What is a Unit in Sports Betting?

What Does It Mean?

A common term used in the sports betting world is a ‘unit’. Whilst it is used frequently, some of you may be unsure exactly what it means or how to incorporate it into your betting strategy - which is why we made this article!

A unit represents the€/$/£amount placed when betting, with this amount remaining constant on each bet. The idea behind the term is to allow bettors to discuss how much they are risking when betting on a certain event, without the need to disclose exactly how much money is being wagered.

A common value given to a single ‘unit’ is 1% of a bettor’s bankroll. This means that for someone with a betting bankroll of€1,000, if they claim to be betting one unit on a game, they are actually staking€10. Despite this euro amount seeming relatively small compared to someone with a bankroll of€20,000, the term ‘unit’ clarifies that this bet carries the same relative level of risk as the person with the larger bankroll staking€200.

So let’s say you have a bankroll of€1,000 with a unit size of€10:

1 unit = €10

5 units = €50

7.5 units = €75 and so on.

So what does that look like when you’re betting?

unit size betting

How Can I Use It?

In general, if a bettor is confident on the outcome of an event, they will stake a larger unit size - and if they are less confident on the outcome, they will stake a relatively lower unit size.

To make things more complicated, there exist two types of staking strategies; flat and proportional. Unit betting would be an example of a flat staking strategy; in which all the same bet size is used on every game, as mentioned previously this is likely to be 1% of your bankroll. One of the advantages of using a flat staking strategy is that it enables a bettor to measure their edge more accurately to see if their edge is legitimate or just because they have a great staking strategy. We use this on our big data tool inside Trademate Sports.

At Trademate, we prefer to use a proportional staking strategy called theKelly Criterion. The formula calculates an exact figure which represents the ideal bet size that should be placed on a particular outcome of an event, permitting optimal bankroll growth. This is done by taking into account the odds offered at the bookmaker for an outcome, the estimated true probability of the outcome and current bankroll size.

We recommend using a fraction of the Kelly Criterion when betting with Trademate; although this can limit profit potential it helps greatly to reduce variance - which we all hate! Within the software you can choose between 100%, 50% or 30% of Kelly for your own staking size.

For more information on the Kelly Criterion and why it is the best staking strategy, watch the video below.

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