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Sports Betting Units

Units in Sports Betting Explained

By Loot, Professional Sports Bettor,

At its root, a unit in sports betting is a form of organization, a way for a bettor to keep track and approach the betting of the games. A unit is an amount of money. A player’s bankroll is split up into units. And the way he expresses whether he’s up or down is in terms of units. It’s really just a measurement of how much you bet and how much you’ve won or lost. As in anything related to sports betting, examples are very useful in explaining units.

Say a bettor has a 10K bankroll. He could split that bankroll into 100 units of $100. A unit should represent a tiny part of your bankroll. 1% is ideal, but not everyone can work like that. If a guy has a $200 bankroll, splitting it into a bunch of $2 units can be an excruciating grind. So maybe you bump it up to 2 or 3%.

Structure is important for a sports bettor. A lot of the general betting public just swings it from the hip, betting what they feel like depending on how much they like a game and not really keeping great track of their overall progress. Units allow for very accurate record-keeping and organization of the bets.

It’s also a way to determine if you’re really winning, if keeping track in forums or for those who sell their picks. On one hand, the bottom line is how much a bettor is either up or down. But breaking it down into units allows you to really see how a person is doing on a consistent basis. It also allows you to see how much they like a game, based on how many units they attribute to the picks.


Again, money is the ultimate determinant. But units can help shed light on how well a bettor is doing in a season. A unit is whatever it is to you. For one bettor with a huge bankroll, a unit could be $5000 and for you, it could be $10. Still, a bettor with a small bankroll can illustrate success by showing how many units he won, even if his 100 units doesn’t even equal 1 unit of a bigger bettor.

For example, if someone says they are up 20 units on the season, that means they are up 20x whatever one of their units is. If it’s $100, they’re up $2000. If it’s $10 per unit, it is $200.

Bettors, those who sell their picks, and those who just like to participate in sports betting forums online will categorize their bets in terms of importance through the use of units. A bet with a normal level of confidence may be a 1 or 2-unit bet, while a bet that offers exceptional value could be a 5-unit play or more.

Going by units succeeds where a simple won-loss record fails. There is something to be said for betting the same amount on each game, in which case a won-loss record could shed some light. After all, a bet should either be worthy of betting or not, something betting with differing units runs counter to. It’s just that most bettors do, in a sense, handicap their own picks in terms of priority and worthiness.

With the use of units, it’s possible to be above .500 in wins/losses, yet be down in terms of money. Conversely, it’s possible to have lost more bets than you won, but still be ahead because the games that were won had more overall units attached to them. Units is a way to organize betting success in terms of actual profits, as opposed to the less-conclusive measuring stick of a won-loss record.

For those not used to units, it may seem like a cumbersome element of record-keeping. There may be times where the amount you bet doesn’t break down conveniently into a unit. And it doesn’t always make the accommodations for the element of vig. At the same time, it’s a strong way to organize your sports betting--both in terms of how much you bet and where you stand overall.

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