Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, June 29, 2018 at 4:00 PM
One of the great misperceptions about professional sports bettors is that they’re very picky about choosing games to bet on. Everybody knows that squares (the general public) usually bet too many games. But, just because sharps (pros) are “opposite” of squares doesn’t mean that sharps don’t bet a lot of games too.
Sharps bet every edge they can find! The pickiness comes regarding “big” bets. Sharps invest whenever they believe they have an edge, but they only place really big bets when the size of their edge is at its biggest.
Think about it this way. Oddsmakers post opening lines, and the numbers start moving. The public isn’t ready to fire when odds go up. They’re not watching the screens on their computers, or even aware of the general timing. Sharps are alert to openers, and shape them immediately. Early line movement comes from sharps betting a lot of games, not being picky.
And, at the end of the cycle, after the public has been lining up on the same favorites throughout a betting window (particularly in college and pro football), sharps will pick off numbers that moved too far all over the board. Again, that’s A LOT OF GAMES. The nature of how sharps look for value forces them to be on a lot of games.
Sharps will often find themselves on both sides in the same game…maybe laying the favorite at -3 on the opener, but coming back on the underdog at +6 just before kickoff. To be clear, they weren’t thinking about “shooting a middle” there. Maybe they graded the game at 4.5…and both bets made sense at the time each edge of the middle became available. Squares (the public) dream about hitting middles. Sharps end up being positioned that way as a side effect of how they bet.
My goal with these articles is to help you think like a sharp and bet like a sharp. This is one area where I’m a bit concerned…because that would mean asking you to bet MORE games. Are you ready for that? My best advice is this.
*Think about making more SMALLER bets, and fewer big bets. If you’re like most bettors, you’re too tempted to see something as a “sure thing” when it’s not. You may have heard about a soccer bettor who risked $130,000 to win $20,000 in Las Vegas that Germany would beat South Korea the other day. Even THAT big a favorite isn’t a sure thing to win straight up. On a busy football day, you might have five big bets (and a bunch of parlays using those same bets, inviting disaster if you lose a few); while sharps might have 15 smaller bets. The Wise Guys aren’t reckless “degenerates” chasing a thrill. They’re responsibly betting a lot of little edges (and not parlaying anything!)
*Think about “timing” your bets better than you currently do. Don’t be one of those guys who’s “see the line, bet the line” whenever you show up at a sports book or turn on your computer. Try to be ready for the openers so you can pick off soft lines. Stick around until just before kickoff so you can buy back against games that moved too much from public enthusiasm.
*Cut down on the number of favorites you bet, and stop being so timid about backing underdogs. It’s not true that sharps bet “only” underdogs…as some pundits will tell you. But, they do bet favorites early and underdogs late. If you were honest with yourself, you’d admit that you bet too many favorites…you’re betting them after the lines have already moved against you…and you’re sticking them in too many parlays hoping to hit a jackpot. Sharps get the best of line moves. Squares take the worst of them.
*Be smarter about establishing a bankroll and betting within your means. Too many bettors just kind of “imagine” a bankroll and bet on their mood. Sharps aren’t all quants. But, they are good with numbers, and good with money. Maybe they learned the hard way by trial and error. Maybe they planned everything out to the nth degree in advance. But, they’re SMART with money. Whatever your background and experience, you would be better served by being smarter with your money than you are right now.
It may not be your nature to chip away at a challenge hoping to grind out success. You want to swing for the fences every time at the plate. Sharps only do that on the occasional hanging curve ball. Most of life for a sharp is placing small size bets (compared to the size of his overall bankroll) that add up to profit over time, and “compound” to larger profits as the bankroll increases. Remember that oddsmakers do a good enough job of posting openers that few hanging curveballs will be coming your way. Put the ball in play. Day by day and week by week.
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Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend. See you again on Monday.