What’s Behind The “Known” Bettor Plays I Post?

The most frequently asked questions I get revolve around what is behind the “known” bettor information I post. I thought why not make that my first article. I am sure there will be more articles connected to this topic in the future but he’s a quick breakdown.

Every day there is a ton of sharp action that comes from individuals and betting groups. Almost every game/market is hit with sharp action. These connected and disconnected groups/bettors pick-off different numbers and spots they calculate they have an advantage. The advantage could be through their mathematical calculations, their handicapping or inside information. As a friend of mine in the business said last week…there’s no law against inside information in sports betting. In the investment markets, well, that’s a different story. If I posted every bit of sharp action I would never have a second in the day to myself. Sharp action is everywhere and it is constantly hitting. Sharp action often doesn’t provide a clear picture either as you will usually see sharp action on both sides of a wager. The only way for a book to keep up is through the use of advanced software and algorithms that constantly scan the markets and protect the book from being hurt by the sharp action.

With all this sharp information, how do I narrow it down to the precise bits of “known” bettor information that I tweet/post? Well, I need a filter! The filter I created helps dial down thousands and tens of thousands of data points into just a handful each day. My filter basically targets standout sharp action. How does it do this without the technical jargon or a long story?

  1. It removes markets that don’t have a clear sharp side. Markets need to show me a concentration of sharps on one side versus the other. Once those markets lacking a concentration of sharp action are removed, I get a picture of the sharpest markets for the day.
  2. There are still a decent number of sharp markets so next my filter looks within those markets to find which markets have sharp bettors that are performing three standard deviations above the mean. By going out three standard deviations from the mean, I can see the top 2.1% of bettors within the market. Obviously, the 2.1% are better than 97.9% of all the other bettors at the book. These are sharp players. By the way, along this line I can also see the bottom 2.1% of bettors too if I wanted some good fades! No, Mr. Poison does not make it to this category. Yes, there are same bad bettors out there!
  3. At this point we have narrowed things down to the sharp markets and further to those markets which have the top 2.1% of bettors in action. What is the rank used to consider someone in the top 2.1% (three standard deviations from the mean) of bettors? The answer is ROI (return on investment). Next my filter looks within those 2.1% of bettors and finds the bettors who specialize in the sport for which they are betting. Not only does someone have to be in the top 2.1% of overall bettors but they also have to be in the top 5% of bettors for that particular sport. Yes, this narrows things down dramatically.
  4. At this point I have a handful of bettors and their bets. There is one final filter that scans through this handful of bettors to get me to my key list. The final filter looks at bettors who are wagering above their average. Which means to get to this point in my filter the bettor must be betting on a market with clear sharp conviction AND they must be be in the overall top 2.1% of bettors AND they must be in the top 5% for the sport they are betting AND they must be betting 20% above their average wager. Why do I care how much they bet? Because if a sharp bettor is betting more than their usual, the theory would be that this play is better than their usual bet. Therefore I should expect it to hit at a higher percentage. Notice I don’t look for how much they are betting but instead a percentage above their average bet.

Once my filter works the market action through #’s 1-4 above, I have usually 10-20 plays. It is from these plays that I then manually review and narrow down to what appears to be the sharpest of the sharp. It is these plays that qualify as “The Sharp Plays” which I often then tweet out as “known” bettor action.

One misconception that often comes up when I talk to people about sharp action is… The larger the wager the strong the play. You would think that to be the case but it is not. One of the top sharp players at one of the books I am connected to only bets $2K-$3K a game. That’s it! Yet he ranks as one of the top college basketball sharps each of the past four years! So, there are times when a sharp bettor like this guy will put $5K on a game and another sharp will put $50K on a game. However I will probably weigh the $5K play a lot higher than the $50K play because of whom it comes from. Both are sharps but the $5K play is from a guy who is the best of the best and usually only bets $2-3K a game. Whereas the other sharp routinely bets $50K. So, for this one sharp to bet $5K, almost double his average, signifies something special about this wager. It’s a definite follow!

Do I have other filters I use, yes, I literally have dozens that scan for specific action I like to follow. The above filter, call it Filter #1, is my go to when I am quickly scanning the markets and want the full picture. Filter #1 is quite successful as you are probably aware if you follow me on Twitter.

In the end, the “known” bettor information that I post and use is filtered down using the above analysis method. I believe the selections I post hit at a high percentage because my designed filter essentially narrows down all the sharp action to the best of the best out there. It DOES NOT mean it will hit 80-90% consistently. The sharps do lose too but it will be one of the most consistently profitable angles in sports betting when followed and bet properly. Properly = disciplined.

Another question along this vein that I get is whether people should vary their wagers on the “known” action I post. No, don’t try to handicap the sharp bettors. The sharps are doing the job for you and narrowing things down to the optimum wagers. No need to further handicap “known” bettor action.

Lastly, sharp action is a long term winner but in the short term it can lose like anyone. The information I post should be used in your own handicapping and not to blindly bet on and for unreasonable amounts. There may be some amazing runs where it seems like we cannot lose. There will also be runs where we scratch our heads going…”what the hell did he see in that one???” So, always be disciplined and intelligent in your betting.

Thanks for checking out today’s post! I won’t have these every day but when I get some free time and a topic has been discussed a lot, perhaps like betting math, I will throw something together! I have a friend who writes some amazing stuff but boy can he write. I write in an effort to deliver the information as completely as possible but with the shortest length possible to achieve that goal! Hope this answered some questions for you!

~ The Sharp Plays