Ultimate Bankroll Management Guide for NFL Betting

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P.J. Walker #6 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles during the first quarter. Justin Casterline/Getty Images/AFP

Football is right around the corner and although everyone is pumped up for a full season of NFL action, we should note that in order to stay in the game, you have to exercise money management. If you’re not sure how to do that then read on and we will show you how!

Talking Heads

The more we listen the more we become convinced that some guy knows just a little bit more than the rest of us. I know you know what I mean because if you have been around the betting block, even a little, then you’ve all heard the national guys in their finely-tailored suits tell us why this team or that team will cover the spread with ease. A mortal lock if you will…until it’s not.

Here’s your first tip: The guys who used to play or coach in the NFL might know X’s and O’s but they know diddly about sports betting. Stay away and tune them out because chances are they’ve never bet a dime of their own money. And more to the point, if they were indeed that good, they would be making these declarations followed by showing their national audience a screenshot of the bet they made and the amount of that wager.

The bottom line here is to find a podcast where actual savvy bettors are discussing the games and not ex-jocks yucking it up with each other, talking about the good old days while they pretend to know the difference between a teaser and a pleaser. And when you do find that columnist or podcaster that tickles your fancy make sure they are someone who follows the disciplined money management we will discuss below. There are no guaranteed winners so don’t get too carried away with one man’s (or woman’s) opinion on a game.

Money Management Golden Rules

1. Bankroll Limit – We all have different pain thresholds when it comes to sports betting. I have known millionaires who get physically ill if they lose a few hundred dollars. I have also known trash collectors who don’t bat an eye if they lose a nickel on a game. Different strokes for different folks. But here’s what I do know if you want to be able to sleep soundly at night, regardless of how poorly you did with your NFL picks on a given Sunday – set a season bankroll. This should be an amount that you can afford to lose and not one that you intend to lose. If you do burn through it then call it quits for the season. A good general knows when to retreat.

2. Static or Dynamic Betting System? – How you bet is up to you and so too is the size of your wagers. There are two schools of thought on this and I will present both. The first of which is static betting which means every bet you make is for the same amount – one unit. A unit should always be one percent of your bankroll. Therefore, if you have put a thousand bucks away for NFL betting then each bet you make should be $10 and no more than that. It’s not a lot of money but based on your bankroll, it’s just the right amount to keep you in action for the entire season.

The second betting system is dynamic which means not all bets are created equal. Some seasoned pros use the 1-to-5-unit system which assigns a numeric value to each bet with a 1-unit wager as an average level of enthusiasm for that bet ranging to a 5-unit wager which is the best bet scenario and should be used sparingly, very sparingly. This is a pick of the month kind of wager so if you are betting 5 units on a game more than five times a season then you are overvaluing your picks.

Slow Your Roll – You don’t have to bet every game on the board. There’s always tomorrow and whatever you do, don’t chase your losses! Let me repeat that – DO NOT CHASE YOUR LOSSES! If you lose the 1:00 PM ETs on Sunday then don’t scour the NFL odds board looking to get even.

Also, limit the number of your bets. On any given football Sunday there could be anywhere from a dozen to 16 games depending on the time of the season. Pick one, two, or three that you like, or choose none at all if the spirit doesn’t move you. The books live off of action junkies because the vig will ultimately wear them out due to an overwhelming number of wagers. Be smart and don’t bet a game just because you can.