Why I love betting against you

Most people are really bad at betting on sports.

Just go to any sports betting forum, and you'll see all the posts about bad beats or guaranteed lock picks (that usually lose).

Gambling meccas like Las Vegas or Macau exist for one reason: because most people lose.


And that's okay, because I like to take their money.

You see, it's a common misconception that it's us against the bookie.

In reality, the bookie just takes money from 2 people, and pays the winner with the loser's money (while taking out a small percentage for themselves).

The sportsbook isn't my enemy. You are.

I love to bet against you, because both statistics and logic tells me that you're going to lose.

Because you bet without an edge. You probably don't even know what an edge is, and certainly don't know how to calculate it.

Vegas loves you. And you love Vegas. It's a mutually-beneficial relationship. They give you entertainment, and provide the dream that you can win big money.

Most of my sports betting systems are centered around this logic; that most people lose. 

Take a look at a recent game between the Patriots and the Texans. 55% of the bets were on the Patriots, while 86% of the money was on the Patriots.

6x more money came in on the Patriots, and yet, they didn't cover the spread. 

Public Betting Percentages

See? I told you, people are really bad at betting on sports.

But you can't just blindly use the SBR Consensus and fade the public percentages. You'll lose pretty bad if you do that. 

I like to follow the Twitter account of Dave Mason from BetOnline, @DaveMasonBOL, and sometimes he'll tweet about games that the book really needs to win.

Like this one:

75% of the money was on the Raiders, and yet, the Redskins (who closed as +3.5 point underdogs) won the game outright 27-10.

This happens all the time.

Because people are really bad at betting on sports.

I've spent years testing so many different angles, on how I could use this information to help me win.

You have to remember that sportsbooks typically don't give you much to help you win. The public betting percentages they give you will pretty much have you winning/losing 50% of your bets.

So you still lose, whether you bet with or against the public.

And that's because, blindly betting against the public is a losing sports betting system.

Another one that you'll find on every sports betting forum out there is when a guy seems to "discover" reverse line movement, which is when the line moves against what it should be, based on the public betting percentages (which are always percentages of total # of bets, not total amount of money bet).

For example, take the recent game between the Packers and Bengals on September 24. The line opened at Packers -10. 61% of the public was on the Packers, yet the line dropped to -7?

That makes no sense, right? If most people were on the Packers, the line should've gotten worse, not drop 3 points.

Reverse line movement

Packers won the game, 27-24.

There's many examples of reverse line movement. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. For the most part, it's a 50/50 (losing) bet.

You can't make any money just blindly betting the public percentages, nor with reverse line movement.

So how do I do it?

It took me years to figure it out. Seriously. I probably spent the better part of a decade trying to figure it out.

So it is possible. But you've got your work cut out for you.

Nobody is going to give away their edge. When they do, markets adjust. It's only time before a winning system becomes yet another losing system.

I've even had to retire some of my own systems, as the market becomes more efficient, and the systems no longer work.

If you take a look at the SportsInsights Best Bets product, you'll find a great example of what you can do when you go against the public, combined with your own filters that you use.

Sports Insights Best Bets

Since 2010, in MLB alone, it's produced +185.7 units, at a 4.2% return on turnover. That dollar amount shown is based on risking $100 per bet, and never increasing it.

If you take all of their best picks, in all sports (except for hockey, which has lost for the past 4 years), since 2010, they've produced +376.19 units of profit, providing a 3.9% return on turnover.

Those are really great numbers, and it's proof that you can make money from betting against the public.

It's my favorite way to bet, and it's highly profitable.

Now, that being said, I don't always go against the public.

Sometimes, the public is right. It's called the Wisdom of Crowds theory.

It's based on the idea that collective knowledge is better than singular knowledge; that a group of people can know more than one single person can.

To me, the Wisdom of Crowds theory is the same thing as the public betting percentages. The public betting percentages tell you what a large group of people are betting on.

So if they're the same thing, and a lot of my systems are based on going against popular opinion, how can I make money following the public?

Again, it all comes down to your filters; the rules that you have set to apply to the picks that the public heavily likes.

Because, remember, sometimes the public wins. If nobody ever won, Vegas wouldn't exist at all. People aren't that stupid. They're not going to continue giving their money away if they never win.

The key is to determine when they're going to win, and when they're going to lose.

I know, it's obvious, right?

It's like me saying that the key to making money is figuring out which team is going to cover the spread or not.

My entire success from about a decade of hard work and analyzing statistics and spreadsheets is based on this one thing.

Figuring out when the public is right, or when the public is wrong.

They're usually wrong.

I'd love to give out more information, but if I did that, we would all lose.

The sportsbooks aren't in the business of giving away money. If they knew what I was doing, they would adjust their lines so that it wasn't profitable for me anymore.

How do other people win?

Some people have built very complex models that set a line, or a spread, on what they think it should be. They then compare their lines with the lines set by the sportsbook, and based on that difference, they determine their approximate edge.

Based on that edge percentage, they can calculate what percentage of bankroll they should risk on that particular bet.

They have to continually adjust these models, in order to stay one step ahead of the books.

That's the most popular way that it's done.

I prefer doing it my way.

Because people suck at betting on sports.

Another guy that I follow on twitter, Adam Chernoff, wrote a detailed article on how he creates point spreads in the NFL.

The methods he details definitely work, but they won't forever. He'll have to re-adjust, especially since posting his methods to the public. It gives you a great behind-the-scenes look at how some people use math to determine what the spreads should be, but the sportsbooks will eventually adjust their prices.

The NFL is one of the most efficient markets in the States, which is why the betting limits are so incredibly high. When a market is efficient, it means that the public knows everything there is to know; there isn't any hidden or secret information (despite how many touts out there saying they have insider info). The public has shaped the price into what it should be; it's an efficient market.

An inefficient market is when there is information out there that not everybody knows. It's why certain handicappers, like RAS, dominate small-conference college football and basketball. 

So while it is possible to make money by developing your own models, I definitely prefer going against the public.

I've already said it many times, but it comes down to this:

People suck at betting on sports.

They always have, and they always will.

Sportsbooks make their money off of that.

So do I.

I like being on the same side as the sportsbooks.

About the Author Steve

Steve firmly believes that most meals can be improved with mac n cheese. When he's not helping people make money betting on sports, Steve loves mountain biking, playing video games with his son, & annoying his wife. Oh, and he's a big Dallas Cowboys fan. Don't hate.

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