Online Sportsbook Bet Cancellation
One of the more common scenarios that players need to deal with, even with reputable and established sportsbooks is when a sportsbook voids or cancels a wager. Those who have been betting online for a number of years have almost inevitably experienced a bet being voided after it was placed.
For a sportsbook to void a wager after the betting software allows players to wager successfully on it takes some special circumstances, but it’s not all too uncommon. There are several reasons why a sportsbook may void a wager after the fact or shortly before game time after the wager is accepted through their betting software.
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Online Sportsbook Price Error
Some sportsbook managers may act as if it’s a slippery slope when it comes pricing errors and slow line movement. In reality, it’s almost always obvious when a sportsbook simply has a mistake in their lines versus when they are too slow to move their odds after a market move.
NFL point spread market as an example
Say the New England Patriots are favored at home over the visiting New York Jets. If we look at a table of sportsbooks odds across the industry, we see most sportsbooks with varying spreads between 3.5 and 4.5 points with the Patriots as the favorites. At our particular sportsbook, however, the Jets, rather than the Patriots are favored. The line for the game is New York -4 and Patriots +4. They’ve accidentally installed the Jets as the favorite and the Patriots as the underdog. This is what would call an obvious pricing mistake and a line error.
With the rest of the market giving us a clear picture of the game, we can easily say without question that the sportsbook has made an error. The oddsmakers posting this line would have every right to void wagers being placed on the Patriots. Mistakes in this the lines aren’t generally as egregious as this one. However, the best barometer for figuring out if the sportsbook made an error with their odds or are merely slow to move on a line is to look at the rest of the market. For instance, using our above example we noticed a line move from New England -4 to -1 across several top sportsbooks. It turns out that the Patriots quarterback has been ruled out with an injury that caused the change in odds.
Fast Moving Betting Market
The market is moving drastically and for good reason, the starting quarterback on one of the teams has been ruled out. In this instance, if we grabbed the Jets at +4 at a sportsbook that was slow to move, we would be beating the oddsmakers to the punch and not taking advantage of a mistake in the odds. When a sportsbook is slow to move their lines, bettors often say that they were “asleep at the wheel.” There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of slow moving lines. In fact, this is one of the best ways to make a lot of money betting sports. Although, it’s quite different when you notice a mistake and choose to place a bet on the market that is significantly off from other sportsbooks.
Should Players Bet Mistakes In The Odds?
It’s not advisable and certainly not for glaring mistakes. Like we mentioned above, taking advantage of late-breaking news or betting steam plays isn’t something that sportsbooks want their players doing, but it’s not an unfair advantage. If you’re only patrolling sportsbooks for mistakes in their odds, it’s likely that your time at the particular book will be extremely short. There’s a decent chance they might not catch the mistake depending on how popular the market is, but there are issues if the bet is graded as a winner and they don’t notice it.
In our 5Dimes review, we cover a dispute that a player had with the well-known and reputable sportsbook. He was paid incorrectly on a wager that was supposed to pay out 70/1, but instead created his account at 7000/1. Despite asking management multiple times if the payout for his bet was correct and 5Dimes support telling him that it was, in fact, the right amount, the player had his balance confiscated at a later date and was asked (and threatened) by management to pay back the full amount he won. The player did keep his previous winnings that he cashed out but lost the $10,000 or so he had his account.
In spite of being one of the best sportsbooks in the US market, 5Dimes did not handle this situation appropriately. One can only imagine how a less than reputable sportsbooks would deal with bettors in this situation.
Error In Lines – Sportsbook’s Responsibility
Sportsbooks should simply deduct the amount won from a player’s balance when they profit from an error in the lines or a faulty payout. However, as you can see with the situation at 5Dimes, that isn’t always the case. Bettors won’t likely get away with betting an obvious mistake in the lines. It will at the least draw attention to your account if it is discovered by management when they void the wager. There’s always the chance the bet goes unnoticed initially but is spotted by management when you run up a balance or request a withdrawal.
Ultimately, betting mistakes in the line can put all your earnings at risk. Bettors may even get a small credit or bonus if they alert the sportsbook to a mistake in their odds through email or live chat, which is certainly a better option than trying to bet the mistake in the odds. There are plenty of ways to win at sports betting that don’t involve looking for glaring errors in the lines.