what you should be risking on each bet. So if you have a starting bankroll of $100,000, then you don’t want to be betting more than $2,000 a game. Each bet you place is a “unit”. And your goal is to make 1 unit each week. That means if you’re betting $1,000 a game, you’re hoping to clear yourself $1,000 a week in net gain.
The $100,000 I’m referring to is strictly the money you’ve allocated towards the sports betting. This should not include the money you need to live on the side. You should have money placed on the side exclusively towards living expenses for 6-12 months. If you think you need $2,500 a month to live, take at least $15,000 and deduct it from your bankroll. That money is untouchable. Make believe you don’t have it. Its only function is for you to survive. If you have exactly $100,000, now you have $85,000. At 1-2%, that means you’re betting $850-$1,700 per bet, and that is what you are hoping to make each week. If things are going well, and after a few months you got about $100,000 just for sports, and you feel like upping the average bet size, I say why not.
Just understand this takes a lot of time and patience. Making a living sports betting affords you leisure time when you want it, but you must respect the work you’re doing to the nth degree around the clock because this is not some loophole within the universe you’ve discovered how to exploit. You are working all the same as everyone. In fact, your work is likely to be far more stressful than most people’s because of how much direct financial adversity you have to incur. The most important thing is to not feel deterred if things don’t start out well, or whenever they hit rough patches. Take note of how prudent you are thinking when things are going well, and remind yourself constantly to maintain that school of thought when the going gets tough.
Don’t change the strategy. Losing is par for the course. Even the best sports bettors on the planet win below 60% of the time. This should provide you comfort, not stress. You can afford to take losses. You can afford the time if you take your risks slowly at 1-2%. If you opt to ignore these disciplines, and start chasing on games you know very little about, and upping the bet when you’ve been losing because you insist you have to make money each day, or each week, for your own irrelevant desperate reasons, or because you simply believe you are “due”, sooner or later this endeavor is going to turn south on you. Guaranteed.