Why You Should Embrace Betting Against the Public

You should embrace betting against the public.

Key Points

– The betting public loves winners, favorites, and high-scoring games.

– The betting public loses more often than it wins.

Why You Should Embrace Betting Against the Public

Betting against the public is betting against what most people expect. Another way to say it is “fading the public.” People vote with their money, and the outcome with the highest support is what the betting public expects.

When a bet is one-sided, meaning most people are betting on one event, betting on the opposing outcome may be profitable. The idea behind this sports betting technique is that the public is usually wrong. If so, more sports bettors would be successful and more sportsbooks would be out of business.

Whichever side of the bet gets the greatest action symbolizes public opinion. Statistically, public perception is wrong. The philosophy of sharp bettors is more often right. Therefore, bettors should embrace betting against the public.

Identify Moving Lines

Sportsbooks want to take in equal action on both sides of a bet to reduce risk. When the public bets too much on one side, the sportsbook adjusts the lines and odds to favor the other.

These moving odds indicate public action. This is a great opportunity to fade the public especially since the sportsbook is giving you better odds on the other side of the bet.


Factors that Influence the Public

Popular opinion is formed by many causes, not all of which are facts. If you can find areas where people’s opinions are influenced by other circumstances, it may make sense to bet against the public.

Media hype is one such factor. The media’s reports might sway one outcome over another. The dominant media narrative influences people quickly, and public opinion snowballs.

More people bet on the more popular teams. Casual bettors rely more on reputation rather than the probability that they might win. The more popular a team is, the more the public will back it.

Playing at home is a crucial element in football, hockey, and basketball. It is also overvalued by the betting public. Bettors should always check a team’s short-term history of playing at home. It may not be as big of an advantage as the public thinks. 

Star players are another influence for the public. LeBron James is often the sole reason why bettors will back the Los Angeles Lakers. Star players do influence the outcome of a game, but their impact might be exaggerated.

Betting Against the Public – Psychology

It’s basic human psychology. The betting public loves winners. They love favorites and they love points. In terms of game totals, that means the betting public prefers to bet the Over. Even if you think the public is getting it right on a game’s outcome, you can still fade the public on the game total. 

Consider the number of times that an underdog has pulled the upset in a major event. Eighteen underdogs, for example, have won the Super Bowl. Every year in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, underdogs pull an average of a dozen upsets.

These situations make it worth considering fading the public. Here are a few examples of betting against the public.

Bet the Underdog to Win

Start simply. The public is all over the New York Yankees in a game against Toronto. Casual bettors haven’t really followed the Yankees, but they know they lead their division and are one of the best teams in MLB. Add in that the Yankees are playing at home.

In games between division rivals like this, underdogs have an advantage because of the number of times – 19 – they play the other team. That advantage is even more magnified when the underdog is on the road. Remember, the public tends to overvalue home field advantage.

In MLB, underdogs win straight up 44 percent of the time. Road divisional underdogs win at a slightly higher clip. Betting against the public in these situations is one way to win more MLB bets.

Betting Against the Public – Point Spread

In the NFL, the most popular bet is against the point spread. Again, the public tends to favor popular teams and star players. Home field is often overvalued and sportsbooks actually shade their lines to the public. Your top NFL picks may be those that go against the public’s choices.

Over the past few years, teams like the Chiefs, Packers, and Buccaneers have been popular with the betting public. Each team has a popular quarterback and each team has had great success over the past few seasons.

Let’s say the Chiefs are favored over a less popular team like the Bears. The line is set at 7.5. Chicago is playing well on the road and their defense has been outstanding. The Bears +7.5 covers the most common key numbers of 3, 4, 6, and 7. This is a great spot to bet against the public since the Bears can lose by a touchdown and you can still win your bet.

What is interesting in the NFL is that in the previous four straight seasons underdogs have covered the spread more often than favorites. Last season, underdogs won outright in 37 percent of all regular season games.

Why You Should Embrace Betting Against the Public

Totals Betting

The psychology of sports betting makes totals bets a target in low-scoring sports like hockey and soccer. Low-scoring games are rarely bet on. The public prefers games with high scores.

Consider a World Cup final between Portugal and Argentina. Media attention on a handful of the world’s best players will likely lead to high expectations for goals. People are excited for the World Cup final. 

The public wagers on the Over, expecting a high-scoring match. More money is brought in on the Over. Sportsbooks adjust and now the smart bettor can get great odds on the Under. Keep in mind that World Cup finals are often low-scoring matches.

The same logic applies to totals betting in other sports. When public opinion favors a high amount of goals or points, consider the Under.

Betting against the public should be part of any smart bettor’s strategy. The public loses way too often. That’s why sportsbooks are still in business. Being on the side of the house is where you want to be.