What Is a Unit When Betting on Sports?

By Nicholas Sterling in Sports
| July 19, 2022 1:23 pm PDT
Unit in Sports Being, Money symbolism, sports imagery

It’s important for bettors to manage their bankroll effectively. That way, they don’t lose all their money with a few bad bets. The best way to do so is by using units for sports betting.

Units allow you to track how much money you place with a single bet. It’s a great way to show your confidence in one prop vs. another.

Many professionals use this method to show amateurs what are the best bets. What are units in betting? We’ll take a deep dive to help explain the process of sports betting units.

What Are Sports Betting Units?

The simple definition of a sports betting unit is devoting a certain amount of money to a unit. 1u is the most common way you’ll see someone bet one unit on a prop. We’ll talk about how much one unit is, but the rule of thumb is 1 percent of your bankroll.

While we’re explaining sports betting units, it’s important to note that you can use more or less than one unit. Let’s say your sports betting unit is $10. Here is a mock example of how that would look.

  • 5u: $5.00
  • 1u: $10.00
  • 2u: $20.00

It’s not a complex method, as sports betting units help you keep track of your money. We’ll dive deeper into bankroll later, but it’s the driving force behind creating a unit for your betting.

It’s not a major deal if you only bet once or twice a week. However, everyone should make a limit for themselves if they’re a series bettor. It’ll help you in the long run.

Not everyone will have the same amount for one unit. You should determine your amount based on your bankroll. Don’t increase your amount because someone else is having more success. The whole point of following this method is to track your money safely.

From there, you can use the fastest paying betting sites to place your wagers.

How Do We Use Units in Betting?

Now that we know what a unit in sports betting is, it’s time to discuss how we can apply them to our bets. The first step is determining your amount for one unit.

The standard process is to have 1u for a prop. However, this will vary depending on the odds and confidence. Dipping a full unit on a prop with (+5000) odds is unnecessary. On the other hand, you may want to bump it to 2u if it’s (-350).

A professional bettor will track the success of their units over time.

Some bettors may keep their betting to one sport, but many people branch out to different sports. This gives them a better chance to earn a profit. Using a sports betting unit helps with which sports make you more money.

Sports betting units give you a sense of your top sports. You could also break it down by props if you find yourself betting on sports with different options. Maybe you’re good with passing yard props but struggle with rushing yards.

The moral of the story is using more betting units for props you feel comfortable with and those with lower odds. Bettors should lower their units to 0.25 or 0.50 if the odds are high.

Best Processes for Determining Units

What are units in sports betting? The amount of each one isn’t the same for each bettor. There are different ways to determine how much you’ll have for one unit.

Here are my favorite methods for determining your sports betting unit.

Percentage of Bankroll

The most common way a bettor determines their sports betting unit is a percentage of their bankroll. Most people will use one percent of their bankroll, meaning a $1,000 bankroll will yield $10 per unit.

That’s a good strategy because it doesn’t handicap you if you lose a few bets. Can you imagine losing your first two bets after using 10 percent of your bankroll? That’d be a disaster for anyone.

Bettors should start at one percent, but they don’t have to stay there forever. They are free to increase or decrease their unit depending on success.

Professional bettors likely step it up a notch, using three percent for their sports betting unit. They’re playing for a much bigger prize, so it makes sense to take this approach.

It’s not easy for a casual bettor to set aside a large sum of money ahead of the new year/season. There’s no shame if you go into the year with $100. No one will fault you for having 1u equal $1.00.

Our guide to betting on sports for real money helps manage your money. We talk about what are units in betting to give bettors a sense of managing their money. The most important thing is to feel comfortable with your wager.

Vary Between Your Best Sports

Bettors shouldn’t lock themselves into a defined unit for every prop. I would encourage bettors to find a different sports betting unit for every sport.

At first, it’s probably best to start with the same unit. You won’t know which sports bring you the most success until you see the results. Bettors can reevaluate their stance after a few weeks or months.

I should note the top US betting sites are the place to visit to make your bets. Following a month, maybe you determine that football is your best sport, but you’re struggling with baseball. Here is how your bankroll could change.

  • Football: 1.0u ($15.00)
  • Baseball: 1.0u ($5.00)

It doesn’t have to be a drastic change either way, but I would increase/decrease by 0.5 percent. Bettors may want to bump football to $20.00 while keeping baseball around $8.00. You have the right to make your adjustments.

We need to know what units in sports betting are before wagering on particular sports. I’ll break down a few sports, but it’s crucial for all of them.

Some bettors may have success with every sport, but you’ll mostly see bettors specialize in one or two sports. They shouldn’t have an issue increasing their unit for those sports. They can dabble in other sports, but it’ll be for a lower amount.

Most Important Sports to Determine Units

I would recommend having a standard betting unit for every sport. However, we have a few sports that deserve more attention for sports betting units.

What are the best sports to find a betting unit? Take a look at my top three options.


America’s Pastime is one of the top sports for bettors. We don’t have many more options from late June to August, with the NBA, NHL, and NFL in the offseason. The MLB takes center stage for at least one month.

That alone plays into developing a sports betting unit. Bettors will solely focus on baseball for that period of time because they want to bet on live action. There are typically 10+ games a day, meaning there are ample betting opportunities.

Check out the different options.

  • Spread/Moneyline/Run Total
  • Home Run Props
  • Hit Props
  • RBI Props
  • Strikeout Props

The spread/moneyline/run total is available with nearly every sport. However, the odds move drastically with the home runs props. The best power hitters in the game will have (+300) odds to hit a home run. That’s where you decrease your unit to earn the same amount of money.

There are many props within the games, including first inning run total, winning team after five innings, etc. And baseball has so many games that you’ll be placing many bets.

It’s essential for sports betting units to be used to explain baseball. I wouldn’t encourage bettors to exclusively focus on one sport for at least a month without having a betting unit. This will help manage your baseball betting.


The NFL reigns supreme among US bettors. However, I won’t be spotlighting the NFL, as their schedule only allows you to bet on games once a week. Instead, I’ll focus on another sport that runs through the Fall and Winter.

Basketball shares the spotlight with hockey through the Winter, but the NBA has more betting interest. In addition to the popularity, there are many betting opportunities.

Player props have been on the rise over the last few years. They give you more chances to turn a profit on an NBA game. That’s why it’s important to know what sports betting units are.

That breakdown focused on the NBA playoffs. You could probably double that for the NBA regular season. Those opportunities are why I’m highlighting the NBA over the NFL.

One thing I will say with basketball vs. baseball is you won’t see many props with high odds. Bettors like to try their hand at a first basket prop, but those are so random that I wouldn’t worry about it.

Bettors likely dabble with basketball and football while both are in action. The NBA could be your go-to sport during the week before transitioning to the NFL on the weekends.

The NBA is the most popular form of basketball, but you could apply your betting units to college basketball and the WNBA.

NASCAR/Formula One


I can’t imagine many people expected me to highlight NASCAR and Formula One while examining what is a unit in sports betting.

Motorsports aren’t the most popular for bettors, but it’s unique from NFL, NBA, MLB, etc.

There are no spreads or point totals with these sports. The most common bet is determining the race winner. NASCAR gives you a great chance to find value because the favorite for their races is in the (+700) to (+900) range.

Formula One doesn’t have as much value for their race winner, but they offer an insane amount of prop bets.

I put these in the same section because NASCAR and F1 betting often go together. Bettors should develop a betting unit for motorsports because of the variance in odds.

Props for both sports can have your standard (-110) to (-115) odds. However, you’ll also see props with the favorite at (+350). And it’s not uncommon for a NASCAR winner to have (+1600) odds. The only place you can find that in other sports is a future bet.

That variance is why I’d develop a betting unit for NASCAR/F1. It’s easy to lose track of your earnings when the odds change that much. Both sports are a great way to find value.

How Units Help You Manage Your Bankroll

Managing your bankroll has been the overarching theme for sports betting units. Ultimately, that’s the main reason bettors use units, especially professionals.

It’s not easy to keep track of your sports betting. Maybe if you make one or two bets a week, but imagine someone placing ten bets daily. They can’t keep track of their money off the top of their head.

It’s not as simple as betting $25.00 on one team and dropping $9.00 on another. Bettors want that defined betting unit because it’s much easier to track their money.

This is an excellent way for bettors to track their money safely. It tells them which sports give them the most success and where they need to improve. We talked about this earlier, but this also allows you to change your unit amount if one sport is better than the other.


I recommend developing a sports betting unit for everyone, especially professionals. This is basically their job, so it makes sense to track their money.

It’ll be tough for bettors to consistently increase their bankroll if they aren’t using units. This could be a great start if you want to take your sports betting to the next level. If nothing else, it keeps you from losing a ton of money.

Explaining Units in Sports Betting

What are units in betting? Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of sports betting units. The biggest takeaway is it allows bettors to effectively keep track of their winnings and losings.

Most bettors use one percent of their bankroll as one unit, but we know this varies for everyone. One unit is standard, but that also changes based on the odds, confidence, etc.

Now, you should be ready to place your sports bets. Our guide to online sports betting will help you become an expert in the gambling world.



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