The term Sharp Bettor is thrown around constantly in the sports betting community. It’s almost mystical. The fact is the Sharps as they are called are not really these Ace Rothstein types who are smoking cigars and sipping Scotch in sports books around vegas. In this article I will go into what makes a sharp and how you can become more like one and use their moves to benefit yourself. Lets do it.
What defines a Sharp.
A sharp bettor is defined as a bettor who constantly beats the closing line. Most think that it has more to do with the amount they bet and the amount they win. Which just isn’t true. Now what is true is because they beat the Closing line value (CLV) they typically do do better than most. Not all sharps bet large amounts of money. Some do. But you can bet a relatively small amount of money and get limited by sports books if you are constantly ahead of line movement. Some online books are notorious for this. One of the problems with being “Sharp”. So that is what makes a sharp a sharp. Now onto how they do it.
How do Sharps become Sharp
The vast majority of Sharp players are computer modelers now days. They build complex math models to set lines and scores for the games. They typically bet larger type volumes because of their implied edges. They typically don’t even give a second thought of what public is doing, good or bad “spots”. They use math at various degrees to formulate their opinions and they trust their numbers. A podcast that allows you to get into the heads of one of these types is “Bet the Process”. Rufus Peabody models football and has a pretty good reputation of being very sharp.
Now not all sharps are computer types. There are old school guys who are sharp. They usually keep a lot of info on teams and have nice set of Power Rankings to help them make lines which they believe in. In the documentary “The Best of It” there are a couple of these guys. This is absolutely a great movie and a must watch to see the real life of a professional gambler. I will say this it is not nearly as glamorous as you probably think it is. These dudes without doubt also move lines.
So now that we know what makes a sharp and how they do it lets take a second and talk about them realistically. Look they have no magic powers. They win, but they still win at a rate of 52.5% to 58%. Just because your sharp doesn’t mean your going to go without bad streaks or even bad years. Ask one and they will tell you. One of the funny things is are sharps are willing to go in on games where they have a way lower chance of winning just because of their perceived “edge” than the recreational bettor. They win or lose without emotion.
How do you become a Sharp or at least Sharper
It is not easy to become a sharp. Like I said above you need to have a great Idea and means to put it in place and the skills with code writing or whatever it is what they do. I can assure you I don’t have it. Lol. Or you could be more like the old school sharps and track teams very closely and have a set of Power Ranking that you can really believe in. The thing is about that also is beside you really believing in them they must have a edge. Remember having a number that you believe in doesn’t mean you will beat the CLV and become “sharp”. If the computer dudes numbers are different than yours they may be moving line away form you and then not only are you not getting the best of it you are doing exactly the opposite.
You can identify and play with the sharps if you take the time and do the work. It is not cut and dry and it is not easy. But if you put the work in you can identify the sharp moves and try to get in before the line moves.
I’d say (and have before) you must make lines for the games. I have written in past articles about how and why. But this gives you a basis to determine if the move I describe below is the public or the “sharp”. Before I go one I must add for this to work you kinda need to do your lines early. Meaning Sunday morning or Monday morning for CFB, NFL respectfully or night before for other sports. The next step in locating the sharp moves are to take good long look at the board. The unfortunate but cold hard truth is you will need more info than just the free boards available if you want to locate the sharps in time to get the “best of it”. You will need to pay someone for money %. This info isn’t out there for free that I know of. But if you have this info and you have your lines early in day, I do mean early, you can locate advantages within you lines compared to vegas lines. You will also see large % of money in these games. Lets use the SGP for yesterday as a example.
I woke to go over the lines. I say that I had VMI +8 and the books had them at +10. At that time 40% of tickets were on the dog at this time but 95% of the money was on them. These early large money moves are typically from the Sharps. The books get these bets and the adjust the line. At this point the advantage players have stepped in. They often will know that public money may come in on some games. And they will let it ride for awhile. But on a less bet games like above example the move could be made quickly. Yesterday I beat the line movement by measly minutes. This particular line closed at 8. A full two points of value between open and close. Public kept taking WCU and line kept moving down. RLM. Now in this case it didn’t matter. Both lines covered. But obviously you would rather have that 10 that the sharps got. I got in because I had a line with decent value to the line, I trust my lines and I spotted the money and got bet down before the move. A Sharp play.
Now this can work opposite for you also. You could misread and end up on wrong side. In NFL especially you must be careful because syndicates are really sharp players will make these early bets to get a better line so they can hammer it back another direction. Happens every week.
Okay so there you have it. Hopefully you have a greater knowledge of sharps and how they can help you. Remember that just getting on their side don’t mean shit. Sure I would rather be with them (on the best number) than against them. But I won’t bet a game just because I seen a sharp play. I need to believe in the move also. And then there are many sharp players and groups and they don’t always agree. Although you would be surprised how seldom they really do disagree. Use this information however you want. Any questions or comments hit me up on twitter @sharkygroup. Have a great day and as always bet smart.