Public Betting Percentages

A lot of sportsbooks will provide something that is known to the public as public betting percentages to their customers or to other companies that keep track of the odds and report on what other bettors are doing. There is not any harm in doing this and public betting percentages are just the amount of bets that are placed at a sportsbook. It is not the amount of money that is bet on either side.  Sportsbooks do not differentiate between a casual bettor placing a $22 wager on the Chicago Bears or a professional bettor placing an $11,000 wager on the New York Jets. Each team is only credited with having received one bet, not how much money was placed.

What the sportsbooks will not do is give the public the public betting percentages in relation to money wagered on a game. Using the above example, the Jets would be receiving about 500 times the money than what was bet on the Bears. Even though the sportsbooks won’t release the information, many times you can get an idea of which way the money is coming in on a game by watching the line movement. You won’t be able to make a precise guess, but if the public betting percentages were showing 50% of the wagers on the Bears and 50% of the wagers on the Jets and the line moved from New York -1 to New York -2.5 you could reasonably conclude that more money is coming in on the Jets, despite the fact that the number of bets are the same.

Public betting percentages can be used in numerous amounts of ways by people betting.  Some people who place sports bets like to bet on the same team as other gamblers and look for games in which there seems to be a consensus on one team.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a belief in the old adage of two heads being better than one and because everybody agrees that one way must be right, or it is just a feeling of camaraderie by needing to be on the same side as everybody else, these people betting find a certain amount of comfort in the safety of betting in large numbers.

One of the most popular methods of using public betting percentages is by going against the betting public, a theory in which on the surface seems to make a lot of sense.  However the majoirty of sports bettors are going to lose over time, so when the majoirty of bettors are on one team, why not go against that team?  It’s hard to fault that logic, but it is not that easy.  A person betting who hits 50% of their plays is going to be a losing bettor, however if you happen to bet against them, you’ll also be a 50% bettor and will end up on the losing side of things either way.  In order to show a profit by betting against somebody, you need their winning percentages to be lower than 47.62%, as the break-even figures in sports betting lays with 11-to-10 odds, which is 52.38%

There are several circumstances in which a person betting can profit from public betting percentages and going against the public when they are overwhelmingly on one side. NFL road teams receiving 25% or less of the public wagers generally show a 58-39 record since the start of the 2005 season and you can boost your winning percentage a couple of points if you focus on teams which didn’t go to the playoffs the year before.

If you take NFL road underdogs who are receiving 20% or fewer of the wagers on a certain game, these teams have covered the spread close to 57% over the last 10 seasons.

You’ll also notice that both methods that we have stated will have you jumping in when at least three out of four bets are coming in on one team and then going the other way. As a result, you’re usually  going to bet on some ugly teams and are you going to suffer your share of big blowout losses, however you have to remember that you don’t get style points in sports betting and losing 38-7 with a seven-point underdog is no worse than losing 21-13. Also, a number of the games that you win will probably be nail-biters, but once again, having your seven-point underdog lose 20-14 is no different than watching them win 28-17. In the second scenario, it might be a just a bit easier on your stomach, but your bet pays the same amount. In sports betting you either win or you don’t and if you happen to go against the large public favorites, you’ll find yourself winning more often than not.

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