What Is a Sharp in Sports Betting?

Do you wonder how some people always seem to win big when they bet on sports? Well, join the club!

Today, we’ll discuss what is a sharp in sports betting. Sharp bettors don’t depend on luck but use effective research, strategies, and foresight to find value in betting markets.

The following article explains how you can up your game by using effective strategies and tips to become sharp in the world of sports betting.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to find good bets based on how teams are doing and what the odds are.
  • Know where to look for odds that don’t match the real chance of happening.

Defining the Sharp Bettor 

Picture Sarah, a sharp bettor who loves watching football games. Even when everyone else places their wagers on the popular team, she notices a trend where the less-favored side of a game often surprises everyone by winning.

Sarah seizes this opportunity, placing smart bets on the underdog and wins big, all because she pays attention when others don’t.

When it comes to the sharp bettor definition — simply put, sharp bettors are smart about where they put their money in sports betting. They seek deals that others might miss and use statistical analysis to help them decide where and on what to bet.

After doing their due diligence, they place bets they’re really sure about, are also careful with their money, and don’t let emotions get in the way. Sharp bettors make informed decisions on how much to bet and tend to stick to their budget, so they don’t lose too much in the event things don’t go their way.

Characteristics of a Sharp Bettor 

When it pertains to how to become a sharp bettor in sports, you should note that they possess distinctive qualities that set them apart from the average bettor.

SBC Americas talked to three people who know a lot about sharp betting:

  • Captain Jack Andrews helped start Unabated, a website that helps bettors get better results.
  • Jake Benzaquen is one of the founders of Prophet Exchange, a betting site in New Jersey.
  • Alex Monahan co-founded OddsJam, a website that gives advice and tools to bettors who want help with their bets.

Here’s a list of 7 characteristics of a sharp bettor, according to the experts: 

  1. Discipline
  2. Patience
  3. Knowledge
  4. Dedication
  5. Money management
  6. Analytical thinking
  7. Thinking out of the box

Many folks talk about sports betting having two sides: the science and the art. Some folks have cracked the science part, but mastering the art is rare. The successful ones see it as a big puzzle to solve.

It’s not just about picking winners; it’s about finding where you can get the upper hand. Maybe you can’t beat the odds on the game itself, but you might find an advantage in a player prop bet.

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Sharp Bettor vs. Public Bettor 

In sports betting, there are two main types of bettors: squares and sharps.

Newcomers to sports betting might not be familiar with these terms yet, but that’s okay because we’re going to outline the contrasting differences between what is a square in sports betting and a sharp bettor in the table below.

Contrasting FeaturesSquareSharp Bettor
Type of BettorCasual bettor who bets for fun or entertainmentProfessional bettor with extensive experience
ResearchOften bets impulsively without much researchConducts thorough research and analysis before betting
Betting DecisionsBets based on instincts, biases, and emotionsMakes informed decisions based on data and analysis
Betting PreferencesTypically, favors favorites and oversSeeks value in betting lines and opportunities
Approach to BettingViews betting as a form of entertainmentTreats betting as “sharp investments” sports betting, and not just for fun
Goal in BettingAims for enjoyment and excitement in bettingAims for long-term profitability and success
Betting ConsistencyBet frequency and consistency may varyBets consistently and strategically

The Impact of Sharp Action on Betting Lines 

There’s a lot that goes into sharp action betting. Sharp bettors have a big influence on how bets are made. They can change the way betting works simply by affecting the betting lines.

Sharp bettors often bet large amounts of money. And because they’re so successful at winning bets, bookmakers keep a close eye on them. When sharp bettors put a lot of money on one side of a bet, it forces the bookmakers to react.

They might quickly change the betting line to balance things out, or they might do the opposite, which is called a reverse bet

This might seem strange, but bookmakers trust the judgment of sharp bettors. They want to follow their lead because they know sharp bettors have a good understanding of how to win bets.

It’s worth mentioning that sharps are also really good at analyzing games and managing their money wisely. Sharps are skilled at spotting good betting opportunities in the lines.

Examples of Sharp Betting Picks 

Sharp betting picks are choices made by experienced bettors. They study lots of information about teams, players, and betting trends. Instead of betting quickly, sharp picks are planned to increase the chances of winning. Sharp bettors focus on finding good opportunities where the odds are better than they should be.

So, sharp betting predictions are like secret weapons used by experienced bettors to win more often. Let’s take a look at how this would work in real-life bets:

Example 1:

  • Sport: Basketball
  • Teams: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors
  • Odds:
    • Lakers: -110
    • Warriors: +120
  • Betting Pick: Sharp bettors choose the Lakers to win at -110 odds because they believe they have a good chance based on past performances and statistics.
  • Outcome: The Lakers win the game, and sharp bettors who picked them also win money.

Example 2:

  • Sport: Soccer
  • Teams: Manchester United vs. Liverpool
  • Odds:
    • Manchester United: +150
    • Liverpool: -130
  • Betting Pick: Sharp bettors think Liverpool has a good chance to win at -130 odds because they’ve been playing well.
  • Outcome: Liverpool wins the game, and sharp bettors who picked them also win money.

Example 3: In 2004, Billy Walters, and a group of other famous sharp bettors won big in the Super Bowl. Here’s a breakdown of what happened: 

  • Sport: American Football
  • Teams: New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers
  • Odds:
    • Original Line: Panthers -12.5
    • Final Line: Panthers -3
  • Betting Pick: Sharp bettors identified value in the underdog New England Patriots, betting heavily on them. This moved the line significantly, from Panthers -12.5 to Panthers -3.
  • Outcome: The Patriots won the Super Bowl with a score of 32-29, covering the spread and rewarding the sharps who bet on them.

Example 4: Billy Walters does it again!

  • Sport: Baseball
  • Season: 2012 Major League Baseball
  • Focus: Player Prop Bets — Stolen Bases
  • The Exploit: Billy Walters noticed an inefficiency in sportsbooks’ lines for stolen bases, especially related to certain catchers who were allowing more stolen bases than the odds suggested.
  • The Strategy: Walters strategically placed heavy bets on the “over” for stolen baselines associated with these catchers.
  • Outcome: This approach was extremely profitable. Walters reportedly earned millions by exploiting this specific odds weakness throughout the season.

Strategies for Developing Sharp Betting Skills 

The following tips and strategies set sharp bettors apart from the rest. We’ll discuss each strategy and provide an example to help you understand how to implement them in real life to become a better bettor

  1. Avoid Guessing: When it comes to sports betting, it’s essential not to rely on guesswork. Instead of making random bets based on luck, use your judgment and research to make informed decisions.
    Example: You consider betting on a soccer match. Instead of randomly choosing a team to win, analyze factors like team form, player injuries, and head-to-head statistics to make a more educated bet.
  2. Stay Away from Greed: Greed can be a dangerous trait for sports bettors. If you try to recover lost money by placing risky bets, you’re likely to end up losing even more.
    Example: Imagine you’ve lost a few bets in a row and feel tempted to bet a large sum on a long shot to recoup your losses. However, this approach often leads to further losses. It’s crucial to avoid chasing losses and stick to a disciplined betting strategy.
  3. Know the Markets: Understanding the different betting markets available for each sport is key to making smart betting decisions.
    Example: In basketball, you can bet on the total points scored in a game or the performance of individual players. Knowing the similarities between these markets can help you diversify your bets and maximize your chances of success.
  4. Find the Best Prices: Before placing your bets, shop around for the best sports betting odds and prices. Line shopping, or comparing odds from different sportsbooks, can significantly impact your long-term profitability.
    Example: If you plan to bet on a basketball game, check multiple sportsbooks to find the best odds for your chosen outcome.
  5. Be Disciplined: Successful sports bettors exhibit discipline and focus in their approach. They stick to a simple betting plan and avoid distractions that could lead to losses.
    Example: If you have a budget for your betting activities, resist the temptation to exceed it, even if you’re on a winning streak.
  6. Set Limits: Setting limits on your bets is essential for responsible gambling. Never bet more than a small percentage of your bankroll on each trade to minimize the risk of significant losses.
    Example: If your bankroll is $100, limit your bets to $1 or $2 per trade to ensure you can sustain any potential losses without jeopardizing your overall finances.

Tools and Resources for Sharp Bettors 

Betting tools are critical for sharp bettors in sports betting:

  • Betting software helps with data and odds.
  • Online platforms give expert advice.
  • Statistical databases help with analyzing past performance.
  • Betting calculators are also handy tools that help bettors calculate potential winnings and make informed betting choices.

Here’s a list of tools and resources to help you become a sharp bettor:

Tool / ResourceDescription
Betting AppsApps like OddsChecker help compare odds and track games
Stat WebsitesStatista and Pro Football Reference sites provide stats on teams and players
ForumsPlatforms like Reddit’s r/sportsbetting enable chatting and tip sharing
Sports Analysis SitesESPN Stats & Info and Basketball Reference offer detailed sports analysis
Prediction SitesWebsites like FiveThirtyEight and CBS Sports provide betting predictions
Betting BlogsExperts share insights and sharp betting picks on their blogs
Betting CalculatorsTools for calculating bet sizes and probabilities
Mobile AppsMany sportsbooks offer mobile apps for convenient betting on the go
Social MediaFollowing experts on Twitter X provides updates and tips for betting enthusiasts

The Role of Sharp Bettors in the Sports Betting Ecosystem 

Public bettors often ask what a sharp bettor is. In sports betting, sharps are experts who help keep the market fair and balanced. They signal to others about good or bad bets, and sportsbooks pay attention to them because they’re usually right.

If many sharp bettors bet on one team, the sportsbook might change the odds to balance things out. They also find when bets are priced wrong and make money from them, ensuring a fair chance for everyone. 

Financial analysts say:

Sharp bettors can impact sportsbooks, winning more than losing, but they’re necessary to keep the betting world balanced. Despite costing sportsbooks money, they help them stay in business and ensure fairness for all.

Overall, sharp sports bettors make the betting world smarter and more reliable.

So, Feeling Sharp Tonight?

What’s the most important thing you learned from this? Taking direction from sharp bettors can help you make better bets.

You can apply this knowledge by incorporating strategies used by sharp bettors into your betting routine. Focus on thorough research, disciplined betting, and managing your bankroll wisely to improve your chances of success.

Want to learn more about advanced betting tips and strategies or explore the latest trends in online sports betting? Check out our Betting 101 section.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sharp handicapper?

A sharp, also known as a sharp bettor or sharp handicapper, is an experienced and highly knowledgeable sports bettor who consistently makes a profit. Sharps use advanced strategies and thorough analysis to place their wagers, often influencing line moves in the betting market.

How does sharp money affect the betting lines?

Sharp money refers to the bets placed by sharp sports bettors. When sharps are betting on a particular side, sportsbooks often adjust the betting lines to balance their risk. This line move reflects the influence of sharp money and can indicate where the smart money is going.

What strategies do sharps use to make a profit?

Sharps employ various strategies, including detailed statistical analysis, understanding team dynamics, and identifying value in the odds. They often bet on underdogs or less popular games where they find an edge. Sharps avoid public favorites and look for situations where the odds are in their favor to maximize their profit.

Can casual bettors follow sharp picks to win more often?

Yes, casual bettors can follow sharp picks, often referred to as free picks, to improve their chances of winning. However, it’s important to do additional research and not blindly follow these picks. Comprehending why sharps are betting a certain way can help beginners make more informed wagers.

How do I identify where sharps are betting?

To identify where sharps are betting, look for significant line moves or check betting reports that highlight sharp money action. Following reputable sources that track sharp money can also provide insights. Additionally, observing the betting patterns and volume can indicate where the sharp money is going, helping you place more strategic bets.