Flat betting

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Flat betting is a bankroll management strategy that involves risking an equal amount on each wager. Bet size is determined through a percentage of a player's initial or current bankroll. Flat betting is a simple money management system that can be adopted by novices and is recommended for any sports bettor who does not mathematically quantify their perceived market advantage for each placed bet.


Flat betting is an optimal betting strategy for novice and intermediate bettors who do not use a betting model to quantify their advantage. A bad habit frequent among weaker sports bettors is risking larger amounts on picks believed to be more confident. The use of a unit system without numerically evaluating market advantage will quickly deplete a player's bankroll. In order to understand why this is the case it's necessary to comprehend how long term sports betting profit is attained. Oddsmakers set lines based on the perceived strengths of each team. These lines are not always identical to the true outcome probability of the game; people often believe certain teams are stronger or weaker then they actually are. Profitable sports betting lies in determining which games have the largest discrepancies between the available line and a theoretical true line based on the market's expected value.

An example of a profitable bet would be backing a +6.5 point spread when one's believes the expected margin is only 4 points. Expert sports bettors create projection models using game data in an attempt to project the true lines of each match. This provides the opportunity to see which bets would have the largest advantage over the betting lines. More importantly it gives a number to the perceived market advantage. It now becomes possible to claim that one pick carries twice the advantage of another and warrants double the stake.

It is however not possible to make this same claim when casually sports betting without projections. One cannot consistently determine that a given play carries twice (or more) advantage over another minimum qualifying play without the use of a model. Flat betting solves this by forcing the bettor to risk an equal dollar amount or bankroll percentage on each pick they believe has advantage.


Before a bettor can begin flat betting they must create their bankroll. This is defined as a sum of money specifically dedicated for gambling activities. It should be an amount that the bettor would not feel distressed if it were to all be lost. It's recommended that betting bankrolls are separated from everyday checking and savings accounts in it's own respective bank account.

Once a bankroll has been defined the next step is to determine bet size. When flat betting one will always risk the same amount per game regardless of how confident they are in the wager. This will either be a fixed dollar amount or percentage of the current bankroll.

Percentage of Initial Bankroll

The simplest way to flat bet is to always risk the same dollar amount per game. Risk size is determined by a percentage of the starting bankroll. A recommended amount is 1% of the initial bankroll. This means players starting off with $10,000 should aim to bet $100 per game.

The advantages to flat betting based on a percentage of initial bankroll is it's simplicity. Bet size never changes so players do not need to ponder over how much they must risk on a given bet.

Percentage of Current Bankroll

Bettors may also elect to risk a fixed percentage of their current bankroll. A 1% bankroll percentage is still recommended, but now wager size naturally increases and decreases based on betting progress. As a sports bettor wins the amount they risk will slowly increase alongside their bankroll. Similarly players who find themselves on losing streaks will have their wager size slowly decreased. This helps prevent the common bad habit of risking larger amounts on losing streaks in an attempt to regain losses.

Risking a percentage of current bankroll requires a bit more effort. The bettor must always be aware of their exact bankroll value in order to determine the size of each bet. This promotes good betting habits as players who track their daily progress through spreadsheets are less likely to develop bad habits.