Sports Betting Strategies: Going Against the Betting Public

Public Consensus Picks

Generating a bigger return on investment is the primary goal for anyone who loves to bet on sports. Unfortunately, the majority of recreational sports bettors tend to lose more money than they win. That is why the sportsbook industry is booming these days.
One of the biggest reasons why the books continually beat the betting public is the predictability of sports bettors in general.

They have a terrible habit of betting with their heart as opposed to their head. They are easily swayed by outside bias instead of taking the time to break down the games on their own with proven handicapping methods.

The reality of the situation has created a betting strategy that is relatively simple to do. If the betting consensus leans heavily towards one side in any particular game, bet the other way. Going against the betting public is a common tactic that pays off big more times than it does not.

The sportsbook's goal is to balance out the money on either side of a bet and collect the difference in the form of a commission on the losing side. This is commonly referred to as juice or vig. The standard juice on a losing bet is 10%.
A game's point spread and total line are set in a way to encourage betting on either side of a bet to achieve that desired balance.

However, the betting public has a strong tendency to lean towards the favorite on the spread and the OVER on the total line. This automatically adds a bit more value to the underdog and the UNDER as the books try and adjust accordingly.
Going over the betting trends for this past NBA regular season, the favorite covered the closing spread 51.6% of the time. The total line was basically evenly split between the OVER and the UNDER. This type of balance creates quite a bit of opportunity to go against the betting public on a regular basis.

The easiest way to find the best opportunities to put this betting strategy to the test is to track the betting consensus for any game. This is a running measure of how the betting public is wagering on a particular matchup.

Some games remain 50/50 right up until starting time. What you are looking for is a betting consensus of 70% or higher. When betting against the public, you always want to look for the highest number possible. More times than not, the heavy consensus is betting on the favorite on the spread (or money line).
You can also find the betting consensus for the total line in a particular game. Once again, the higher numbers tend to lean towards the OVER.

Along with the idea of betting against the public, you should still break down a matchup on face value. The public is not wrong all of the time. The perfect scenario is a high consensus for the favorite while your handicapping efforts point towards betting the underdog. The same could be said for the OVER/UNDER on the total line.
One caveat to keep in mind is any major movement in the betting lines. A game's spread or total line might move .5 point or even a full point based on the early money coming in from the betting public. Any higher moves could single some heavy action from the pros or sharps.