Learning how to tell the difference between strong sports betting markets and weak ones is probably the most important skill any sports bettor will ever have mastered.
To illustrate, consider buying a new car. No matter how much you end up paying for the car, a top of the range sports model will always go faster than a jalopy. No amount of money or effort in the world is going to chance that. The same logic goes for betting on sports. A weak market will always perform more poorly than what will a strong market. The real trick is as simple as learning how to spot the difference.
Failing to do this is called throwing good money at bad bets.
What Constitutes “Strong”?
Winning at sports betting means launching a full-blown attack on weak markets. This is achieved in one of two ways – either attacking the market from a position of having more information at your disposal than whoever set up the market in the first place, or by making better use than everybody else of the available information.
But what then makes of a market a strong market? Much more than what most bookies would care to admit, is the simple answer. Here are some key examples:
- Price discovery makes a market weaker. Sports books relying on price discovery are those bookies not particularly bothered with putting in the actual effort when determining odd lines. Instead, they’ll simply create their lines by copying and combining the information from one or two other books. The trouble with this approach is if the main sports book gets it wrong, then so do everyone else.
- The bigger the limits, the stronger the market. The logic here is simple: more money available means more money available. The bigger a market’s overall betting limits, the more than market will justify the act of putting in the necessary time and effort building a proper model and approach.
- Available information. The more reliable information available, the stronger the market. Take note that this has nothing to do with how easy or how difficult that information is to come by – and everything to do with the willingness of the bettor to find reliable information.
A Third Scenario
Remember too that it is possible for both weak and strong markets to co-exist within one sports book. In fact, this is the norm.
A top trick when trying to differentiate between the two is to keep track of how often the lines are moving. Frequent movement typically indicates a stronger market, with every moment representing a step nearer to efficiency.
Always remember to put your assumptions to the test before going at it with everything you’ve got. Test the waters, so to speak. You will never really know the strength of a market unless you’ve been following it for a while, thrown small test-bets at it periodically, and just generally keeping an eye on how it behaves on average.
Do this, ad to your approach a healthy dose of respect for your bankroll, and you’ll soon be well on your way towards spotting the markets much more accurately than before.