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What Sports and Wagers to Target When Betting with a Small Bankroll


Building on yesterday’s article on how to be a successful bettor with a small bankroll, let’s focus our attention on what sports and bet types to target and avoid.

1. Prop Bets. The biggest benefit of betting smaller amounts is that everything is in play. Most online sportsbooks offer a plethora of options beyond your typical major sport sides and totals. Most of these options fall under the category of “props.” Props are one of the most effective ways to build a bankroll. For one, the markets are generally a lot smaller. Depending on the prop, limits typically range from $100 to $300. For “bigger” bettors, the time needed to handicap props and the ROI may not be worth it. Second, the lines aren’t nearly as strong. Oddsmakers are far more worried about posting a strong NFL side compared to a random player prop.

2. Player Props. This is where I recommend you start. Daily Fantasy Sports has lost a lot of its luster but there is still a ton of free information available online. Player props is all about finding favorable and unfavorable matchups because the lines and prices are almost always predicated on season-long stats. MLB player vs. player total bases was one I used to bet when I first started. It was a relatively simple handicap; venue, opposing pitchers, and various splits. The NBA is another sport that offers a slew of props including a player’s total points or points and rebounds or assists. Be careful however to avoid “edge-less” props. Teams winning by certain margins is tempting because bettors see a bunch of plus prices. Picking winners is hard enough. If you find yourself siding with a particular team, just bet the game straight up or against the traditional point spread. Also be aware of the juice. Some sportsbooks really make you pay for betting props, i.e. 30, 40 and even 50 cent lines vs. the preferred -110. It’s the nature of the beast so know that your win percentage likely needs to be higher in order to profit.

3. Secondary Sports. You don’t have to be a fan to cash in on some of the lesser-followed sports. The WNBA season runs from late May until early October. With the exception of MLB, there isn’t much of anything going on during much of that span. The CFL has a similar schedule though runs through Thanksgiving. One of the perks of handicapping the CFL is that there are only nine teams. These are two really good examples of sports that if you are willing to put in the time can be consistently beat.

4. Second halves. We dedicated an entire podcast to second half betting concepts. I recommend you start by betting the second halves of games you watch. As your skills improve, you’ll be able to make bets by reading box scores. Either way, you’ll have a lot of information in front of you that you obviously didn’t have prior to the game. The second half markets are far from “soft” and the lines move rapidly but most bettors will tell you their winning percentage with second half wagers is higher compared to full games.

5. Parlays. The problem with parlays is that young bettors will just look at the return rather than the win probability which is almost always below 50%. They plug in four or five moneyline favorites that are “locks” to win, see the potential for a plus price return, and fire. When you are dealing with a small bankroll, you only have so many bullets meaning every bet counts. Parlays are fine if placed strategically. But if they outnumber your traditional side and total bets, you run a high risk of going bust.

5. Futures. These can offer lots of potential but the downside is they tie up an already limited amount of funds for an extended amount of time. It comes down to how flexible you can be with your bankroll. It’s not a bad idea that as your bankroll grows to set aside money specifically for futures.

Andrew Lange

With significant market influence, Andrew Lange has produced a decade-long 58% winning rate on over 750 selections in college basketball. Using a low volume, high return approach, Lange's results in the NFL have been equally impressive with a 61% mark and over +49 units of profit on a 1, 1.5, and 2-unit scale since 2012.