We hear this term quite often and over a long period of time it’s of course a profitable thing to do, if you can ascertain what is and what is not public money.
I’ve had conversations with many bettors over the years about this. It’s more complicated than simply looking at a bet percentage and making a determination, and that’s of course something that has more parameters than most people know. For starters, there are any number of websites that give out betting percentages, and to be quite honest, they are not all alike. By that I mean there are some big discrepancies from one site to another in terms of percentage.
One reason and perhaps the biggest reason for that is that they all draw their numbers from a different cross-section of bookmakers. As we know, some books are quite public/recreational, or as many would like to call them, square. That’s a whole different topic. And of course some books cater to high limit professionals and they’re usually going to have very different numbers at different times of the day.
Speaking of different times of the day, those percentages often come out quite early, and I’ve seen some sites with bet percentages on games that may not have 100 tickets on them. Clearly that’s an early move and one that’s NOT reflective of real public money. To put that in perspective, and typical NFL game during the regular season will have tens of thousands (if not more) tickets on the game by kickoff. So, we’re just not comparing apples to apples if we’re looking at those bet percentages at different times during the betting cycle.
Add into that equation the fact that what many market mover/syndicates will do is bet very early on a game, which forces the books to adjust the number, knowing that they’re coming back with a bigger bet on the other side at a better number. That’s quite common, in all sports. And if you’re even half-good at math, you know that early in the betting cycle it’s going to take far less money to move a line then it will closer to the time the game starts.
So, “fade the public” is indeed a reasonable long-term strategy, however you’ve got to know in truth where they public money actually is, and you’ve got to develop your own parameters and follow them to a “T”. Otherwise, you’re just guessing, and we know what “guessing” gets you in this business.
In a word, we ARE guessing every single day of the year, but as long as we’re doing the work, being thorough, and being consistent, then we are at least making educated guess as opposed to throwing darts or being a lemming and following the public over a cliff.