Contrarian betting

2 tips Sharp NFL bettors don’t want you to know

If you’re not familiar with contrarian betting, lets cover that off quickly as it’s the foundation that some Sharp bettors use in their betting strategies, and is very profitable.

Contrarian betting: In the sports betting world (and also applies to the financial markets), a contrarian is one who attempts to profit by investing or betting in a manner that differs from the conventional wisdom, when the consensus opinion appears to be wrong.

A contrarian believes that certain crowd behavior among sports investors and sports can lead to exploitable mispricings in the betting markets.

For example, widespread pessimism or optimism about an NFL team or player can drive the flow of public betting money at the sportsbooks to one-side, thus reflecting the lines the books will  publish or adjust.

Basic Understanding: From a 30,000 foot view for the basic concept; contrarian betting is simply betting against the public opinion or money flow at the sportsbooks. See this visual infographic on sports investing to give you an idea where and how public opinion can work to your betting and investing advantage.

Now that you understand this, lets get on with the #1 tip Sharp NFL bettors don’t want you to know, as it’s a popular arsenal in there betting strategies that make them so profitable.

Lets begin. Now if you’re one of those people not in-tune with the sports betting and investing world, you may be surprised to find the online sportsbooks and vegas NFL betting markets are dominated by the public money that flows into the books. (shocker – I know).

Why is that? My view is the rise of online commerce and the offsports books, augmented with the media propogada to embed football into our TV, internet and mobile lives, and the explosive growth in social and collective tools available online for fantasy pools have all contributed to the three prong catalyst to flow your hard earned pay check into the accounts of the NFL betting markets.

The public bettor or social gambler typically reacts to the weekly news and action they catch on ESPN or SkyNet or some local sports station. Very similar to the financial markets you have your traders who react to the latest news and findings from a recent biotechnology firm report or mining operation with positive early test results; of course all paid and strategically positioned by their investor relations and PR firms for publicity and hype, which many traders buy into…and lose.

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Similar to the NFL betting markets, those who follow the fantasy football or the latest news of their favourite NFL team or preseason results, buy into these statistics and results and fuel the betting markets.

I view this as an over reaction that feeds into your offshore bookmaker. The online sportsbooks – and having spent some time on the inside of these books – its a common industry knowledge among them that this public money helps drive their decisions on where and how to place the lines and odds.

It’s a form of predictive modelling the online sportsbooks will use to help gauge and predict the weekly action and of course shade their lines accordingly.

You get many sports bettors who take a negative and down right laughable view of the public and consensus markets, noting the historical long term shows its in your favour fade the public opinion or to bet against the squares (popular in MLB betting). And while it’s a common betting strategy, most sports bettors fail to see the full picture how the public betting markets can work to enhance their betting strategy in their favour…which is where sharps and expert sports investors take advantage.

I’ve yet to meet a sports investor and bettor who has not once in their lifetime made an NFL bet on a bad line because of the amazing performance they say a team or player made in a game the night before. Most newbies take this unfortunately losing approach; so if this sounds like you I recommend this good overview on how to bet on the NFL. But through those failures there are learnings, which have made us all bettor and profitable sports investors.

If you’re reading this article and not already a member at where you get access to all premium Intelligent picks, over 20 industry expert handicappers and analysis and one of the largest global consensus and public sources of sport predictions, I recommend you at least sign up and try the service for free. The advantage you get is access into the intelligence of what the experts and our own proprietary prediction model is predicts on all major sports, including the insights around the public predictions.

But for those who prefer their own number crunching and research, I’d also recommend to check out SportsInsights as they monitor the NFL betting trends at seven offshore sportsbooks (CRIS, 5Dimes, Wagerweb, BetUS, Sports Interaction, and Carib Sports). And while Sports Insights will monitor actual wagers and not consensus data placed by bettors, the expert handicappers and analysts who publish NFL picks at are known to subscribe and use their services in their prediction analysis that they publish.

Tip 1: Follow the public opinion and money 

Now I’m definitely not saying to follow the betting approach to wager on the same teams the public money is going – however within your account you can see the historical public performance to gauge their effectiveness.

What I am saying is use the data of public consensus and money flow in your betting strategy and use it to your advantage. This is precisely what Sharps do and why they’re profitable.

For example, if you were to query historical NFL data and betting trends from any data aggregator or even get general opinion on sports betting forums as SBR or TheRX, the results and sports bettor opinion will show that over time betting against the public opinion has shown to be profitable.

In 3rd party analysis, we’ve seen this strategy produced a 57.7% win rate against the spread (ATS) for profit of +14.19 units and a +12.8% ROI.

Now filter when they filtered it even further by focussing only on the home teams, we see ATS win rate improve to 59.4%, pushing units won to +15.45 and ROI to an impressive +16.1%.

So why does betting on the NFL against the public money or consensus, or contrarian sports betting, work so well? Well, here’s the tip most sharps won’t tell you…

Sharp bettors and investors understand a core difference between them and squares is that sharps understand the importance of getting the best of the number. And in the NFL, almost 25% of all games finish with a margin of victory of either 3 or 7 points.

And having tools or handicappers who use the tools in their NFL picks and analysis, will get you better lines that have a significant effect on how profitable you’re betting or investment portfolio will be over the NFL football season.

In another example of analyzing NFL betting trends, it showed a strong relationship between major one-sided public betting at the sportsbooks, and the NFL line movements.

Football games where one team received 20% or less of spread bets, the underdog in that matchup closed with a better line 55.4% of the time. In all other games, underdogs improved from open to close only 26.8% of the time.

Tip: Sharps and sports investors at who use the resources we provide understand this and exploit the publics view by buying-back underdogs at better prices when the sportsbooks place or adjust their lines.

Tip 2: Follow the Sharp money through reverse moves

Easier said than done, right? F*ck, if it were that easy we’d all be doing it. But there are insights to look for that can help you determine where the Sharps money is flowing.

How? Look for a reverse move on a game. By this I mean let’s say the New York Giants are at home and playing the Chicago Bears, and the odds makers have made them a 5 point favorite. Look at the ratio of money coming in on this game – example 80% of all the straight action is placed on New York…yet the sportsbooks odds makers are lowering the number say to -4.

This is sure evidence that the smart money is flowing in on the Bears overwhelming all the public Giants money – forcing the sport books to lower their line on the favorite in this situation to try and balance the books.

So the key takeaway here is that when the majority of the action on one side of a game, and the odds makers are moving the line looking for more of the square money – it’s a sure sign the smart money is on the other side of the game.

This works in all sports – however when it comes to a football game this betting strategy is the best way to be on the same side as where the insider action is coming in on. Something Joe Public will never know or be on.

Here is an example of what a reverse money play will look like: Team Betting Percentage Current Line Opening Line Chicago Bears 20% +5 +4 New York Giants 80% -5 -4

Whether you’re using public consensus data for NFL, NBA, MLB or European football (soccer), you can apply the similar knowledge or using public opinion and money flow data to your advantage. And for the NFL seasons, many NFL bettors and investors will find an additional advantage of online sportsbook shading to give even more value in this strategy as the online sportsbooks typically shade even further off the market consensus.