Based on yesterday’s daily voting polls, I’m going to guess that some people here actually had a pretty decent day while others may have taken a bit of a hit with some of the more popular consensus plays. There is a strange phenomenon that exists in sports betting in which the most popular plays rarely ever win, and that phenomenon was made apparent again yesterday, but I do believe that there is also a more scientific explanation to this occurence than it simply being a case of “Vegas smart, public dumb”. Believe it or not, the books aren’t looking to gamble–that’s why they’re in the sports ‘book’ business and not the sports ‘gambling’ business. Therefore, generally, when a popular play such as Chicago -135 vs. St Louis doesn’t pan out, some very sharp bettors on the other side are there to reap the rewards.
So, is it a case then of “sharps smart, public dumb”?
Well, they aren’t called the “sharps” for nothing. Yes, there may certainly be some smarter, more sophisticated, and more experienced sports bettors out there who are consistently cashing in on the public’s general over-valuation of popular plays, but maybe it’s also about time that we just stopped feeding them! For the most part, it should be our own personal missions as sports bettors to become the ‘sharps’ ourselves, and to stop simply just going with the public. The issue is that the public itself is almost just as predictable as the plays that it tends to jump all over, and Vegas is actually very smart in this regard.
The books set the lines knowing full-well where the public is going to go, and also, in order to get the correct two-way action that they need to profit regardless of the results. Let us now take it upon ourselves then, to start looking both ways before we cross. No more quick trigger fingers or thoughts of “can’t-lose favourites” from here on. When we decide on what to bet on today, let us take just an extra moment to consider the bigger picture, and if the poll results here today should happen to look a little different from those on the larger consensus boards across the Internet, then we might just all be on the right track.
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