When to Adjust Your Betting Unit Size

Learn when to adjust your betting unit size.

Key Points

– Smart bettors learn the situations where they should adjust their betting unit size.

– Proper money management is one of the cornerstones of successful sports betting.

When to Adjust Your Betting Unit Size

Many sports bettors struggle constantly with money management. It can be hard for gamblers to keep the self-control they need to handle their money well. 

Choosing how much to wager on games can also be very difficult, especially if you don’t use a specific criterion to guide your decision. 

There are some general situations in which an increase or decrease in betting unit size are probably a good idea. However, ultimately, deciding on your bet size is a personal choice that you must feel comfortable. No two money management strategies are exactly the same. 

Here’s a look at situations where you may want to place a larger than normal wager as well as those where you might place a smaller than usual bet.


Increase Insignificant Bets

Most money management strategies advise placing wagers of one to four percent of your bankroll on a particular sporting event. However, if you have been consistently winning, you might want to make an adjustment.

If you’re betting one percent of your bankroll and find yourself on a big win streak, you may want to adjust your betting unit size. A $10 bettor could become a $15 or $20 bettor, for example.  

The purpose of the sports betting bankroll is to give you security and allow you to get through difficult times. However, if you are placing bets that are too small, you aren’t maximizing your resources. Your bankroll will expand but much more slowly than it could.  

Betting Unit Size Is Too Small

There are times when a bettor just doesn’t bet enough. Consider a bettor with a $1000 bankroll who is highly risk-averse. His bets are consistently $1 to $5. That’s not even close to one percent. 

When you bet so little that it doesn’t really make a difference, it might be time to adjust your bet size upward. When betting too little, one might not care enough to put forth any effort into making strong betting choices. Betting too little might actually make you a less successful bettor.

Making Money But Not Enough

So, you have some goals as a sports bettor. You win a lot of bets, but you keep falling short of those financial goals. 

If you are winning consistently, you should consider increasing your betting unit size. This is especially true when you are not making the money you had hoped to. 

This bettor is less likely to experience big loss, which makes it much easier to increase bet size. Because this bettor doesn’t lose as often, increasing one’s stake makes sense. Then, the financial goals that were set are more attainable. 

Underestimating Your Ability

Bettors often overestimate their skills, but if you did the opposite you might want to increase your betting unit size. When your winning percentage consistently exceeds your prediction, you have every reason to increase your stake.

You  can determine a good bet size by working backwards from your estimated win percentage. If you estimated 55 percent but in actuality are hitting 60 percent, you might consider moving your $25 bet to $35 or even $50. 

When you have proven that you can win more often over the long run, you can justify increasing your bet size.

When to Adjust Your Betting Unit Size

Betting Unit Size Consumes Bankroll

There are situations where bettors should consider reducing the size of their wagers. All bettors hit periods where they can’t buy a win. When you hit one of their difficult periods, your bankroll might decrease significantly.

With a smaller bankroll, it only makes sense to adjust the unit size downward. Once you begin to win again, you can always raise your stakes in accordance with the larger bankroll.

Too Much Anxiety

Scared money is never smart money. Sportsbooks like it when bettors lay down anxious wagers. When bettors aren’t sure of themselves, there is a greater chance that they are making an unwise betting decision.

If the size of the wager causes anxiety or discomfort in any way, then it’s too much. Adjust the stake downward or don’t place the bet at all. 

Losing bets hurts. Losing a bet where you wagered too much hurts even more. Only bet what you’re really comfortable losing, and avoid the habits of a losing sports bettor.

Adjust Unit Size When Underperforming

Bettors will often calculate their betting unit size based on their anticipated winning percentage. What happens if you are not consistently hitting that number? 

This is a situation where you need to consider lowering your stake. Too often, bettors will chase their losses in an attempt to make up for all the defeats. The problem is that they will run out of money much faster. 

It really comes down to bettors just being brutally honest with themselves. They need to know what they are doing, what they are capable of, and what that really means when they are losing. As a sports bettor, you will only hurt your own wallet if you lie to yourself about this.

Adjust Betting Unit Size When Withdrawing

Many bettors wager on sports, at least in part, to earn a little extra cash. Some even earn a lot more extra cash. Occasionally, these bettors will make withdrawals from their betting accounts.

Gamblers that do this are using their betting funds for other purposes. That means, at some point, they must recalculate their betting unit size.

This can be a critical error for many sports bettors. They win a bunch of money and then make a withdrawal. They place their next bet but use the same unit size. The problem, of course, is that the new bankroll is smaller. 

The stake size might end up now being 15 or 20 percent of the bankroll. That leaves the bettor too vulnerable. Smart bettors will adjust the bet size after they make a large withdrawal from their betting account.