Everyone thinks they’re the smartest bettor. I’m not exactly sure what the mental phenomena is called, but when placing a bet everyone thinks they’re going to win. While Vegas is the one who creates the lines, the public is able to shift the lines in one direction or another. When making lines, Vegas already has this in mind, thinking ahead of time about where the money is going to go.
Seasoned bettors can see past the bait being lowered by Vegas. They know when to sit on a line or when to take it right away, based on how they feel adjustments are going to occur. There are numerous websites to visit that make it easy to see public betting trends. On these sites, you’ll be able to see everything from the percentage of bettors taking Team A or Team B to the percentage of bettors taking the over or under. A lot of sites also give you information regarding recent trends for teams in particular matchups or just the season as a whole. Use this information. Study it. Figure out what’s relevant to the game that you’re looking to bet on.
So, when we look at all of this information, what’s the best way to use public betting information to our advantage to create the best return on investment?
Don’t Get Caught Up in the Storyline
To begin, while everyone seems to love an underdog story, the truth is bettors LOVE a favorite. Even when it comes to something like March Madness, where upsets happen all the time, most of the public always ends up siding with the favorite over the underdog. What does this tell you? For starters, if the public starts to really heavily push for an underdog there is a reason. Perhaps that dog shouldn’t actually be a dog in the first place. There are Cinderella stories that make the betting public go crazy, wanting to not only watch an upset-minded team win but also earn some money while watching. Be cautious of this. It can be very easy to jump on the bandwagon and bet based on nothing but public perception. Don’t get caught up in the storyline. You’re smarter than that.
Look for Line Shifts
Most importantly, look for line shifts. If an opening line starts off at -3 and you’re really feeling the underdog, and then you look the next day and find that the line is -5, take it. Big line shifts are a great way to earn some money. If an NBA over/under is set at 210 and suddenly drops to 205, the odds really do favor the over. Don’t be afraid to throw your money against the public trend. Vegas is normally very accurate in its original lines.
With that being said, you should still research what is causing the public to bet so heavily in one direction. Is there a recent injury or suspension? Is a star player expected to play fewer minutes than normal? You don’t want to get into a habit of always fading the public just to fade the public. Make sure you have as much, or more, information than them at all times.
Look to the Under
Life’s too short to bet the under, right? That’s what the public thinks, and that’s something you need to keep in mind when betting. The truth is, an under is just as likely to hit as an over, yet the public almost always favors the over. I’m not telling you to always fade the public when it comes to over/under bets, I’m just again reminding you to not get caught up in the hype. Remember when the 2019 Super Bowl over/under was set at 56, then ended 13-3. Obviously, this is an anomaly, as Vegas is very rarely that wrong. But still, be careful.
Look to Teams the Public Loves
Finally, look for teams that the public generally loves, and look for opportunities to fade the public. This won’t happen every game, as there is a reason why the public loves the teams they do, but there are plenty of opportunities to make money in these situations. I’m talking about teams like the New England Patriots, Golden State Warriors, Duke Blue Devils, North Carolina Tar Heels, Alabama Crimson Tide, etc. All of these teams have been dominant for years and that’s why the public loves them as much as they do. Yet, the Patriots lost a nationally televised road game to the Detroit Lions in the 2018 season; a season where the Lions were not good. Why? Mainly because Matt Patricia had just been hired by the Lions and knew just about everything about the Patriots. Look for situations like this, where the public isn’t thinking about every detail of a game and simply betting based on team name. If you do, you’re going to feel like the smartest bettor is every room.