What Is a Square in Sports Betting?

Have you ever heard someone ask, What is a square in sports betting? Many bettors hear it but don’t know what it means, and it can have a big impact on your betting success.

A square bettor is also referred to as a casual or novice gambler. We’ll cover what makes someone a casual punter and how this affects their betting choices.

By understanding this term, you’ll be able to avoid common betting pitfalls. This could be the difference between losing and winning more often.

Curious to learn how to make smarter bets? Let’s dive in to find out what a square is, and how it can change your approach to sports betting.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Discover all the secrets to become a savvy square bettor.
  • Use our mentioned sports analytics websites, podcasts, and odds comparison tools to make more informed and profitable betting decisions.

Definition of Square in Sports Betting 

A square bettor is gambling without much strategy or research, usually making predictable choices based on popular trends or personal feelings.

Here are some common traits of a novice gambler’s behavior:

  • Bets on Popular Teams: They usually choose teams or players that are well-known, regularly without digging into the details.
  • Research Is Not a Priority: They don’t spend much time learning about injuries, weather, or other things that could change the game’s outcome.
  • Follow Emotions: They might bet because they like a team or want them to win, not because it makes sense statistically.
  • Likes Big Favorites: Square bettors tend to bet on teams that are heavily favored to win, even when it’s not the best value.
  • Easy to Predict: Their choices often follow what everyone else is doing, making it easier for more experienced gamblers to take advantage of their patterns.

During an interview with Gill Alexander, sports betting analyst, he shared:

A square bettor is someone who bets with their heart, not their head. They tend to follow the herd mentality and bet on the popular teams or the biggest favorites, regardless of the odds.

From ESPN Radio — Sports Betting Podcast

Characteristics of Square Bettors 

The following table outlines the behaviors, betting patterns, and mindset behind casual square bettors, based on expert analysis. 

CategoryBehavior/PatternDescription
Betting PatternsMoneyline Bets on FavoritesBets on heavily favored teams to win, usualy for small payouts.
Parlays with Popular PicksCombines several bets in a parlay for higher risk but potentially bigger payouts.
Prop Bets Based on EmotionChooses proposition bets based on emotional attachment to players or teams.
MindsetBetting for EntertainmentSees betting as a fun way to enjoy a game. Winning is a bonus.
Belief in “Luck”Relies on luck or a gut feeling, not analysis or stats.
Misconception of ValueDoesn’t understand the idea of getting the best value. Focuses on just winning.
Confirmation BiasRemembers the wins but ignores the losses, reinforcing faulty betting habits.

Kelly Stewart, Sports Betting Analyst and Author:

There’s nothing wrong with square sports betting if you’re aware of it. The key is to understand that entertainment and winning are two different things.

If you want to win consistently, you have to be willing to put in the work and learn the game.

Square vs. Sharp Betting

Sports betting has two main types of bettors: squares and sharps. By now, you should have an idea of what a sharp is in sports betting.

So let’s focus on sharp vs. square betting. Sharps are also referred to as professional, experienced, or informed punters. Both aim to win, but their approaches are completely unique.

Square Bettors

  • Focus: They view betting as fun, with winnings as a bonus.
  • Research: They don’t dig deep, routinely relying on basic info, media hype, or team loyalty.
  • Betting Patterns: They tend to bet on favorites or combine multiple bets (parlays) for higher payouts. They might also place prop bets based on emotions.
  • Mindset: They rely on luck or gut feelings and might not understand value betting. They often remember their wins and forget their losses.

Sharp Bettors

  • Focus: They are more profit-oriented, focusing on long-term gains.
  • Research: They conduct extensive research, analyzing stats, injuries, and trends.
  • Betting Patterns: They look for value bets with favorable odds, typically making single bets rather than parlays.
  • Mindset: They rely on data and analysis, and they track their performance to refine their strategies. They seek out market inefficiencies to exploit.

Strategic Differences: Squares vs. Sharps

  • Information is Power: Sharps gather and analyze a lot of information, while casual punters primarily rely on easily accessible info or emotions to decide.
  • Value vs. Winning: Sharps look for bets with good value, even if it means betting on underdogs. Novice gamblers focus on winning, even if it means a smaller payout.
  • Discipline vs. Impulse: Sharps stick to a disciplined plan and avoid impulsive bets. Squares might be swayed by emotions or excitement.
  • Long-Term vs. Short-Term: Sharps aim for long-term success and building a bankroll. Squares often look for quick wins and short-term results.

Impact on the Betting Market 

In sports betting, squares and sharps play different roles in how odds are set. Casual bettors, who are most people, often bet on popular teams, creating a demand for certain bets.

When lots of squares bet on one team, sportsbooks may change the odds to even out the bets, and keep their profits safe. 

For example: If many novice gamblers bet on the New York Yankees, sportsbooks might make them slight underdogs to encourage more bets on the other team.

Sharps are experienced punters who look for good value. They study the data to find mistakes in the odds. When sharps find these mistakes and bet on them, sportsbooks notice and quickly change the odds.

The interaction between squares and sharps makes sports gambling interesting. The movement of the lines creates chances for informed bettors to win. Sportsbooks use advanced software to set the odds, considering public opinion and other factors like injuries.

Chris Roe, Market Analyst for Betting Company:

The ideal scenario is a healthy mix of squares and sharps. Squares bring volume, and sharps keep us honest. When sharps identify an undervalued bet and start placing money on it, we know we need to adjust the line accordingly.

This ensures a fair market and prevents us from getting burned too badly.

Industry Conference Panel Discussion featuring Chris Roe

The Role of Square Betting in Sports Betting

Learn how betting on popular teams affects sports odds, balancing bets to make sure the house wins.

Why Sportsbooks Cater to Squares

The following table explains the economic and strategic reasons why sportsbooks target square bettors:

CategoryReasonDescription
Economic BenefitsPredictable ProfitsSquares bet on favorites, letting sportsbooks set lines for consistent profits and adjust underdog odds for balance.
High VolumeCasual gamblers form a large percentage of bettors, providing steady revenue and allowing sportsbooks to plan income.
Strategic AdvantagesCustomer AcquisitionSquares are easier to attract with marketing campaigns and bonuses, helping sportsbooks grow their customer base.
Brand LoyaltyUser-friendly platforms and various betting options encourage novice punters to return, creating recurring revenue.
Data CollectionSportsbooks gather data on squares’ betting patterns to refine odds and develop targeted marketing.
NotesAnalogyCasual punters are like regular customers in retail, providing consistent revenue even if they don’t bring in high profits.
Sharps and RegulationSharps spot odds inefficiencies, keeping sportsbooks honest. Sportsbooks also emphasize responsible gambling.
SummaryOverall ImportanceSquares are crucial for providing consistent revenue and enabling sportsbooks to operate profitably and strategically.

Picture this: You placed a bet on an online sportsbook.

The whole process was easy—quick deposit, lots of betting options, and a fast payout when you won. Because of this, you’re likely to use the same sportsbook again.

That’s what sportsbooks hope for with square bettors. If they make the betting experience smooth and simple, people keep coming back, giving them a steady income. This is how sportsbooks use customer satisfaction to stay successful in the long run.

According to The Washington Post, square bettors make up over 90% of gamblers, meaning experienced punters make up under 10% of the betting population. 

Using Square Tendencies to Your Advantage 

Here are personal insights into how these 5 tips have improved my overall betting experience as a Square:

1. Finding Square Trends

I noticed that square bettors normally follow popular teams, big favorites, or well-known players. By keeping an eye on this, I started to see when the public was too focused on one outcome. When this happened, I’d think about betting against them, which often gave me better odds. This simple change helped me make smarter bets.

2. Watching for Line Changes

Before I placed bets, I began to watch how the betting lines moved as the game got closer. If the lines suddenly shifted toward the underdog, it was usually a sign that experienced bettors (sharps) saw something. By following these movements, I found more chances to bet on underdogs and win.

3. Checking Public Betting Percentages

Some sportsbooks show what percentage of people are betting on each side. I started using this to see where the public was putting their money. If everyone was betting on one side, it usually meant that the odds were inflated, giving me a chance to find value on the other side. This strategy helped me avoid bad bets.

4. Focusing on Value, Not Popularity

I stopped betting just because a team was popular or had big-name players. Instead, I began looking at the stats, checking injury reports, and analyzing the matchups. This approach led me to find underdogs with a good chance of winning, even if the odds didn’t show it.

5. Not Being Contrarian Just to Be Different

At first, I was tempted to bet against the public just because it seemed smart. But I learned that’s not always the best idea. Instead, I started basing my bets on research and understanding the game, not just being different for the sake of it. This shift helped me make more consistent and logical betting choices.

How to Move from Square to Sharp Betting

To go from square to sharp betting, be it a baseball or football betting square, you need to learn how sports betting odds work, watch line movements, and spot value in underdogs. Here’s how.

Developing a Bettor’s Mindset 

To go from square to sharp betting, focus on these five simple steps:

  1. Do Your Homework: Stop trusting your gut and start checking stats, injury reports, and even weather forecasts. Use reliable sports websites for your research, like Trustnbet.com.
  2. Question the Hype: Don’t just follow what the media or experts say. Think about their reasons. Are they using real facts or just trying to create buzz?
  3. Choose Value Over Popularity: Popular teams don’t always win. Look for times when the odds seem off. This can lead to better bets.
  4. Learn from the Pros: Read books and articles by top sports analysts. Listen to podcasts and interviews with experienced bettors to learn their tips and tricks.
  5. Track Your Bets: Keep a record of all your bets, including why you made them and what happened. This helps you see where you’re doing well and where you need to improve.

Expert Advice: Legendary sports handicapper John “The Greek” Pappas emphasizes the importance of patience:

Don’t expect to get rich quick. Consistent research, discipline, and a long-term approach are the keys to becoming a sharp bettor.

Tools and Resources for Advanced Betting 

CategoryDescription
Sports Analytics WebsitesSites like ESPN Stats & Info and Sports Reference offer stats on teams, players, and trends.
Advanced Betting MetricsMetrics like Expected Goals (xG) in soccer or Win Probability Added (WPA) in baseball give deeper insights into performance.
Subscription ServicesPremium content with detailed analysis, injury reports, and algorithmic betting picks, to be used with caution.
Podcasts & Betting ShowsShows like Beat the Book and The Betting Guys offer insights from experienced handicappers.
Betting NewslettersProvide insights and betting picks from reputable analysts based on research.
Following Experts on Social MediaFollow sports analysts and handicappers on platforms like Twitter to access their insights and discussions.
Odds Comparison WebsitesTools like Odds Shark allow you to compare odds from different sportsbooks for the best value.
Line Tracking ToolsServices like VegasInsider track historical line movements, helping you spot sharp money influencing odds.
Betting CalculatorsOnline calculators and betting tools to assess potential payouts and understand the implied probability of the offered odds.

And You? Do You Feel Like You Are a Square?

This guide helps you understand the differences between square and sharp bettors, showing how to bet smarter and more strategically.

Use this information to improve your gambling strategy. Focus on research and analyze your bets. Start tracking your wagers to avoid common mistakes that square bettors make.

Interested in learning more about successful sports wagering and how it can affect your betting? Check out our Betting 101 section.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a Super Bowl square work in sports betting?

A Super Bowl square is a popular form of betting during the NFL’s championship game. Participants buy squares in a 10×10 grid, each square corresponding to the potential last digits of the scores at the end of each quarter. It’s a game of chance rather than skill, making it appealing to both seasoned sports bettors and casual fans.

What strategies can help a square improve in sports betting?

To move beyond being a square, a sports bettor should focus on handicapping games effectively. This involves analyzing stats, trends, and other data rather than following the crowd.

Understanding key concepts in college football, NFL, and other sports, and learning about no-limit moneylines (NLM) can also enhance betting strategies.

How does being a square impact betting on college football and the NFL?

Squares tend to bet on well-known teams with strong public support, which can often lead to suboptimal betting decisions. In college football and the NFL, betting lines can be influenced by the volume of square money. Sharp bettors, or those who employ more sophisticated methods, can exploit these lines for better value bets.