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Betting Rule #3: Heavy Public Favorites Do Not Always Make for a Good Fade

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Aug/20/2020

In previous installments of Betting Rules, we touched upon sportsbooks running scared and to avoid betting on the favorite in such scenarios as well as when to place a bet where there is a strong opinion observed.


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In this installment of the Betting Rules series we look at how to avoid the fatal mistake of believing the the sportsbook or Pay Per Head provider will come out on top simply because you have knowledge that the general public is pounding a particular side.

When the books react by moving the line in an effort to encourage action on the side seeing, let's say, just 20%, this is an indication that the books fear a big public win, especially with dramatic line movements.

Likewise, when a particular side sees 80% of the action and the books continue to move the line in that team's favor, it is an indication that the books have a strong opinion on the opposite side (the team getting just 20% of the action).  This is especially true when the number has already hit a certain peak.

A case study would be the August 20 game between the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets.  The public was backing Houston at a decent clip of between 60% and 65%.  Sharp books the likes of 5Dimes opened at Rockets -2 and moved to -2.5. 

Most books, including recreational shops like Bovada, moved back down to -2 after hitting as high as -3.

There is some potential here for the Rockets to cave.  However, a careful observation of the line movement suggests there is not enough evidence to bet either way. 

The trend also had action moving from 62% to slightly under 59%.

Just prior to this game, Bovada brought the number back up to -2.5.

In the end, avoid betting a particular side based on heavy public action on the other side alone.  While the house always wins in the long run, it doesn't win every battle.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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