Bet Early to Avoid Disappointment

July 20th, 2007

The Inside Word from Pinnacle Sports Book

by Locke

One simple tactic can improve the results of the majority of bettors but amazingly, only a small portion of players take advantage of it at the Pinnacle Sports book.

That betting strategy is to bet early.

Overnight lines are the betting world’s gift to players, allowing them to get good numbers across the board. It even helps you pick better sides!

Once you experiment with betting overnight, it will quickly become clear that it offers you better value. I’m here to explain why, and how best to take advantage of that opportunity.

What moves the odds? Money! When money talks, sportsbooks listen. Books seek to get two-way action, with roughly equal money on both sides. If the current odds fail to produce that, then the book will increase the price to bet on the team everyone likes and make the unpopular team cheaper. Sometimes the market also moves as the result of a new development, such as an unexpected lineup or an injury report, but most moves come from the bettors. Moves can happen quickly due to large bets from big players or gambling syndicates (also known as steam moves), and they can come gradually as the public weighs in on the game.

As a bettor, you need to decide when to bet in addition to what to bet on and how much to risk. As an aspiring sharp bettor, you doubtless have good reasons for liking the team you want to back, and by placing a bet, you’ve concluded that the team has value at the current price. Whatever reasons you might have, chances are that other people share those same opinions. They will bet on the same team, and together you will often make the price to bet your team more expensive. Even instinctive handicappers will tend to pick up on the same things that other instinctive handicappers do.

If the closing line for the game is the market’s best guess as to what the fair price is, you’re more likely to see value in those teams that are currently cheaper than what their closing price will be, while you’ll be less likely to find teams priced higher than their closing price attractive. Thus not only are the teams you like going to get more expensive over time, but the ones that will get cheaper are exactly the ones you’re most likely to avoid due to the price! The earlier you bet, the more value you are likely to find. This extra value can turn losing players into break even players and turn break even players into winners.

That said, there are three good reasons not to use overnight lines. The first reason is that overnight it is harder to shop around for the best price because many books have not yet posted their odds. If your only outs are at books that charge full commission or ‘juice’ for wagering and you must lay -110 to bet (wager $110 to win $100) then this is a strong reason to wait, you should only bet early when you feel your edge is large.

However, in baseball many books offer a ‘dime’ line, and if you use Pinnacle Sports you pay only -105 to wager, even on totals and Runlines. For moneylines in MLB, the Pinnacle Sports book offers the best value, using a -104 line set all the way to -188. Baseball is almost impossible to beat without access to at least a dime line and ideally you should keep multiple dime lines available to shop around for the best price.

The second reason you might skip overnight lines is size. The overnight limits are smaller because books know that their lines frequently offer value and their volume will come closer to the start of the game; some books don’t offer overnight lines at all to protect themselves.

Most bettors are not big enough for this to be an issue on major sports. The Pinnacle Sports book lets you bet $10,000 on MLB moneylines overnight and $5,000 on runlines and totals. That is enough for all but an elite few, but even the $500 overnight limits at most sportsbooks are enough for the majority of customers.

The third reason you might skip the overnights is timing. Most bettors don’t want to plan that far in advance, preferring to see the results of today’s games, collect other information and do more handicapping. Others simply want to concentrate on watching games and relaxing once the games begin, and don’t want to be distracted with thoughts of tomorrow. If you’re a casual bettor trying to maximize the value of your bankroll, make sure overnight betting agrees with you. As you get more serious about your betting, it will become more important to get the best value.

Unless you are predicting that your team is likely to get cheaper, line shopping the next day is rarely as valuable as the overnight lines. Thus, all serious players should bet overnight to maximize their advantages.

We like it when players bet overnight for the same reason: You get value, but we get to sharpen our line. In an earlier column, we referred to the sharp overnight bettors as the “Hundred Dollar Geniuses” and this label fits many overnight players. The secret is that you don’t have to be a genius to be an overnight winner, just a solid bettor.

When you focus in on a game and give it your full attention, you’re paying more attention to it than anyone at a sportsbook can afford to pay on that one game. Out-thinking the market is far more difficult than out-thinking a soft early number. Why bet into a sharp line when you can bet into a soft one?

A final note is that many players seem to want the opposite, and this can be baffling. Often we’ll see players wait until we raise our limits, then bet an amount far less than the old limit. Our best guess is that these bettors want to know they’re getting a fair price and not get tricked or feel foolish. They want a solid line.

But why would you want to make it as hard as possible to find value? That circled game doesn’t mean the book is setting a trap – it means the book is afraid that if you bet into the game, you’ll be a winner.

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Entry Filed under: Betting Tutorial,Sports Betting

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