NFL Bankroll ManagementSports betting is a complex activity that requires individuals to be extremely aware of all aspects of the trade if they want to end up in the black instead of running up debts.

Bettors are encouraged to start by learning all the specifics of the sport that they are interested in.

Even if they do have some prior knowledge about game rules and player stats, keeping track of the latest sports newsletters and updates allows bettors to level out with the sportsbooks. Having mentioned them, selecting a reliable sportsbook is just as important as being informed.

With the latest overwhelming appearance of numerous online sports betting platforms, it is often hard to determine which sportsbooks are genuine professionals and which are only after your money. And the matter of money is definitely a deal-breaker in bettors’ attempt to practice successful sports betting.

NFL or NBA or even horse racing bets are all alike in one thing – they require actual cash in order to place the wager. However, before you start risking your hard earned money, it is important to know the basics of bankroll management – another crucial aspect of the trade.

What is Bankroll Management?

You need to be well acquainted with the key constituents of bankroll management before you are actually able to employ it in your NFL betting strategy this season or any other of your favorite sports.

  • Bankroll – First off, we start by explaining the meaning of the word bankroll, so that you know exactly what it is you have to manage. Your bankroll is practically the amount of money that you can separate from your everyday budget and risk losing it without having any significant impact on your quality of life. No matter whether you set up one permanent bankroll or you decide to fund it on a weekly/monthly base, it needs to be determined with great caution and previous consideration.
  • Staking Plan – This can be seen as the second element of bankroll management. Following the creation of your bankroll, you will need a plan, scheme or pattern to determine how you are going to spend it, i.e. how you are going to determine the amount of your wagers.
  • Keeping Records – The ultimate ‘element’ of bankroll management requires each bettor to keep track of their bets. In order to do it properly and most efficiently, your records must include your starting bankroll, the amount of each separate bet you have made and its outcome – winning or losing. Once you have finished your betting session in a way, you will also need to write down the time period you have gone through and the amount of your bankroll you have accumulated or been left with.

Overall, the idea of bankroll management is to treat your sports betting activities just like any other pastime and plan your expenses beforehand. Below we cover the three separate constituents of bankroll management in greater detail with a few examples just so you get a clearer idea.

Set Up Your Bankroll

There are no strict rules regarding the amount of your bankroll or the process of setting it up before the actual betting begins. The most important thing that needs to be emphasized is that you need to be able to afford living without that money, just like they do not exist. Evidently, this may seem a bit pessimistic, as we are setting you up for the worst case scenario, but the purpose is to put things into perspective.

Types of Staking Plans

You already know what a staking plan is, so we can move on the various types. Most sports bettors distinguish between two types of staking plans: fixed or variable. The former is called fixed due to the fact that once you have determined the amount of your wager, you will need to stick with it until the end of your sports betting season, like the NFL for example, or your bankroll (hopefully not!) Even in the fixed staking plan, you still get to choose between level staking and percentage staking.

Percentage Staking Example

Level Staking

This form of fixed staking plan means that once you have determined the precise percentage of your bankroll that you are willing to spare for each wager, you just need to stick to it and see what happens.

The advisable amount is around 2% or something less, even though some bettors set the limits wider, usually from 1% to 5% of your bankroll.

In turn, the percentage will depend on the type of bettor you are and the bets you place. Namely, if you are a more conservative bettor sticking to favorites and popular games, you should be able to risk a bit over 2% for your betting practices, while bettors who turn to far-reaching bets on less certain sporting events may need to consider lower percentages in order to protect their bankroll.

Percentage Staking

The second form of fixed staking is actually just a variation of the primary one. Namely, you start off your betting session in the same manner – by determining the percentage of your bankroll that is going to be your wager amount.

An instance of such a situation would be to have a starting bankroll of $1,000 and a set percentage of 2.5%, which means that your initial bet would be $25. The trick here is that once your bet is finished, your bankroll is changed. You either lost the bet and your bankroll is currently $975 or you won and now you have a bankroll of $1,100 per say.

Now, you once again have to determine 2.5% of your bankroll for your next bet, but that would be a different amount. In the case of a $975 bankroll, your next wager amount would be roughly about $24, while the opposite situation would set your wager amount at $27.50.

These fixed staking types of plans are recommended for recreational bettors, novices or anyone who is not willing to spare a large amount of their income on their bankroll due to their low risk feature. You get to play more games and place more bets by using a fixed wagering amount, and each win you hit would be like an added bonus.

Variable Staking

Variable staking plans are a wholly different thing, as they change the wager amount for each bet based on all kinds of criteria. One of the most frequent types of variable staking is the staking plan based on confidence and the one based on potential payout. The former allows players to state their level of confidence of winning the bet before determining the wager amount. Lower confidence would result in smaller bet sizes, down to 1% of your bankroll while greater confidence bets can be made with up to 3% or 4% of your bankroll.

On the other hand, the potential payout as variable staking plan criterion is directly related to the betting odds. Lower odds mean higher stakes, while higher odds only allow small wagers.

There are also those variable staking plans which basically chase wins and losses. Some choose to increase their bet amount after each win and decrease it after each loss, while others go with the opposite tactics. Either way, this is not a recommended solution to your staking plan doubts.

Kelly Criterion

Ultimately, the Kelly criterion is another variable staking plan famous worldwide for its relation to the bettor’s assessment of their winning and losing chances. This Kelly plan follows a strict formula: (bp-q)/b=f where ‘b’ stands for the multiple of the stake you could win, ‘p’ is the probability of winning and ‘q’ is the probability of losing.

Once you have calculated this, you get ‘f’ – the fraction of your bankroll that should be your next wager amount. Opinions are spread all over the spectrum when it comes to the Kelly criterion, and the best way to make your mind is to try it for yourself.


Bear in mind that if the odds for your bet are 2.3, the multiple of your stake is 1.3, while the assessed probability of winning and losing is expressed in percentages, so your total cannot be north of 100%. Just convert the odds and percentages into decimals and you should have your fraction in no time.

Keep Records

Consider yourself as your personal accountant and keep records of every one of your sports betting attempts. This will help you see whether you should continue in the same manner, change some tactics or abandon the practice altogether. Plus, it will allow you to develop some stats on game outcomes and sportsbooks, so that you also work on your finances and improve your sports betting skills. Before you know it, the NFL season could turn into your personal source of income.