Popular opinion can be shaped by lots of different factors and not all of them are based on hard facts. If you can identify spots where most people’s opinions are being influenced by other factors it can be a great opportunity to bet against the public

Here are some common ones to look out for:

The Media Narrative

The media can play a big role if they are hyping up one outcome over another. People are easily influenced by the dominant media narrative and public opinion has a way of snowballing.

Team Reputation

Higher profile teams are much more likely to be bet on more heavily by the public. Casual fans are likely to be influenced by their basic knowledge about a team or sport, betting on reputation rather than probability. The more famous a team, the more action there will be on them.

Home Advantage

In team sports like football, hockey and basketball, home advantage is usually a big factor that influences public opinion. While it’s true that statistically playing at home is a big advantage, make sure to do the research and see what that particular team’s results say. Pay especially close attention to short term history to see if playing at home is really helping them and how much.

Star Players

Something as simple as recognizing a star player can be hugely important in determining how the public bets. Plenty of people backed the Cavaliers to beat the Warriors last season for one reason only – LeBron James. Of course, start players have a big influence on the outcome of a game, but the extent to their influence can be distorted.

Gambling Psychology

Psychologically, people are much more likely to root for lots of points and winning teams. This is equally true for betting. People rarely want to et on a low scoring game or a tie. This is an important concept for gamblers who like betting against the public.

Another important thing to remember is that even if you think the public perception is largely correct (for example, on which team will win a match) but that the public is off in how much the team will win by, you still have the opportunity to fade the public.

There are many different types of bets that can be used effectively to bet against the public, taking into account the above factors.

Example of Wagering Against the Public

We’ll break down a few examples of good opportunities to bet against the public to show you exactly what we’re talking about:

Example #1: Bet on the Underdog to Win

Let’s start with a simple one. A casual bettor on a game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Astros in MLB baseball. He hasn’t been following either team much this season, but he knows that home-run hitter Edwin Encarnación plays for the Reds. That’s enough for him, he bets on Cincinnati.

Since he hasn’t been paying attention he’s got no idea that Encarnación has been in a slump and not producing. The Astros, on the other hand, have momentum from a few consecutive wins.

There are a lot of people out there like that first guy. Enough people will bet on the favourites based on star players or just basic psychology. This creates a situation where the majority of the action is on the favourite, which inflates the odds on the underdog even though they could be a more logical choice.

This is a prime situation to bet against the public.

Example #2: Bet on Favourite Not to Cover the Spread

When betting on the road favorite, the public may ignore the importance of home advantage, in favor of the big name on the road.

Say the Golden State Warriors are playing on the road against the Boston Celtics. Even though the Celtics have home advantage, the vast majority of the public are likely to bet on the Warriors because of their reputation, their star players and their recent success.

The casual fan may not know or care much about the home team, but they hear the name Golden State Warriors and they bet on them. In this case, even if you think the Warriors are going to win, chances are public opinion has created an unrealistic point spread.

Maybe the public have bet so heavily on the Warriors that the point spread is -10. Now, even though you think the Warriors will have enough to beat the Celtics, you know it’s going to be a close game. You can bet that the Warriors won’t cover the spread and still make a profit when they win.

Betting Against the Public on Over/Unders

Over/under bets are wagers on the total points scored in a game by both teams combined. The sportsbook sets a line and you can bet on the final total being over or under their line.

For example:

  • If the line is set at 3.5 and you bet the over, it means you think there will be four goals or more in the game.
  • So, in this case, if the game was a 2-2 tie or a 3-1 win, you would win either way.
  • Alternatively, an under 3.5 goals bet means you think there will be 3 goals or less.
  • The game could finish 3-0 or 0-0 and either way you would still win.

The reason over/under bets are a good strategy for betting against the public in low-scoring games like hockey and soccer is due to the psychology associated with sports betting. Remember, people rarely want to bet that a game will be low scoring. The general public loves to root for goals and excitement.

Imagine Portugal were playing Argentina in the World Cup final. You can be sure the media coverage of the prospect of Ronaldo vs Messi would mean that a lot of people will be expecting a lot of goals. Plus, it’s the World Cup final and people are excited. As more money is bet on a high scoring game, it becomes more and more profitable to fade the public. Especially when you know that the World Cup final is a traditionally cagey, low scoring match.

Over/under betting is popular in other sports too, and the principle behind it is largely the same. When public opinion is leaning towards an unrealistically high number of goals or points, you can consider an ‘under’ bet to fade them.

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