The world’s first sports handicapping website.
Sports betting as a business since 1997.
JV Miller is widely regarded as one of the world’s top sports handicappers. Gambling Times Magazine called JV Miller one of the last legitimate handicappers-for-hire on the web. JV is featured regularly as a handicapping expert on television, radio, podcasts, and speaks at seminars and educational institutions around the world. JV finished first place in the Marina Bay Sands Millennium Million Dollar NFL Contest against over one thousand professional handicappers.
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SPORTS BETTING MONEY MANAGEMENT
Money management is just as important as picking winners.
A successful sports betting strategy begins with managing your bankroll. To make a living betting sports, you must treat it as you would any other business. The old saying is that you should not use your rent money to bet with. That is true. But if you're betting for a living it is equally true that you must not use your gambling bankroll to pay the rent.
When it comes to sports betting, each person may be trying to accomplish something different. If your objective is merely entertainment, then your goal is entirely different than my goal of making a living. If you bet $100 a game on Monday night football to enjoy the game, it will cost you $5 a week if you can go 50-50. There is nothing wrong with that. It's cheaper than a movie. But that is entertainment expense, not an excellent investment vehicle.
The amazing thing about sports betting is the return on investment (ROI) that is possible. And there is no magic. The return on investment is a function of the winning percentage and the amount that is invested. The amount invested is a function of how many games (investments) are bet and how much is bet on each game. It is the same as any business. How many widgets did you sell and how much did you gross per widget?
We average around 1,500 plays per year. Most professional-level sports bettors wager around one percent of their beginning bankroll per bet. This is called a unit. The maximum unit (bet size) should not exceed two percent of your bankroll. If my pain tolerance is two percent, I would bet 2.2% of my bankroll on every bet. That means I will bet two percent of my money 1,500 times...3,000% of my bankroll. I will bet the same money thirty times in one year.
If I win 55% of my 1500 plays, I win 825 units and lose 675. I pay a broker fee to the sportsbook of 67.5 units. Therefore, I win 82.5 units (82.5 units @ 2% of my bankroll is 165% of my bankroll. I more than double my money.)
Some people think they can make a living betting $100 a game. Well, think about it. If they play 25 games a week, they will lay $2,750 to win $2,500. If they are good, they will win 14 games and lose 11. For the losing bets, they forfeit $1,210. For the winning bets, the bookmaker returns their original $1,540 plus $1,400 in winnings. This amounts to $190 profit – clearly not enough to live from. Depending on your lifestyle, typically a minimum unit of $300 to $400 is required to make a living betting sports; although, this leaves little to grow the business. Remember you need a $20,000 bankroll to play a $400 unit.
As soon as you can draw from the business, you should put yourself on a salary. That way you can know what to expect for an income and won't be bothered by the short-term vagaries of Lady Luck.
After over thirty years, we know the number of plays we have each year. We know our bet size. With 1,500 plays, the standard deviation for our win percentage is 2. We know we win between 53% and 57%. Sounds rather dull when we put it that way. And I guess it is. Bernard Baruch, the great financier, said he always looked for boring businesses. They were well run, without surprises and he knew what to expect.
I know what to expect. One great lesson we point out is that with a 55% expectation, your bankroll would reach a new high only 5% of the time. Nineteen out of 20 days you will be below your bankroll high. The novice thinks you should have more money each day. I also know that with a 55%-win rate and 125 bets a month, I will lose money every 9th month. Good money management is aided by knowing what to expect.
As a final note on bet size, I should add that I use a plateau system.
I bet 2% of my bank and continue to flat bet until my bank grows by at least 25%. Then I recalculate the 2%. Thus, if I started with $10,000, I would bet $200 a game until my bank grows to at least $12,500. At that point, I would refigure my unit to $250. I bet flat until I reach at least $15,625. My actual risk-reward ratio doesn't get too high. The other thing that I do that is unique and rather arguable is that I never lower my bet. Remember, if you vary the bet, your breakeven goes up. At a 2% unit and three decades of experience, I am comfortable that I can ride through a losing streak. If you lose 10 games at $200 a bet and lower the bet to $180, you must win 12.2 bets to get back to even. This is how I get my 100% annual ROI. My actual bet goes up during the year as my bankroll reaches higher plateaus.
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