How Do You Bet a Public Market?

The hot topic the past few weeks is how well the public has been doing across all sports since about the middle of January. As I discussed on Twitter earlier today, I spoke to a sportsbook director this weekend. He’s director at one of the largest operations offshore. He had said that the start to 2020 would be the worst in the last 10 years if not for a great Super Bowl. So, how do you bet when a market is as public as this one happens to be right now?

Should you bet with the public? Theoretically the answer would be yes. Like anything in gambling the key is to follow the hot hand. Ride any streak until it comes to an end. Personally though, as a value based bettor, I have a very difficult time betting with the public. For me, such an idea “does not compute”. Reason being, when you bet with the public, 99% of the time you are betting against the value. The public bets a side, the line gets shaded to the other side to attract action. The shading means the contrarian side now becomes a value. If the contrarian play was already a value, now the value just gets larger! So, as a value bettor, it’s tough for me to bet against value and especially immense value!

Should you bet with the sharp side? It’s another complicated answer. Theoretically, the answer would be “no”, because the sharp side is not the performing side at this time. However at the same time, fundamentally the answer would be yes because you are betting with value. Long term, if you bet the side with value (riding the ups  & downs), IN ANYTHING YOU GAMBLE ON, you will come out ahead with a healthy ROI. Betting value any time it appears is the cornerstone to professional gambling. The problem is right now the value betting strategy is not working at all in sports! So, why bang your head against the wall?

So again, what should you do? To me, I would prefer to pass and wait out the public heat wave. I know it’s boring to pass! I have a quote that has appeared on my website before (on the Algorithms page) and will be appearing on my website when some website modifications are completed this month. The quote is…

The book doesn’t require us to bet everyday and for the most part they do not have a minimum wager. I will gladly bet very lightly when I have an edge but the overall market is a concern. I will gladly pass, multiple days at a time if necessary, when I do not have an edge. I will also gladly press my action aggressively when the market is in my favor and I have the edge. All of which helps to maximize my ROI and ensure I do not bet just because I need action… or worse, I am chasing. It’s tough to have discipline in a business that can elicit strong impulses and emotions but if you can control yourself, you can be a danger to the sportsbooks rather than a danger to your own finances! ” – The Sharp Plays

For me, in times like this where the sharp/value side is not performing and the public side is performing, I prefer simply to pass. Yes I might miss out on following the public run and picking up some profits. However, I rather pass on some winners than break with the norms of professional betting and get tempted into betting sides that do not have value. I’ll sit back, wait for the market to turn (IT ALWAYS DOES) and then get back into action on the value side. Timing when to enter and exit the market is where the Index (click here) is a great tool to me. I will wait until the Index turns up and gets above “0” to get back into the market. Such a move in the Index would visually illustrate that the sharp money has gotten back in control and is performing. In the mean time, I won’t fight the current trend and continue betting on value when value isn’t paying off. However, I also won’t bet against the value just because it is performing short term. Obviously, you are welcome to make your own decisions but passing right now is what works for me.

Without a doubt eventually the sharp side will begin to perform strongly again. When it happens it will be bigger, better and stronger than any public run was leading into it. It is how it always works out. There have been plenty of public runs just like the one we are in right now… just over the past 12 months alone! The public has to get their runs otherwise they would stop betting. Eventually, like all the previous white hot public runs before this one, the public will cool off and sharp money/value sides will get hot. However, until that hot run in favor of value arrives, it makes no sense to bet the value right now. Sit back and wait for confirmation of a turn in the market.

Sometimes taking some time away from gambling is a great thing too. Gambling keeps our emotions jacked up and a break from the roller coaster can do your mind and body good! You will probably find you will sleep A LOT better too! The problem is, we are gamblers, we love the action!!! How we can just pass for days or weeks at a time? We all have that fear we are missing out on winners if we take a pass for the day. The good thing is that there will be games tomorrow, next week, next month and next year to bet on. We always will have plenty of opportunities! However, if you really need the action, you don’t have to pass entirely. If you go back to my quote above, I said I will gladly bet light when the overall market is a concern but an edge exists. It is in this vein that the power of the “pizza money” bet can come into play. A “pizza money bet” is just a novelty way of saying a small bet. If you don’t want to pass the action, then why not bet just 0.2 to 0.3 units instead of the usual 1 unit (or more) on everything? Betting small allows you to stay in action, gives you something to sweat and cheer on but won’t hurt if it doesn’t work out (whatever strategy you choose to bet). So, whether you decide to bet with the public, bet with the sharps, fade the public, fade the sharps or whatever strategy you come up with… do it small! If you are on point, even at 0.2 or 0.3 units you will build a little bankroll. If things don’t work out, the 0.2 and 0.3 units should not create any material damage to your bankroll either. However, betting this way gives you your fix without the risk of an overdose!

As I said, eventually this anti-value run will come to an end. The goal is to keep your bankroll intact so you can attack the opportunities and values that will arise when the public goes cold and the sharp fire gets started! If you have followed me the past year you will remember plenty of public runs like the current one. Every one of them ended and the public gave it all back! Patience young grasshopper! Action is not oxygen, we can survive without it for quite some time… even if it doesn’t feel that way.

Good luck in your action!
~ The Sharp Plays