I say it all the time, how much you bet is more important than who you bet on. It sounds funny but it is true. I can look at what percentage of a person's bankroll is being bet per wager and tell if they will be a successful bettor long term. It's actually pretty easy.
What so many guys don't understand is that this game we play is a LONG game. You are not going to get rich betting games no matter what you've seen in the movies or heard on the Internet. You are most likely going to lose every penny of your bankroll unless you have a way to manage it in a way that allows you to take emotion out of the equation. No matter how you decide to tackle sports betting, you will come to the conclusion that you need to be able to make each game as insignificant as possible in the grand scheme of things.
The way I do it is to bet each game for 1% of my total bankroll. It's not sexy, it's not exciting and it will not make you rich. What it will do, is keep you on an even keel and put cash in your pocket year after year if you can hit higher than 53% of your wagers (asumming a -110 line). At no point will you ever care enough about the outcome of one game to punch a wall, yell at your wife, kick your dog, etc. You won't carry the emotion of a loss with you into your handicapping either (ala go on "tilt") which is most important. We have all met someone who lost one game and turned that loss into many losses. That can't happen when you are taking sports betting seriously.
Always keep in mind that the best guys in the world hit at a 60% clip. That means that the BEST guys in the world lose 40% of the wagers they make which is a lot of losing. It is not uncommon to win or lose 7-9 games in a row multiple times throughout the year as success in this business is not linear. You NEED to be able to handle the swings emotionally as well as financially and managing my bankroll the way I do is the way that works best for me. I could watch a game with you and you would never know that I had money on it. That is because win or lose, each single bet is just another brick in the wall for me.
Now let's talk numbers. In the past, I have flat bet $300 per game (It was always "to win" $300 so my wagers looked like $330 to win $300 assuming a -110 line) which means I never increased or decreased my wager. I stayed at the $300 level for years as it was where I was most comfortable. Technically, I could have put my profits back into my bankroll each year which would have increased my wager amount but I declined to do that for a couple of years. (I don't live off of my sports betting money so that factored into my decision to just roll my profits into my savings.) This year, I am going to make the jump to $1000 per wager ($1100 to win $1000 on -110 lines) and do my best to make around 200 wagers for the year at the $1000 level.
Using my numbers, if I hit 60% of my bets at the $1000 level and I make 200 bets throughout the year, I will walk with roughly $32,000 when the losses are factored in (120 wins and 80 losses). This is assuming all bets are at a -110 line which never happens but this gives you an idea of what to expect when you manage your bankroll in the ultra conservative way that I do. Obviously you can make more by betting a higher percentage of your bankroll per play if that suits you better. The goal for me is to hit a higher percentage since I am playing less plays but it remains to be seen whether or not I will be able to do that. 60% is hard as hell to attain and you need all the self control and patience in the world to accomplish that win rate.
I also like to make what I call "degenerate" bets. First, let's define a degenerate bet. A degenerate bet is any bet you make on a whim. Let's say you are out at a bar or with friends somewhere and you guys want to get some action on whatever game is on. That is a degenerate bet. I get it, if you follow me on Twitter, you know I like to play some volume recreationally and you can still do that without tapping into your actual bankroll.
First rule for me, play any degenerate bet for 1/10th of what I play an actual researched wager. In my case, that is $100. At that rate, you would have to have one hell of a shit day to even lose 1% of your bankroll. It has been my experience that you will more likely than not land in the 48-52% range for the year on these types of bets anyway so at the end of the year, the effect on your bankroll is negligible. Bet away, degenerates!