Sometimes Information is Just Information (Tracking Content)

This article was originally posted as part of “My Two Cents” in Issue #12 of The Sharp Plays newsletter. It is now being placed in the “Articles” section of the website since it will be used as content tracking guidance moving forward. Pretty funny that the same night that the article was posted in The Sharp Plays Newsletter, a sharp report comes out on Akron +26, to which I commented that I wouldn’t be on Akron, but good luck if you followed. Hopefully illustrating the point that not every report is intended to be followed… “Sometimes Information is Just Information!”

Last week I talked about not wanting to be your gambling mommy or daddy. This week, it’s time to discuss how “Sometimes Information is just Information”.

In last week’s “My Two Cents” I discussed that I began grading all my content two years ago on the website because I wanted to show I was not afraid of transparency. Find any sports information service/handicapper/whatever out there and few, if any of them, track the performance of their information as thoroughly and transparently as I do. I am very proud of my level of transparency. However, there is one problem with transparency as I eluded to last week. The problem is that when you attach a record to something, people stop looking at it as just information to use for analysis, but instead look at it as a blind fade or follow. Essentially people say, well he attached a record to this, so he must be indicating that we should follow! AHHHHHH… NO!!!!!!!! It’s not really an appropriate use of or the intention for posting the content.

As I have said many times, I am much closer to a reporter than a handicapper. The vast majority of my content, probably 90%+ has nothing to do with me. It is simply my reporting of the action within the betting markets at two global books. Betting market action is like a dance, it is choreographed and complicated. Often what you see is only a fraction of the complexity under the surface. It is at this point that the consumer of the information is advised to engage their brain to better assess the whole picture. Most gamblers don’t want to think. Most gamblers just want you to tell them the play so they can bet and cash the ticket. Those are lazy gamblers and every single one of us, including myself, was or is still one of them. So, don’t take offense, we have all been there. However, at some point in your gambling, if you want to turn a profit, you do need to evolve. You have to realize that nothing comes easy and winning at gambling requires intelligence, patience and a grasp of reality. Blindly fading or following will not work. You have to stop seeing things as a blind follow/fade and instead use a combination of information on an event and your brain to come to a judgement on a wager. No single piece of information should tell you what to bet… not even me saying, “I am betting ____________________.”

If I post the following message on Twitter… “Sharp money is arriving on Chicago +3.5.”  What is going to happen? People are going look at the record for NFL sharp reporting and blindly follow Chicago +3.5 because I just said it was getting sharp money. Is that the right thing to do? NO!!!! An astute gambler should use that report and break it down. Engage that brain and say, OK money is coming in on Chicago +3.5… is it buying it because they think Chicago +3.5 is a value to cover or perhaps that money is just buying the +3.5 to catch a middle. Ah ha! I see Minnesota was -2.5 at the open. There is a good chance this is a middle and I am not going to touch it.” There is a BIG difference between sharp money speculating on value and sharp money playing middles. You want to follow sharp money speculating. You don’t want to catch sharp money completing the back-end of a middle… or worse, buying out of a wager! How can you know which is which? If you see Green Bay moving from -3.5 to -5.5 over Tampa and I report sharp money on Tampa +5.5 you have to look at that and say… “is this a clear sharp buy on Tampa?” Probably not. While you may not know what moved the line from Green Bay from -3.5 to -5.5, you should be concerned that it could have been sharp money. Thereby, this late TB +5.5 is either a Green Bay buyout, a weird middle or Pro on Pro violence. Since this action doesn’t involve key numbers, it probably isn’t a middle, but more probable it is a buyout or Pro versus Pro… so given either case, don’t touch Tampa OR Green Bay! Is your brain starting to hurt yet? Good, it should hurt because it means you are analyzing the information! I know people would like me to do this analysis, but sometimes I am firing out information or sometimes robots are doing it. Either way, I am not able or present to provide deeper analysis. It’s at this point when you need to do your own analysis as best you can to break it down. Sure, you won’t know all the behind the scenes information, but it doesn’t mean you can’t analyze it intelligently like I did in the Green Bay example above (where I used no inside book information, just basic line movement analysis).

The Packers teaser information on Sunday is something that put this topic today in my head. For the first time this past Sunday I reported the largest public teaser leg and it was Green Bay -8. Really all it should tell you is that Green Bay is likely not a value because the market is efficient and if everyone is on Green Bay -8, there is no value in Green Bay for a teaser… or probably for the point spread either. IT DOES NOT necessarily mean Jacksonville point spread or teaser spread is a play. It just means be wary if you were thinking of taking Green Bay, because you will be taking a side with ZERO value and thereby a 50/50 proposition at best. What I just said in this paragraph is the goal of my content… not fade or follow, but ASSESSMENT! For content purposes, if I start tracking this newly found angle (most public teaser leg), what’s going to happen? People will see it as an angle to fade or play… and that’s really not its purpose at all. At which point me tracking such an angle is a disservice to the receiver of that information. It gives you the wrong idea of how to use it. So what should I do? Stop tracking every angle? Of course not. As the title says, sometimes “information is just information”.

The LJP provides a good means of quantifying what is going on in the betting markets. So, moving forward, if the LJP Score on content is 0/0 or no LJP Score is given, the content will not be tracked… it’s just information. I do like tracking and yes the teaser leg is an interesting angle, but at some point I can have too much tracking. Visit the Records page on the website, there is a link to the Sports Content Records page with public tracking, sharp tracking, Pro’s v Joe’s, Known Bettors and Head Fakes. Then you have the Operation Rollover Dashboard which tracks Rollovers, then you have the LJP Score Performance in TSP Live, then you have the Sharp Plays Trading Performance which tracks the publicly posted trading content and the paid FMA trading content, then on the right side of the records page you have tracking for Robin Hood Selections, Sharp Consensus, Personal Plays, Active Algorithms. Then you have the LJP page which tracks the LJP Scores for public content or major angles. At a certain point even transparency can be too thorough and overwhelming. Again, sometimes information is just information. Every time I post new information (like the teaser angle this past weekend, which won) it doesn’t now need its own tracking category moving forward either.

So, moving forward there will be no changes to tracking for Pro’s v Joe’s, Known Bettors, Robin Hood Selections, Sharp Consensus, Personal Plays, Active Algorithms. What will change is if I mention something as “sharp”, but it does not have an LJP 1 or higher, it won’t be tracked within the sharp records for that league. There can be sharp buying on something, but the level of sharp buying does not rise to an LJP 1. At that point and for that content, “information is just information”. Also, I love exploring new content like the public teaser leg angle I put out this past weekend. It’s fun to me to report on this sort of stuff. However, every time I open my mouth (or perhaps move my fingers on the keyboard and post) it doesn’t now need its own tracking category. But here’s the great news… you are welcome to track anything and everything for yourself! It doesn’t mean I won’t add or drop tracking categories in the future based on performance of something (or an audience interest). It just means that not every new angle or covered content tidbit needs to be tracked for fade or follow purposes at TheSharpPlays.com. Sometimes information is just information!

Good luck in your action!
~ The Sharp Plays