When we handicap sport most of us are mindful of what the market has done, is doing, and all the while estimating what the market will do. And those aren’t bad things to be doing, in fact, they’re good things to be doing.
However, there are times when we pay entirely too much attention to what the market is doing. With all the information available and the fact that bettors are far more educated than ever, it’s fairly easy to see at any given time what may or may not be sharp money, or what we think is sharp money, and get hasty with our bets. Remember, even long term winning sports bettors lose about 45% of their bets.
There was a great example in College Basketball Tuesday night in a game between Fresno State and Colorado State. The Rams opened as -2.5 point favorites and I quickly took the home underdogs plus the points. Over the next 24 hours the line flipped to Fresno -2 points, and with a larger percentage of tickets still on Colorado State.
Watching that line I felt really good about my bet, to the point of wishing I’d have made an even larger wager. Then of course there were the masses of bettors that saw that line move and jumped all over Fresno and at a much worse number than I had in my pocket.
Well, Fresno never stood a chance, ultimately losing the game by double-digits. I could take comfort in the fact that I didn’t follow for nothing, but that doesn’t diminish a loss.
The takeaway here is that if you handicapped the game you might have thought Colorado State was the right side, but then saw the dramatic market shift and questioned yourself, maybe even to the point of taking Fresno State. I’ve done that. I suspect everyone has whether they’ll admit it or not.
In the end, in order to win, you have to find the right balance between going with what you know and being respectful of the market. Of course there’s the goal of getting the best number and CLV (Closing Line Value), but that’s just not always possible for most recreational bettors that can’t be looking at an odds screen all their waking hours.
So, if you feel strongly about a particular team, bet it. You’ll have far less anxiety if the bet loses than you will if you pay attention to the market and flip, or worse yet, pass on a winner.