Sports betting becomes so appealing to people is because it appears as an opportunity as a fast and easy way to make money. All you have to do is pick the right side and that is it. It is the only form of gambling against the house where you are betting on the performances of other people.
When you’re playing roulette, or craps, or anything, is there any real emotion involved about the actual activity? No. It extends to the money and nothing else. But with sports, this is these people’s job. These athletes are playing for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with you. They are under contract and possibly playing for another one. They could be playing for bonuses too. Some really care about their fans. Others feel like it is for their families. Can’t forget their teammates, and their own sheer desire to win. Of course they are aware of all the action that takes place, but that is the last thing they (should be) thinking about. They simply just have a job to do, and there are tons of emotions linked to all of these elements.
These existing emotions get inside of the mind of the square (casual) bettor. In a nutshell, the square bettor wakes up one morning and decides who he thinks is going to win based on meaningless factors as empirical evidence supporting as to why they think a certain side will win. Have you heard someone ever say something like, “well they need to win today”? Oh okay. So the other team doesn’t? Yes of course there are junctures during the course of a season where winning a game seems extra imperative, but that has nothing to do with how hard everybody is trying. You can say it’s a must win so they will win. I can say the pressure will cause them to play poorly and lose again. You can play this back and forth game all day. It is all a bunch of nothing. The sharp (expert) bettors know this. They are analyzing data and statistics, and leaving emotion out of this entirely.
It takes enough time to begin with just to crunch the appropriate numbers. The last thing they want to waste their time with are oversimplified beliefs that will make up the outcome.
If you just want to bet against the spread, you have to win 52.4% just to win at sports betting. The square bettors that make up the public are essentially shooting blindfolded at a moving target. How often do you really think they will hit it? It poses the nearly obvious question of, why don’t I just bet against the public? If they are going to lose, that means I’m going to win. Alas, if only it were that simple. Many of these games are something of a coin flip to begin with. If the public is right 48% of the time, that means you were only right 52%. That means you are still a loser. Clearly, it goes much deeper than that.
The public seems to go for the team favored to win the game, as well as taking the over (total points to be scored between the two teams). People like to jump on the bandwagon of the highly touted and talked about team that is supposed to crush the other. People also like to see high scoring affairs. That is why they take the over. This created the strategy of taking the underdog and/or the under. The sportsbook used to prefer they have an equal amount of money on both sides of the game. Then the vig will assure them to be a money printer.
If a line opened at -8 and people started piling the favorite, the house will adjust it to -8.5 since it now makes the underdog more appealing, therefore easier to balance the action. This part still happens, but what if the house suspected which side the public will bet the most on regardless? Wouldn’t that entice them to make the line heavily against their favor since they know they will bet it anyway? If so much money is going to come in on that side, you may as well make it harder for them to win. After all, they made the bet. They didn’t do enough research to understand the risk/reward they were taking so whose fault is that? The sportsbook isn’t dishonestly manipulating anyone by doing this.
If everyone who was placing bets started to make them far more intelligently, the sportsbook will then adjust. It is very much a cat and mouse game of figuring out which line you are expected to like, and then making that line difficult to beat. These are what are known as “trap” games.
The house is not going to rig a line this way for every single game. The whole idea is for there not to be a detectable pattern. As soon as there is even a slight inkling that more than just a few people could be getting onto something, they try to take it away. They are in the business of keeping up with what people think. If you are going to beat sports betting, that means you know who is overrated and betting against them, and who is underrated and betting on them.
There are a lot of games that people will not have a ton of interest in. Only a relatively low percentage of games are going to be of huge intrigue. Those will be the ones that the books are then just more likely to over skew the line a certain way. But it is not just as simple fading the public. You are still going to have to put in a ton of time to figure out when you should fade the public and when you should not. The hope of fast and easy cash is an illusion in nearly every walk of life. This is not some loophole.