Should I Consider Betting Against the Public

The results of sporting events cannot be known in advance unless you have a crystal ball. The betting public generally provides an accurate assessment of the respective probabilities of the results. Odds become more accurate from the betting public shaping a bookmaker’s opening line and exposing it to public appraisal. The opening line on big sporting events is the process of how the betting public can affect the line.

The value of the line is a market perception applied to the psychology of the bettor.

Very sharp bettors will have their own ideas about opening lines and when they differ with the bookmakers. Sharps bet quickly and re-shape the markets. High precision individuals are best at separating built in fluff (hype) from the reality of probable results. As markets odds become more apparent, more people voice their sports betting prediction by placing bets. The market generally moves to its most efficient position. The more bets made, the more accurate the average odds fall in to place.

The betting of high precision individuals has limited participants and their decisions are not made without consensus. When other less sophisticated bettors jump in and there is a total absence of sharps to counter balance the market, amateur bettors are in control. The bettors that control the movement of a market are generally bettors from a wide spectrum of knowledge and experience. There is often a specific time difference that groups place their bets.

The importance of understanding behavioral nuances and how they can affect rational risk assessment is becoming more important. As already mentioned, sharp players tend to act quickly on the opening line, while public money places bets closest to game times. This reflects on the behavior angle and how the betting public thinks which team they are more familiar to them. They tend to bet on which team they recall winning more often or the most common is which team is everyone else betting on !

These lazy judgments normally result in more money on the favorite, pushing the market away from its most efficient position. This is an example of how the betting decision of the public crowds can be replaced by following the herd mentality. Betting on the favorite and the over total is the most recognized betting pattern in the public betting mind-set.

The books know it but sometimes their shaded line does not matter if the public bettors are on target.

Public money may distort rather than reverse a market. This kind of collectively poor reasoning is successful sometimes when the collective consensus is correct. The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year but the odds are controlled by the betting public more than other betting events.

The betting public does affect the game results by their almost perfect betting balance in Super Bowl 52 between the Patriots and the Eagles. Sportsbooks reported the “perfect storm” of total wages on the big game. The opening line was the Patriots at -3 and did not move for two weeks as the public betting was evenly divided on each team.

The public perception was an even 50/50 split with no line adjustment which was highly unusual for any game. Not even the biggest whale bettors could make an impact on the line with their 5, 6 and even 7 figure bets. They could not move the line because of the enormous amount of public betting —- the Super Bowl always sets betting records worldwide and especially in Vegas. The public tug-of-war between the favorite and dog was a standoff which indicated a very close game with overtime a possibility. The final result was Eagles winning 41 to 33.

The most important sports betting strategy is staying true to whatever system you use over the long term. The most successful sports bettors realize this and continue using their strategies year after year without ever questioning their logic. They know you can’t win every wager and losing is inevitable at some point. However, the key to winning is staying consistent,  when reviewing the following betting strategies aimed at giving you an edge.

  • Fading the public

One of the best strategies for wagering on the NFL is betting against or “fading” the public due to the extreme popularity of the sport. While this can be an effective strategy when betting on other sports as well, nothing beats the impact the public has on pro football. NFL betting is the number one public betting sport. Sportsbooks know what teams are going to be the most heavily bet from week to week. They adjust their odds accordingly to get bettors to bite on their numbers. And they do, giving “sharps” the opportunity to go the other way and take the opposite side.

The most popular teams are those that get the most media coverage They tend to be overly hyped and are often not as good as advertised. Remember this every time you go to the betting window and ask yourself why you personally like one team over another. Always stay unbiased and focus simply on picking winners consistently by blocking out how much a team is featured on the radio or television. Go with your gut and don’t follow the flock of sheep that will try to get you to bet with the masses.

Sportsbooks guessing on public perception

The opening line can be a scary number for the books to post. The books are at risk trying to guess how the public will bet. Their consensus method comes from sound minds with a lot of experience.  Their Super Bowl 53 opening line was a jolt to their public betting exposure. The biggest betting game of the year gives power to the public bettor.

The opening line was posted at LA Rams -1. Books got hit with 85% of public money bet on Pats and caused some panic. Some books reported 90% of bets on Pats. Within 36 hours, the books adjusted to Pats being favored by 2.5 points. They needed to balance the bets badly or they could lose millions. By game time, Pats spread could be 3 to 3.5. This is an example of a bad opening line and public perception.

Betting against the public during a season is profitable at times. But the big betting events like the NFL or NBA playoffs, the Super Bowl and March Madness is different. Amateur and public bettors usually form their own consensus which can be on target and cause losses for the books. Smart bettors need to read between the lines and see thru the hype. The massive public betting groups are not sharp enough for consistent profits. They like the action and entertainment and lose money on their hobby. Playing against the public, known as contrarian betting, is a proven method for profits.