What Does Wise Guy Mean In Sports Betting?
Without getting to philosophical or anything, the world will always have leaders and followers. It’s just human nature. Some people are born to go against the grain and question the status quo while most are content with just floating downstream to avoid rocking the boat. In the sports betting industry, it is no different. The leaders are the ones making smart bets and getting the sportsbooks to react to their action, while the followers are usually mixed in with the general betting public and stuck betting on favorites with terrible lines and odds. In the sports betting industry, we call the aforementioned leaders “wise guys” and we call the followers squares.
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What Does Wise Guy Mean?
If you hear the term “wise guy” being tossed around in sports betting discussions, you can be sure that they are describing a professional handicapper. However, the more commonly used word to describe them is “sharp”. Fortunately for the sports betting industry, the term “wise guy” has come along way since having a negative connotation surrounding it. Wise guys were generally linked to illegal betting and mafioso run sportsbooks, while it has now turned into a compliment with the general acceptance of sports betting.
The Wise Guy Effect
Sportsbooks pay much closer attention to a recognised wise guy than they would to an average bettor. Both bettors could make the exact same size bet on the same team and the book would not flinch at the bet from the square. However, they would be more inclined to move their line because of the wise guy action. Since we can’t exactly figure out what wise guys are doing without knowing one or being part of their small inner-circle, we can still learn a lot by studying how a wise guy bets. For example, if the public is heavily betting on a certain team in a basketball game and the line is moving in a way that makes that public team more attractive, we can fathom a guess that wise guy money is pouring in on the other side.
Generally, a solid rule of thumb while betting is to bet against the public opinion and side with the wise guy since they are much more well-versed in the industry.
How Do Wise Guys Operate?
In and around Las Vegas sportsbooks, well-connected wise guys (think Billy Walters) would get the chance to bet a line before the sportsbooks make it available to the public. This is called an outlaw line and it’s released extremely early, so that the linemakers have time to adjust the line for public consumption. This is a massive advantage for wise guys because they typically have a system in place they believe in that could quickly tell them what the line should be and if there is value or not.
The difference between a wise guy and an average bettor is that an average bettor would sit on their couch watching the late game, or even go to sleep and worry about tomorrow’s games tomorrow. A wise guy isn’t doing that. They are usually up late betting outlaw lines for the next day since theiraction is what moves the lines.
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