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By Dan Thompson | Published On: Apr 9 2019

What is a Unit in Sports Betting?

unit in sports betting - usa betting odds
unit in sports betting - usa betting odds

So this is a question that comes up quite a lot when speaking to people new to sports betting. When looking at picks and reading what other expert sports betters are saying they may refer to a bet as ‘A Unit’.

Because everyone bets with different amounts of money the term ‘Unit’ develops a common language that everyone can understand and adhere to. For example, my standard bet may be $50 however your standard bet maybe $100 so if I was to say:

“Place $200 on team X as I feel that they have a strong chance of winning”

then to me I am happy to place x4 the amount of my standard bet however to someone that bets $100 average may think that the bet cannot be that strong since its only x2 my standard bet. On the flip side if someone has a $1 average bet then they would be seeing my statement as x200 their standard bet amount which may very likely put them off the bet altogether.

Now if we use Unit terminology and I say:

“Place 4 Units on team X as I feel that they have a strong chance of winning”

then the person betting $100 standard will see that as a $400 bet and the person with the $1 standard bet will see it as a $4 bet.

So you see by using the term ‘Unit’ it generalises sports bets and allows everyone to understand the strength of the bet in their own way.

It also allows you to keep what you bet a secret as you don’t want to sound to flash by saying you bet $10,000 per bet and you may not want to sound tight by saying you bet $1.

Bankrole Management

Developing a bankroll management strategy within your sports betting account can keep your account healthy and stop you from betting to much at once.

Let’s look at how using a ‘Unit System’ within your betting account can help you to put in place a solid bankroll management strategy.

A simple scale Unit System (and the most commonly used) is a 1-5 Unit System where 1 = 1% of your betting account and 5 = 5% of your betting account.

A Simple Example of a Unit System in Sports Betting

You have $1000 in your account.
You have decided that you want 1 unit to be 1% of your account.
1 Unit = 1% of $1000

1% of $1000 = $10

If you have success in your sports betting and your account grows from $1000 to $1700 then the calculation would look like this:

You have $1700 in your account.
Remember that 1 unit is still 1% of your account.
1 Unit = 1% of $1700
1% of $1700 = $17

This way of betting allows you to stick to a structured bet and not go to over the top when placing your bets.

5 Units Bet

In sports betting terms a 5 unit bet should be classed as a very strong and maximum bet so you should feel very confident that this bet will win to place 5 units on it.

If you find a bet like this then the unit system will help you to stop placing a large amount of your account on it. Yes you will win more if it comes in however if it doesn’t then all your hard work over the last few day, weeks or months could disappear in one bet.

The 1-10 Unit System

If you feel you want to use a more advanced Unit System then you can opt to use the 1-10 Unit System which is explained below:

1-10 Unit System Example

Each unit will be split into 0.5%

If you have $1000 in your betting account then the calculations are as follows:

1 unit = 0.5% of your betting account = $5
2 units = 1% of your betting account = $10
3 units = 1.5% of your betting account = $15
4 units = 2% of your betting account = $20
5 units = 2.5% of your betting account = $25
6 units = 3% of your betting account = $30
7 units = 3.5% of your betting account = $35
8 units = 4% of your betting account = $40
9 units = 4.5% of your betting account = $45
10 units = 5% of your betting account = $50

Parlay Betting with the Unit System

When placing your parlay bet it is wise to use the your units once all your selections have been placed. In a 3 line parlay bet it could be tempting to use 3 units for the strong bet that you have found then 1 unit for the other 2 bets. This would not be a wise bet as this would mean you will be placing a 5 unit bet in a parlay which we all know only takes 1 bet to lose and you lose the entire bet.

No matter how strongly you feel towards 1 bet, I would recommend placing 1 unit bets on parlays since the amount you will win is increased anyway.

You can use our Parlay Calculator to work out how much the parlay bet will payout. Then you can decide how many units you think is acceptable to place.

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