How To Hit The Bookies Where It Hurts

On the matter of bookies, the most important bit of logic is realising that bookies are running an actual business. Should that business not make a profit, why would anyone want to continue working at it? For this reason, bookies are in most areas’ kings of their particular trade – kings banking their success on the general ignorance and/or faulty assumptions of their customers.

Of the hundreds of thousands of lines posted by bookies around the world every day, some are determined through blood and sweat, and long hours worked well into the night. Others are sucked out of somebody’s thumb. Those thumb bets are what you want.

Derivatives Are Soft Spots

In the sports betting word, thumb bets are about the same thing as widening the surface of attack, i.e. points of vulnerability.

Attack surface is actually a term used in cyber-security. It basically refers to all the possibly ways in which information on a computer can be accessed – legally. The problem with attack surfaces is that the more attack surfaces loaded on a computer system or server, the better the odds of someone somewhere along the line slipping up by failing to secure something under cyber “lock and key”.

For this reason, computer systems set up by cyber-security experts will always run only those programs absolutely essential to the optimal functioning of that system in terms of what it was installed to do. In other words, no Solitaire, no Minecraft, and no Fortnite. The motivation behind this is that anything not used but left installed will eventually be neglected and become a soft target.

Derivative markets are soft targets.

Employees Are Soft Spots

The second bit of logic worth keeping in mind is that sports books typically employ smart mathematicians and traders. Even so, keeping a successful sports book running around the clock requires a massive and combined effort by many people.

And since people, no matter how smart or accomplished, are still only human. And human beings make mistakes. It’s just the way things are. And since it’s an impossible task trying to fill every vacant position with a person perfectly skilled and qualified for the job he or she is to perform, this too becomes an attack surface.

Banking On Bettors Not Knowing

Sports bettors don’t expect the majority of bettors to know math. Attack surface number three. Knowing math basically refers to some working knowledge about how prediction models work. And knowing how a prediction model works is often as simple as knowing the difference between pricing and noise.

Bookies rely on “noise” and on the fact that bettors won’t be able to tell noise from valuable useable information. An example of noise would be a fourth-quarter bet – or at least an element typically present in a fourth-quarter NBA bet. Though no longer now common practise, bookies used to create a fourth-quarter line by simply chopping a second-half line through the middle.

The problem with that particular approach as that it only ever worked in the bookmaker’s favour as long as neither of the two teams playing were overwhelming favourites to win the game. The minute bettors started cottoning on to what was happening, bookies had to necessarily quit their chopping game.