Popular Strategies

Fade the Public

When the majority of the money has been placed on one side, it is known as the public bet which can be profitable to fade if sportsbooks have purposefully shaded the odds against the public bet. The reason that this happens is because the general public has a tendency to bet on the favorites. Similarly, the general public typically roots for the overs in the point total since that would produce the most excitement when watching the game. These two phenomena are further exaggerated by sports media who tend to reinforce these habits by marketing around scoring and popular players in their respective sports. Sportsbooks are acutely aware of these phenomena and adjust their odds pricing accordingly to take advantage of the public bet. In many cases, they will intentionally shorten the odds on favorites and overs to increase their potential profit when the underdog or under wins. 

Chasing Steam

When there is a sudden, large swing in the pricing of odds for an event, this might be an indication that a sharp bettor or professional syndicate has placed a hefty bet to cause the shift. The sequence of events usually begins with the sharp bettor or syndicate placing a significant bet ($10,000 or more) that causes the sportsbook who takes the bet to move their odds in order to balance their exposure to the bet that was placed. After seeing the change, other sportsbooks will often evaluate the line movement and adjust their line to match the new line if they believe or discover it has been caused by a sharp bettor or syndicate. It’s important to follow all news developments to distinguish this type of line movement from those that are caused by player injuries, weather, or other factors. Making the same bet as the sharp or professional syndicate can be profitable if it is identified early before the odds are adjusted.

Arbitrage Betting

If the total payout from combining the odds from all the possible outcomes using multiple sportsbooks is greater than the cost of placing the bets then an arbitrage betting opportunity exists. A simple illustration of this strategy would be the following:

Sportsbook #1: Los Angeles Lakers (+110) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (-120)

Sportsbook #2: Los Angeles Lakers (-120) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (+110)

In this example, if $100 was bet on the Lakers at Sportsbook #1 and $100 was bet on the Clippers at Sportsbook #2 then there would be an outlay of $200 to produce a guaranteed return of $210.


Sports Betting Terms

ATS - Against the Spread

This expression is used to indicate the record against the point spread. 


The money that you have available to bet.

Buying Points

Paying a higher amount to buy a spread that is more attractive. This is common in football where bettors buy points to key numbers i.e. 3 and 7.


When a bet has cashed for being successful because the spread that was purchased has been beaten by the final result, then the bet has “covered” the spread.  


Common slang for referring to the underdog i.e. the team which is not favored to win.


A long-term bet on an outcome which will not be determined for a considerable length of time.


The extra half-point that can be purchased to make a spread more favorable. Bettors commonly buy hooks in football around important numbers like 7 to make the spread they bet on 7.5.


Also known as the “vig” – this is the commission that sportsbooks charge bettors in order to make bets on sports.


An alternative way to bet on sports rather than betting against the spread. Betting on the moneyline is when the bettor picks who they think will win (regardless of margin of victory/loss).


When the final score of a game exactly matches the spread, or a moneyline bet ends with a tie game then it is a “push”. This means that your bet is refunded. Many sportsbooks have different rules about what is considered a “push” depending on the sport as well as regulation vs. overtime.

Reverse Line Movement

When a spread moves in the opposite direction of the team that is receiving the majority of the public betting. This can be a signal that a sharp bettor or professional syndicate has bet the on the opposing team than the one receiving the majority of the public betting.


This is the measurement of your standard bet size. For risk-management purposes, most bettors keep their unit size to within 1-3% of their total bankroll. This means that if your bankroll is $1000 then each unit should be between $10-$30.