What Does Smart Money Mean In Sports Betting?
by Doc's Sports - 10/9/2014
A lot can be learned from watching where smart money is being bet. When a team is getting a lot of attention from sharps then there is often a reason to take a closer look at it yourself. Some people will blindly bet teams that have heavy smart-money action, but that’s going too far. Still, smart money can help guide you towards team worth investigating closer, or perhaps guide you away from teams you were considering a bet on but were lukewarm about.
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The problem, of course, is that it’s not like sharps buy a billboard to advertise who they have bet on. Sportsbooks are very secretive about the action they are receiving, too, so they certainly aren’t going to tell you who is betting on which team. In order to spot smart money, then, you mostly have to be a bit of a detective. For example, while we can’t see how much money is being bet on each team, some books will let us know what percentage of bets have been placed on each team. If one team is getting the bulk of the action yet the other team’s odds are getting worse then we have a good sense that smart money is on the team that the public doesn’t like. We can also sometimes spot smart money if a line moves multiple times in a short period of time. Books are much quicker to move lines in response to smart money than they are to public money.
There are a couple of problems with trying to chase smart money without doing research and handicapping for yourself. First, we can’t know the motives of the sharp bettors. The lines could be moving because they have made their bets. They could also be moving, though, because they are trying to move a line to get a price they like better. When they get that price they could bet even more on the other team. Another problem is that by using smart money as an indicator of how we should bet we are automatically at a timing disadvantage. The smart money made a bet that moved the line. So if we are now to make a bet we are betting a different, less-favorable line than the sharps bet.
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