Money Management

Anyone can pick 50% of their games correctly. You should end up around that number if you throw darts at the weekly schedule and pick the names you hit. But there's a name for people who win 50% of the time... Losers.

When you bet on football in Las Vegas you have to pay for the privilege by giving 11 / 10 odds. That means to win money you have win more that 52.38% of the games you bet. That's not as easy as it sounds, but it is far from impossible.The problem is, many people win 55% - 60% of the games they bet and still lose money. How? by not paying attention to money management. They 'll win their 2 early games, 2 out of 3 late games and then go for the kill and bet everything they've won (or more) on the Monday Night game. They lose that one and they've gotten 66% of their picks correct and haven't won a dime (or worse, lost money). You have to remember there is no such thing as a sure thing. Your optimal bet size for any game can be determined using The Kelly Criterion. It states:

A = W - L / P

Where A = Advantage (bet size)

W = Win percentage

L = Loss percentage (100 - W)

P = Payoff (to $1)

To use this equation in an example lets suppose your win proficiency is 60% (High but attainable) at 11/10 odds (91 cents return on 1$) the Advantage (bet size) would be:

A = 60 - 40/.91 = .16 or 16%

That means you should bet 16% of your bankroll each play.

Other winning percentages are as follows:

53% - 1.4%

54% - 3.5%

55% - 5.5%

56% - 7.6%

57% - 9.7%

58% - 11.8%

59% - 13.9%

61% - 16%

62% - 20.2%

63% - 22.3%

64% - 24.4%

Neither a higher nor lower figure will return a larger return on your investment.Remember though, that this is a best bet system and it assumes only one game at a time in order to maximize your winnings. If your waiting on the winner of an early game and it's getting late you'll have to decide whether to assume a win and adjust your next bet up or a loss and adjust it down. There is no provision for this decision in the Kelly Criterion but bearing this in mind should help you make better betting decisions.

Although the odds a little worse (about 2% worse) you may decide to bet parlays. These are only good bets if you have two or three games you feel equally strong about. If you could pick 70% winners (no one can sustain that pace but stick with me for arguments sake) and you bet 300 games at $100 apiece you would win ($21,000 - $9,900) $11,100. If however you played 100-3 team parlays @ 6 - 1 odds you could expect to win ($20,580 - $6,570) $14,010. So if you feel you can win 70% of your "hot" games these bets do make sense. (I never feel that sure.)

Other rules you should live by are:

1.) Keep your bankroll separate from your other money. There's enough pressure in gambling without worrying about having to make back the rent / kids college fund.

2.) Set goals and stick to them. If you start with $1000 and want to double it, once you reach that goal, draw down you initial $1000 and start again with $1000 or if you feel very strongly about how well your doing just draw down $500 and increase your initial bet 50%.

3.) Don't go nuts when you get ahead. Don't confuse your money with the houses money. Once you've won it, it's yours Treat it with as much respect as you would your last dollar.

4.) Conduct your gambling as you would a business, make sure your properly funded at that the price is right.

5.) Remember patience, if there are no good bets in the early games don't bet the early games. A lot of money has been lost by people because they "had" to bet something in the early games.

6.) Don't bet games because they're on TV or because your favorite team is playing. These things seem simple but we've seen a lot of people who bet games for these very reasons.

Copyright 2007 Richard Tolliver / Tolliver Software. All rights reserved.