Trust the Market, Not Your Instincts

One of the biggest misconceptions about sports betting is that you need to be an expert at every sport you bet. You need to understand the betting markets of the sports you’re wagering and while sports knowledge helps – it’s certainly not a requirement to be a winning sports bettor.

The Market WinsTrust the betting Market, Not Your Instincts

One of the biggest reasons I stress line shopping so much is because beating the closing line at a top sportsbook is a winning strategy, in itself, when it comes to becoming a profitable sports bettor. This isn’t always easy or even possible in many cases, but it should be the goal for every wager that you make.

What do I mean by top sportsbook? Well, the sharpest sportsbook in the world (it’s been this way for more than a decade) is Pinnacle Sports. They offer reduced juice and take considerably larger wagers than most other sportsbooks.

If you can beat Pinnacle’s closing line, you’ve done your job as a sports bettor. The sportsbook isn’t available for American residents, but their odds can be viewed from many other sites, such as SBR Odds. is another site to watch when it comes to closing lines. They’re easily the sharpest site available for American sports bettors. They may even be sharper than Pinnacle in some markets, such as NHL hockey.

In almost all cases, if you beat the closing line at Pinnacle or Bookmaker – you’ve gotten yourself a +EV bet.

Should I Bet Against the Market?

Long term, it’s certainly a losing strategy. The goal is beat the best prices available, not go against major market moves. This is especially true when it comes to the main numbers in sports, such as point spread betting surrounding the 3 and 7 in NFL football.

This isn’t to say that it’s always the wrong move. In extremely rare instances, it can make sense to go against the market if you have a valid reason to do so. If you happen to get some inside information (almost never happens) or you have statistical backing via a betting model that has proven to have value – a case can be made for it.

Of course, those two above scenarios are almost never the case for the everyday sports bettor. In fact, the clear majority of sports bettors lose, which means they don’t even consider stuff like beating the closing line at a sharp book or line shopping.

Instead, they mostly rely on their betting “instincts,” sports knowledge, or statistical analysis that is already factored into betting markets. All of these things don’t have a ton of value.

The Sharpest Bettors and Sportsbooks Are Smarter Than You

Yes, it’s that simple. Trusting your instincts may work for you in other areas of your life, but not when it comes to betting sports. It can seem counter-intuitive in practice, particularly, if you’re knowledgeable about the sport you’re betting – but, it’s easily the right move.

Markets sharpen over time. The sharpest line is always the closing line. Your goal as a sports bettor should be to beat the closing line at the sharpest bookmakers by line shopping and targeting recreational sportsbooks.

About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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