Even casual sports fans know there is money to be made in sports betting. The real question is, how? One key to successful sports betting is in how the public bet, and how you bet with or against the public. 

So far, this may sound confusing. It’s not. Keep reading below for expert, insider knowledge.

What is a Public Bet?

Public betting simply refers to which outcome is more favorable to more bettors. For example, if most bettors think the Colorado Avalanche will win the Stanley Cup, the public bet is Colorado to win. 

There could be an 85% public bet for Colorado to win or only 50.3%. Even the smallest majority is still considered the public bet. 

If the majority of bettors favor one outcome over another, this also means the majority of money is on the favored side. Also known as public money. To be clear, public money does not refer to a dollar amount, but rather a percentage of the bet.

A public bet can pertain to anything that has two possible outcomes. Win or loss, point scored by a certain player: yes or no, red card: yes or no, will the total points scored be over or under a certain number, and so on. This means there are many possible public bets in any given sport or game.

How does Public Betting Work

How the public bets depends on a number of different factors, some more reliable than others. Each should be viewed with a critical eye and backed up by your own research.

Media Hype

The public tends to be swayed a lot by media coverage. If the media spends a lot of time covering a certain outcome, the public will probably favor it, no matter how likely it is.

Famous Players

Well-known and well-liked players can change how the public bets. A Steph Curry on a losing team still might have the public bet behind him. Be wary of star power influencing public bets. 

Make sure to look into the star player’s current stats, if they’re not producing at the moment, the public may be wrong.

Home Advantage

A home crowd often does make a difference, and public bets like to favor the home team. Home advantage is not bulletproof, teams lose at home all the time. Again, take a look at current home and road wins and losses for each team in a public bet.

Team Notoriety

Famous and well-known teams like the New York Yankees or New England Patriots are likely to have public backing, even if they aren’t necessarily the favored team. Remember though, a winning reputation might not mean anything in a current bet. 

Is the Public Right?

Most public bets are wrong. In fact, they are wrong ?% of the time (link). This is because most bettors are “squares” or just casual bettors who don’t often make money from sports betting. 

Squares usually don’t take a close look at team statistics or other pertinent information, instead being easily influenced by the media, star power, or a team’s reputation.

Should You Bet Against The Public?

As you’ve learned, public bets are often wrong. It goes without saying, you should bet against the public, also known as “fading” the public. Fading the public can be a good strategy and result in winning bets.

When Should You Bet Against The Public?

While betting against the public is usually a good idea, it can be tricky to know how the public is betting and when fading is the right call. There are a few indicators you can follow to be sure the public is voting one way.

Moving Lines

In sports betting, “lines” refers to the odds of a bet. The odds, or line, of a bet, might change leading up to the game. Lines move for a number of reasons but most often, it has to do with manipulation by the sportsbook. 

Sportsbooks want both sides of the bet to be relatively equal or they risk losing money when a heavily favored side ends up winning. In order to make both sides of a bet equal, sportsbooks will make the less popular side look more favorable. This is done by changing payout odds or points spreads and totals.

When it comes to the public bet, if one side is heavily favored sportsbooks will move the line towards the less favored side. This type of line movement will give you a clear idea of where the public bet lies. 

Sharp Money

“Sharps” are the opposite of squares. They are experienced, sometimes professional, sports bettors who usually profit from their bets. Unlike casual bettors, sharps are highly informed and watch line movements, public bets, and team statistics very closely. 

Sharps will use this information to manipulate lines. If a line moves suddenly and dramatically, this is an indication that sharps are dumping money to even out a bet. You should consider this an indicator that the public is leaning heavily one way.

Payout Odds

On straight-forward, winner-of-the-game bets, also known as moneyline bets, sportsbooks can’t manipulate points spreads to even out the line. Instead, they will change payout odds for either side of a bet. Betting on the underdog will win more than betting on the favorite.

If the odds numbers are going up, the public bet is on the favorite. If odds numbers are going down, the public bet is on the underdog. With this information, you can recognize the public bet and fade the public if you suspect they are wrong.

The Easiest Way to Bet Against the Public

The easiest way to bet against the public is to bet for the underdog. The squares of the sports betting world aren’t looking closely at how each team is performing, they are just betting for the favorite. 

Pay attention to the factors that influence the public bet, like famous players, media hype, and who the home team is. 

Getting Started

Sports betting doesn’t have to be a money sink. With something as simple as knowing the public bet and knowing the public is usually wrong, you can start winning. Try our free resources to learn how to make your own winning picks today!

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