Whether you’ve been around the sports betting game for a while, or are new and have been following the advice found on this site, chances are you’ve been to sites like Covers.com while doing research on upcoming games. Chances are you’ve also noticed the little “consensus” tidbit next to each game, telling you which team the public thinks will win. You may see that a team has a 70% public opinion and feel like that might be a pretty good bet for you to make. While nothing is ever certain in the world of sports betting, this feeling is generally incorrect.
If the Public Always Won…
One of the most important concepts to keep in mind when betting on sports is this: if the public won more than they lost, sports books would cease to exist. That is simplifying things a little, of course, but generally speaking that is a true statement. Casinos and sport books are in business to make money–lots of money. If they are losing money in a particular area, they will either change the rules or stop offering it entirely. Since the world of online sport books is alive and thriving, it is then safe to assume that they are making money and that, over the long term, the general public loses their money.
I’ve been telling people to subscribe to the theory of reverse public opinion for years now. As is the case with a lot of the advice I’ve offered here at SportBooksReview, I’m not suggesting that people blindly bet against the team with higher public support every night–just keep it in mind when doing your research. There are some situations where observing the public consensus and comparing it to line movement can be very eye-opening, and these are the situations where you can pounce.
Public Consensus and Line Movement
As we discussed in our Line Movement article, there are a number of factors that could cause sport books to move the line. One such factor is one team getting decidedly more money wagered on it than the other, creating a scenario where the books would lose a large amount of money if one team wins. Books would prefer to have a nice, even amount of money bet on both sides of a game, so that no matter which team wins, they’ll come out on top due to the juice (newbies: betting $110 to win $100, the $10 is the juice). This is why it’s a good idea to take a quick peek at the consensus percentages along with the line movement for the games you want to bet on–there can sometimes be some very useful hidden information to give you an advantage.
When doing your research, if you happen to see a game where the public is very heavily betting on one team, say 70% or higher, yet the line did not move from it’s original number, then you have to ask yourself why that is. If the public is betting most of their money on a team, but the books don’t move the number to attract betters for the other team, then it’s telling you something. Either the books are confident that the public will lose, or the big-money sharp betters have already made their bets on the other team. Either way, this is a major red flag. Again, don’t blindly bet your money on this strategy, but there will be situations where these numbers are too strong to ignore.
Generally speaking, I like fading the public–especially when there is a strong public consensus betting on the underdog in a game. As you surely already know, the common theme of my articles is research–we’re talking about your money here, so it’s extremely important that you make every effort to find an advantage before making your bet. As is the case with a lot of my advice, this isn’t meant to be a one-size-fits-all strategy, but part of a larger overall strategy of doing your homework and ultimately finding solid money-making opportunities. If you follow the advice I’ve offered in this article and combine it with some of my other strategies, you will win money–the only question is: how much?
Best of luck, and please gamble responsibly!