Identifying Sharp Money With Our Free Odds Page

One of the most common questions we receive regards how bettors can identify sharp money in the sports betting marketplace. While tracking steam moves (available to our Sportsbook Insider Pro subscribers) is an excellent sharp money indicator, there are easier ways for casual bettors to determine whether wise guys or betting syndicates are hammering any teams.

For those who are unfamiliar, we receive public betting percentages from seven contributing sportsbooks: Sportsbook.com, BetUs, Carib, GT Bets, 5Dimes, Sports Interaction (SIA) and CRIS (Bookmaker).

While CRIS and 5Dimes are regarded as two of the sharper offshore sportsbooks, SIA and Sportsbook.com are two of the most square/public books. With this variety of both sharp and square books, our public betting trends offer a representative sample of how every game is being bet.

Line movement can happen for a number of reasons including injuries and weather, but line movement that shifts against our public betting percentages is typically an excellent indicator of smart or “wise guy” money. 

There is a common misconception that sportsbooks will make a team a 7-point favorite because they believe that team will most likely win by seven points, which is not the case. Ideally, a sportsbook will attract 50% of their action on each side of a game. This limits their liability and allows the book to sit back and collect the vig (or juice as it’s also known).

Now, let’s pretend for a second that the Kentucky Wildcats open as a 7-point favorite against the Florida Gators. If Kentucky receives 80% of spread bets, one would assume that oddsmakers would move Kentucky to -7.5 or -8 to encourage action on Florida. However, if the line drops to -6.5 or -6, it means that although more bettors are taking Kentucky, more money has actually been placed on Florida. This is a perfect example of reverse line movement, and typically indicates that large money from wise guys or betting syndicates has been placed on the Gators.

The screenshot below further demonstrates examples of real sharp money in College Basketball using our free odds page:

(Click to enlarge image)

Free Odds Smart Money

As you can see, we’ve circled three games involving reverse line movement:

  1. Despite receiving just 19% of spread bets, Marshall has dropped from +10 to +9.5 at Bookmaker.
  2. Despite receiving 35% of spread bets, Richmond has moved from -5 to -7 at Bookmaker
  3. Despite receiving just 19% of spread bets, Missouri has dropped from +2.5 to +2 at Bookmaker

This would indicate that sharp money hammered Marshall +10, Richmond -5 and Missouri +2.5. Bettors would then need to find a sportsbook that is slow to adjust and place their bet. In this example, Sportsbook.com is still offering Marshall +10 and Missouri +3 — a better number than the original +2.5 where reverse line movement was triggered at Bookmaker.

Unfortunately the best available line on Richmond is -6.5, so bettors may want to lay off this game since much of the value has already been sucked out.

Have any questions for the staff at Sports Insights? Make sure to utilize our live chat or call us directly at 877-838-2853.

David Solar is the Content Manager at Sports Insights and can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

6 Comments Permalink
6 comments on “Identifying Sharp Money With Our Free Odds Page
  1. Do you really think it’s that easy? Don’t you realize that the books have caught on to the reverse line move followers and often lay traps for these players? When this information became public the glory days were over.

    • Frank, of course the books AND the public catch on to trends and tendencies. But, regardless of what the public knows in this case, the sportsbooks can continue to do what they do and still not change what they are doing. They create a spread to get a reasonable margin of bettors on each team (for a typical spread anyway) and if tons of money comes in on a given team, they have no choice but to compensate. The books will continue to do this no matter what the public does or doean’t know. This article is simply telling a bettor how to identify reverse line movements and why they are happening. Do the books possibly try to trick to the “Too-sharp-for-their-own-good-sharps” such as yourself? I doubt it, and if they do, they are susceptible to take major losses because the people that will catch on to the reverse psychology being played by the books and hammer the correct team are the people that have the money: i.e. true sharps. In short, the books don’t need to trick you. They need to make money. People like you keep them in business.

    • And by the way, Sports Insights didn’t say to fire away every time you see reverse line moves. They are simply saying why they are happening and it isa damn good thing to know when trying to cap games. Plenty of times you see reverse movements and can’t pinpoint why it is so. No new injuries, no weather changes, etc. Perhaps the movement is simply because a syndicate just put a $15,000 bet on a team. It is insightful info and if you can’t appreciate a well-written article such as this one, then move on

    • If you’re interested, we do offer discounted rates on our long term subscriptions. Sportsbook Insider Pro customers can save 30% off our 6 month subscription and 40% off our 12 month subscription.

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