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Beginner NBA DFS: Bankroll Management

We continue our breakdown of the basics for NBA DFS. In this section, we look at Bankroll, with definitions and some basic strategy.

Miami Heat general manager Pat Riley during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center.  Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

There’s an old saying “You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit.” Well, in this case the biscuit is cashing and the risk is your bankroll. Having a bankroll in daily fantasy basketball is crucial because, well, without one you’re not going to be able to play in many contests. Your bankroll is very important down the line, so it’s good practice to understand how to manage it properly before diving into more intermediate and advanced play.

Bankroll

Definition

Your bankroll is how much money you choose to use in your DraftKings account to enter contests. Starting out, you shouldn’t deposit more money than you’re willing to lose.

Strategy

For a beginner, it’s important to manage your bankroll properly. The last thing we want you to do is deposit funds, enter them all into one contest and come out the other end empty handed. Once you figure out the amount of money you’d like to allocate to your bankroll, you can begin to map out a budget.

At lower levels, this won’t be too difficult, but it’s just as crucial to your success. Decide how much you want to use on any given set of contests beforehand, so you aren’t tempted to enter more and more contests. It’s going to take time, practice and more of an investment before you start hitting big. No need to rush.

Bankroll allocation

Starting out, you don’t want to put your entire bankroll on the line night-to-night. A good practice is using around 20-30 percent of your bankroll on any given slate. That way, if you have an off night, you can get right back at it and adjust the next slate. Risking all your money, living and dying by every slate is not the way to go. As you feel more comfortable making lineups and you’re cashing more consistently, you can start to enter more of the bankroll (or less depending on how much it builds).

Game types

So you can play a number of contest types on DraftKings, the most common being cash games and tournaments. We’ll cover both of these extensively, but for now we’ll keep it to basics. Cash games are usually 50/50 contests and double-ups in which you want to use the safest plays. Because there’s less volatility and variance in your picks, the odds of cashing in these contests is generally higher. Allocating more bankroll to cash games is ideal. Spending less on tournaments makes sense since fewer lineups cash and there are usually more entries.

Basketball-specific strategy

Lineups and injury news usually dictate how we craft lineups on any given slate. If there appears to be a spot in which a player presents a lot of value, you can rethink your bankroll allocation for that slate. These contests vary night-to-night and there will be times in which one or multiple players appear to be slam dunks. If you’re confident in your process and lineup building for a slate, it’s not a bad idea to put some more of that bankroll on the line. Don’t go all in! Pump the brakes! Just throw a little more of your hat into the ring.