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MyTopSportsbooks ‘Unit’ in Sports Betting Guide

The term unit is tossed around frequently in a casino’s sportsbook. Phrases such as “I just won 2 units” or “Damn, I lost 5 units on that game” are all commonly used. This guide from the experts at MyTopSportsbooks will ensure that you have a complete understanding of what a unit is and how to apply this to your sports betting strategy.

What are Sports Betting Units?

A unit is the dollar amount placed on a wager with the dollar amount remaining consistent on each bet. Each unit, or bet, should be one percent of your entire starting bankroll. So while the amount wagered can vary from bettor to bettor the value is the same as each has risked one unit or one percent of their bankroll. Using the term unit allows everyone to speak universally without divulging how much money the bettor has at risk. Therefore, while the dollar amounts may vary between the bettors the level of risk is the same. Whether you are a $100 bettor or $15 bettor per unit the risk is equal as each is risking one percent of their bankroll.

Risking Multiple Units

As a show of confidence in a bet, a bettor will commonly risk more than one unit per bet. Sports bettors generally have a predetermined max bet size as well. When the confidence is high the unit size follows suit.

Betting multiple units is risky as a bettor can get caught up in trying to reach for results. If a two-unit size bet loses and is then countered with a 5 unit bet size next you can start to see how would lose an entire bankroll in a hurry. Additionally, predicting that one result is more of a guaranteed winner over another is also quite tough to do.

That said, despite some of the concerns sports handicappers will release plays at varying unit sizes. The increase in units is driven by confidence. Confidence will always play a role in determining the unit size for any given bet.

Risking multiple units with success is how a bettor can have a losing record, but be up money. If the big unit sized bets are winning then it will make up for a bunch of small unit size bets losing. The flip side can be true as well for those that win small unit bets but lose out on cashing their big unit sized bets. This will result in a winning record, but a diminished bankroll.

Parlays are about as common as a weekly trip to the grocery store, but bettors generally risk fewer units on these. That is because of two factors. The increasing difficulty of the bet winning due to multiple events within one singular bet and the increased payout will necessitate a common bet size of a half unit for example.

Armed with the confidence on how to manage your bankroll through units, we wish you good luck! Remember to check out our other guides for more sports betting knowledge

Use the Payout and Odds Calculator

Whether you are using the unit approach or some other system, it is always a good idea to have an odds calculator handy. This way you can be smarter about the unit that you are using. Your unit strategy should be constantly informed by your use of the betting odds calculator.


Do not forget about the parlay calculator. You can still apply the unit approach to parlays. Parlays can make each unit bet even more profitable. Of course, they all come with even more risk as every leg of the parlay has to carry in order to earn the payout.

betting odds guide illustration