Finding Sharp Money Action in Sports Betting

How to find sharp money action in sports betting.

Key Points

– Finding sharp money action in sports betting takes some skill.

– Identifying sharp money action can help you win more bets.

Finding Sharp Money Action in Sports Betting

Sports bettors these days should have an understanding of what sharp money is. Essentially, sharp money refers to wagers made by the most knowledgeable and skilled players – professional bettors

Trying to determine where the sharp money action is on a game and what it signifies is one of the more interesting things a bettor does. Locating sharp money moves can also be one of the more rewarding things a bettor does.

Identifying Sharp Money Action

The best bettors often don’t make their wagers public knowledge, so you can’t just ask the bookmakers where the smart money is. 

Finding and identifying where the sharp money action is takes some work. It takes some careful observation as well as a few slick techniques. These days, with all of the modern advances in technology, you can subscribe to services that will inform you of if the pros are causing line movements.

You also use your own skills to identify these movements. When the odds change quickly, you may occasionally see a line released and then viciously attacked. This happens in NFL football often. 

Take, for instance, a game where the line opens at 10. In a matter of hours, the line drops all the way down six. For the smarter bettor, this should raise a red flag. 

Although lines can move that much as a result of vigorous public support on one side, it’s not all that likely. The big reason for the shift is sharp money action. The pros saw extreme value on the line and pounded it. Sportsbooks reacted quickly by adjusting the line downward. In this case, it moved all the way to six, a clear indication that massive amounts of money came in on one side of the bet.


Sportsbooks Make a Mistake

It doesn’t happen all that often, but sportsbooks and oddsmakers sometimes make mistakes. A line opens that is simply way off. Sharp bettors, as well as those that recognize the error, jump on the line right away.

When a line adjusts extremely quickly, it’s a pretty good indicator that professional bettors identified the problem with the line and bet accordingly. While the line adjusts, the average bettor must work to get the same – or at least similar – value as the professional bettors. 

Just because you bet on the same side as the smart money doesn’t mean you will be profitable. If you don’t identify the line movement or miss it altogether, there is often little value in following the sharp money action. 

That said, there is still some value in noticing these line adjustments. The benefit is that you can analyze the game carefully and try to determine why sports bettors believed the original line to be incorrect. The more often you do this, the better you get at recognizing mistakes. That means you will be more likely to identify errors in lines and act accordingly. To sum it up, finding these moves and studying them can help you become a better bettor.

Looking at Ticket Numbers

When a game goes against what you would anticipate, it might be difficult to determine how much money has been wagered on each team. However, you can learn how many wagers – the number of tickets – have been made on each team. The odds for any given team in a game should normally become less appealing when the number of tickets for one team is a sizable majority over the other.

If you have a game in which one team is getting 70 percent of the tickets for example, you have a situation where there will likely be a line change. Remember, bookmakers are in the business of making money. Ideally, for them, they would like to take in equal amounts of action on each side of a bet. 

With 70 percent of the tickets on one side of the bet, sportsbooks are likely to adjust a line to encourage action on the other side of the bet. This way, sportsbooks can earn a profit with minimal risk. Bettors that can identify these situations can use that knowledge to their advantage. 

Finding Sharp Money Action in Sports Betting

Betting Against the Public

The betting public, as it is known, is made up of bettors who bet on games recreationally. These bettors typically wager on favorites, popular teams, popular players, and Overs. Public bettors love scoring. It makes for exciting games.

The problem is that the betting public is most often wrong. That’s why sportsbooks are still in business. The house is right more often than it is wrong. Being on the side of the house – betting against the public – makes sense then.

Think about high-profile games with popular opponents. In MLB, that might be a Yankees-Dodgers or a Yankees-Red Sox game. In college football, it’s an SEC matchup like Alabama-Georgia or Michigan-Ohio State. You get the idea.

If the Yankees are favored to beat the Red Sox, the public jumps all over New York. If Alabama is favored to beat Georgia and the total is 55, the public pounds on the Crimson Tide and the Over. 

In these high-profile games, it’s a little harder to tell if a line movement is due to sharp money action. Regardless, you can get an idea of how the public has moved a line and bet accordingly. If all of your other research points to an opportunity to bet against the public, go for it.