SPORTS BETTING MYTHS

Random, illogical theories that somehow stand the test of time have become sports betting "truths".
Let's debunk some of these myths.

Always Fade The Public

This is without a doubt the #1 sports betting myth of all time. We understand the logic; Vegas always makes money, so let's go against the public like Vegas does. Makes sense right? Well yes, kind of.

Here's the problem: Generally speaking, sportsbooks aim to have an even amount of risk (action) on both sides of a bet. This means regardless of the outcome, the sportsbook will make a profit on the result based on their commission. Their commission (also known as vig) is what they charge the bettor in order to place the bet. 

A bettor can never truly fade the public in the same way that a sportsbook can. Every time a bettor places a wager, he or she is paying a -110 price. Therefore, every -110 bet that a sportsbook takes action on, they are getting +110 on the same bet. And the difference in those 20 cents is massive; it is how the sportsbooks continue to make money year in and year out.

The vast majority of sports bettors are simply flipping a coin. They will win approximately 50% of the time, but because of the house advantage, that 50% win rate results in a net loss. So if you truly want to bet against the public like Vegas does, you need to be getting +110 on all your bets, and obviously this is impossible without being on the other side of the counter.

This Game is Fixed

Conspiracy theories continue to run wild. The truth is games have been fixed in the past, and we're sure some will be fixed in the future. But if you are betting on a league such as the NFL, your game isn’t being fixed. Far too many fans or bettors yell “fixed” way too often. 

First of all, how many players in any given sport do you think have the influence to fix a match? Solo sports, yes, obviously. But for team sports such as football or baseball or hockey there are way too many variables. Maybe you can argue for a quarterback, or pitcher or goalie; but how much money do they make? Do you really believe a quarterback will be willing to risk his $100-million dollar contract to fix a game? That’s just ridiculous.

What about the referees? Yes, we have seen examples of referees fixing games or purposefully affecting them. Tim Donaghy is a name that instantly comes to mind with the 2007 NBA Betting Scandal. But the truth is, it is way more likely that when a fan thinks a game is fixed, it is simply the result of a referee making a horrible call. We really have seen some horrendous calls in all major sports, but we would argue that's a result of ineptitude, not match fixing.

Never Bet More Than -200 on a Game

We have all heard these random odds applied to different leagues. These statements are absolutely flawed. There is no magic number when it comes to sports betting. You can find a greater edge on some -200 bets, then you might on some +150 bets. Every bet you make is independent of all others; so to group bets together based on the line is incorrect.

Most of these "never bet on x" arbitrary numbers come from mining past seasonal data which does not have any predictive value to future events.

Let's put it this way: Would you lay -200 on the NBA All-Stars against the worst team in the league? Of course you would, as you should. When there is an edge to be had, you should bet that edge regardless of how steep the price is.

Injuries Give Bettors a Big Edge

Yes, injuries can give the bettor an edge, but only if you can bet the game before the market adjusts. The truth is if you find out that a superstar is out more than 30 seconds after the news has been reported, the line probably has already moved.

Let’s say for example the Buffalo Bills are -7 for today’s game. If Josh Allen is announced as “out” at 9 am, the market will adjust within seconds. By kick off, you will not find any value betting on the Bills' opponent because the market will have compensated for the Allen injury news. If you want to get an edge based on injuries, you must bet the line before the market corrects itself.

Sportsbooks Have Inside Information

This has been another popular myth that continues to find relevance. Sportsbooks do not have inside information. They don’t know what will happen in a game any more than the public does. Remember, a sportsbook’s goal is to balance the action on both sides of a bet or to take a position on one side that they believe is to be the correct side, which that can determine by using profiles of the bettors on their platform.

Their goal is not to try and trick its customers. One could argue that sportsbooks may be better at interpreting news (although this can be rebutted as well), but they definitely do not have inside information that the public is unaware of.

Never Make a Parlay

Parlays come with a negative connotation. They have long been branded as a losing play or a square bet. The reason for this common belief is because sportsbooks have a greater hold on parlays compared to a straight bet.

(Hold in sports betting refers to the percentage of money that sportsbooks keep for every dollar wagered. This percentage will vary by wager type. A -110 bet has a 4.55% hold percentage).

Parlays are generally a losing bet; this is true. Think about it, your average bet at -110 has a negative expected value. Now a parlay is the process of grouping multiple plays together. Your negative expected value now gets compounded throughout each event in your parlay, creating even more negative expected value.

The myth; however, lies in the expected value. If you believe you have found a great bet and that you have an edge over the sportsbooks, you are now compounding that positive expected value together creating a long-term profitable wager. Simply put, not all parlays should be categorized as a negative play. If you believe you have +EV on multiple plays, then you can lump them together without fear and it is very likely that your parlay is also +EV.

Circles Off

If you are interested in learning more about sports betting myths, check out Episode 8 of Circles Off with betstamp co-founder, Johnny, and betstamp co-owner, Rob Pizzola.