In-Game Sports Betting Strategy: A Veteran Sports Bettor’s Observations And Tips

The post In-Game Sports Betting Strategy: A Veteran Sports Bettor’s Observations And Tips appeared first on SportsHandle.

He’s a professional sports bettor and handicapper and a well-known name on Sports Betting Twitter. He appears as a guest on VSiN and on one of our favorite sports betting podcasts, Bang the Book. Reynolds is also a contributor to The Action Network and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (You can follow him @WesReynolds1).

Reynolds was generous with his time in a recent conversation with Sports Handle about in-game or live sports betting, which is popular in Europe and is becoming increasingly popular here in the U.S.

He offers insights here about in-game NFL betting with examples in baseball, too. We hope you enjoy and learn a thing or two. (This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.)

In-Play Sports Betting Strategy: Live Wagering on NFL, Baseball, Developing Good Habits and Beyond

Sports Handle (SH): All right, in-game wagering, something you’ve come to avoid or embrace?

Wes Reynolds (WR): I’ve really come to embrace it, and as time goes on probably will embrace it more because in terms of betting, especially with football and basketball where you are trying to beat the 11 to 10 (-110), it’s harder to do nowadays. There’s not as many line discrepancies.

But, the books don’t necessarily have the edge on the players anymore in terms of getting information. A wise veteran once told me, you don’t have to bet every game, but the books have to put a line on every game, and now you can bet in-game, too.

SH: Can you give an example using totals of a good approach to in-game betting?

WR: Say you’re looking at a game and think that ‘this total is too high even with two high-scoring teams playing’. Certain bettors are going to say, ‘Oh you got two high scoring teams. It’s going to be a shootout.’ So they’re going to immediately bet the over when the lines come out, and you’ve got sharper bettors who are going to try to take a position on that total, knowing that people are going to bet it.

You can bet it and come back on the other side, or wait for a play in-game. For example, let’s say it’s the Patriots and the Saints. The total’s at 56 or 57. Suppose both teams score on their first drive. So it’s 7-7, nine or ten minutes into the first quarter. Well, obviously that total is going to increase. Both these teams march down the field so now the in-game total might end up being 59.5 or 60 or something like that.

in-game sports betting high scoring totals strategy

In-game options gives you a chance to maybe narrow down your card and wait for better numbers after the game’s started, because usually it’s public bettors are doing live betting. They’re going to bet on what they’ve just seen, just like in pregame wagering they would what they’ve seen last week. When it’s 7-7 several minutes in the game, well they’re going to be like, ‘Aw man, I better get in on this over. This is going to soar way over.’ And maybe sometimes they’re right.

But other guys are looking to say, ‘Okay how can I get to the under here?’ Because people are going to bet that number up enough that some guys might not have been interested in the pregame number, but that may change after kickoff. I’m getting however many points more than the original number was on the game. So some of those guys too might even have a position on the game already and that gives them chance to work a middle.

SH: One thing you touched is that basically all the lines have tightened. Have you noticed with pricing on in-game wagering, is there more differentiation to potentially exploit, due to the speed of things?

WR: There’s a little bit of differentiation when you look sometimes. I’ll use baseball for example, maybe one shop will have an in-game total of 7.5 juiced to the over. And then another might have 8 with it juiced to the under. There’s a little bit of differentiation and they’re going on the action they’re getting, plus what the other [books] are doing. I think the sharp books on pregame or halftime-type wagering are also going to be the sharp books on in-game wagering. More often than not.

SH: What are some in-play football bets, generally speaking, you’ve found yourself gravitating toward?

WR: If I like an underdog, getting 7 for example, and then all of a sudden they go down 7 points. Maybe the other team started with the ball, or maybe the dog turned it over or there was defensive touchdown on the other side.

in-game nfl betting strategy online sports betting

Well I may not have taken the 7 pregame, but now I can take maybe 9.5  half or 10 on this team. Those are things I’m looking to do because you look to try to middle it, and you use that for little different edges and that’s the thing about betting nowadays is you’ve got a full menu. You’ve got live betting, you’ve got quarter wagering.

And the one I mentioned earlier when you have a total and the both teams score on their first drives where it’s like, ‘Oh man the defenses aren’t going to stop anybody.’ I’ve seen it so many times where it’s a high total and then it’s 7-7 right away, and then the scoring gradually will slow. Or it’ll be a real high score in the first half and then it’ll be 10-3 in the second half. Those are ones I like to bet.

SH: To what extent does coaching or the head coaches factor into this equation for you?

WR:  I think you have to look at that. And you have to look at the circumstances of the game, whether you’re watching live or you’re following it online or something. How did they score the touchdown? Did they march right down the field or did they get a 40- or 50 yard pass interference penalty to help them move out. You have to put all that stuff into context.

And that’s the thing is I wish I was more of a academic type math guy that some of these sports bettors are, who can deal with all these algorithms and probabilities, and I wish I was more like that, but I’m not. I’m more of an instinct guy and I look at the process. I don’t just look at the number ’cause I think it makes a very big difference if a team gets an 80 -yard drive and 30 or 40 yards of it are off some BS pass interference penalty, rather than, ‘Okay they’re just marching down the field gaining yards every play.’ Eight yard game here, then they run the ball for 5 yards. Fifteen yards pass over the middle.

SH: Do you have some general advice for newcomers to in-game/live betting?

WR: Don’t necessarily go off what you saw last because you’re going to be paying a premium anyway. They’re obviously baking that into the line. Maybe stick to limited amount of games. Focus on sides or totals and looking at what your opinion was; always write down what your opinions are on games.

Let’s take the NFL for example. Write down the opener on a sheet in notebook or if you want to type in a Excel spreadsheet, what was the opening line and what was the closer on Sunday? And take that into account when you’re doing in-play betting where it’s like, ‘Well this total opened 37.5 and now it’s closing at 41 on Sunday.’ So obviously they’ve had to have taken some action on the over.

And then now, if you have an in-play line that’s substantially higher than that, you’re looking to try to get line value. Keep mental notes and you can find winners when you see where these lines have opened and then were they’ve closed.

[Also See: 6 of the Most Common Beginner Sport Bettor Mistakes]

Because sportsbooks are going to use those as their guide in terms of what they’re going to offer on a live betting menu, in terms of overexposing themselves on a game if they’re really exposed on a side, or really exposed on a total. They’re either going to really trust their opinion or they’re going to want to get out and limit liability, which is more often than not. They want to limit liability as much as they can. So always keep that in mind.

SH: We talked about changes in the spread and totals in-game, based on circumstances early, a little bit on quarters. Do you go deeper on in-game opportunities and look at discrete drives or plays? Basically props in-play, for example, will Le’Veon Bell catch a pass on this drive?

WR: If you really have an edge then you should bet it. You’ve got to trust your instincts, but I got to tell you, I don’t have time to get into as many of those prop markets as I would like to. Obviously people do them for the Super Bowl because it’s the Super Bowl.

But you got a full menu in terms of betting and I think if you’re new to it you don’t want to get into these advanced things until you learn how the basic stuff works. We all have good runs and we all have terrible runs, where it’s like, ‘Man what am I not seeing, where you’re going with the traditional spread or over, under markets or moneylines. Do I need to maybe look at something different? Do I maybe need to look at the first quarter?’

SH: Sounds like you might have a bit more friendly advice.

WR: I think you also want to be unpredictable as a bettor… don’t be a guy necessarily that always thinks the sharp plays are always the dogs and the unders. More often than not would I say I play more dogs and unders than I do favorites and overs, but it’s not that big of a difference.

You want to be unpredictable where it’s like, I’m not always going to take that position in this situation. I’m not going to be just a certain type of player. And it’s the same thing with people that are favorite players. Don’t always play the favorites. You got to read between the lines. I think reading the market is so important. Do not necessarily listen to when people say, ‘Okay the wise guys are on these plays and the public are on these plays.’

Really look for yourself, look at the market, look and see if you’re getting a tell within the market and ask yourself a question. You can even do it out loud where it’s like, ‘Why do they have it at this number and this book has it at this number?’ And there’s any number of reasons it could be. Maybe a book caters to more public bettors and pumps the favorites or maybe they have a different exposure at book A versus what they will have at book B.

SH: To finish up, can you talk a bit more about market and line movement?

WR: There’s any number of reasons books move lines, so don’t just always look at the line move and assume it’s the bettors causing that line to move. Bookmakers can take down and put up lines whenever they want.

So sometimes it’s not a player’s action moving the lines, it’s a bookmaker that’s moving the line. And it could be totally artificial. That’s a thing too about reading the market that you always try to learn. It takes a lifetime to master I guess, to look and see, ‘Okay why did that line move? Did somebody really come in heavy on this side or are they just moving it to get out ahead of people?’

That’s in a way of what I do and that’s why I think the live betting provides a good thing. But a lot of it is timing. Go back to the example where the two teams score right away… some are going to bet the over but maybe I don’t want to go right away and bet the under. Maybe instead of betting that under at 59.5, all of the sudden they move that thing to 60. Now I want to bet it. I like it at this number but not at this number. It’s a waiting game — sometimes you’ll miss an opportunity and sometimes you’ll get an opportunity.

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What Happens to Betting Lines When Everyone Bets the Home Team?

The post NFL Betting Lines Conundrum: What Happens When Everyone Bets the Home Team? appeared first on SportsHandle.
One of the most compelling aspects of the rollout of national sports wagering on a state-by-state basis is the ability of each state to provide different marketplaces for individual bettors.
In its infancy, well before the internet and the significant offshore market, the bigger sports bettors in Nevada spent considerable time, effort and even money, through the use of runners, to get the best number for the games they wanted to bet.
A number of factors have homogenized the betting lines in Nevada over the last 15 years. Major casino companies began running many sportsbooks at locations all over the state. There’s the emergence of the offshore betting market, the advent of the internet and the ability to make bets online, and later the smartphone putting books right into the bettor’s palm. With legal sports betting expanding across the U.S., another evolution is due: What happens when home teams take a ton of action as other bettors stand ready to take advantage?
College Football and NFL Betting Lines Plot Twist: ‘Line Shading’ and Finding Opportunity in New Markets

John Taylor (82), Joe Montana (16) and Jerry Rice (80) in 1987.

Nevada sports bettors in earlier decades could always count on the differences between the Las Vegas and Reno lines in NFL games involving the Raiders and 49ers. Those two Northern California teams — with a long tradition of winning and covering the point spread in the 1980s and into the 1990s — meant you would have to lay more points in Northern Nevada than in Las Vegas. This practice, sometimes called “line shading,” still exists in Nevada, but not to the extent it did a few decades ago.
For example, the line in Las Vegas might have been Raiders -3 against the Broncos, while in Reno it might be shaded in the Raiders direction with the Silver and Black favored -4.5. The money line, for those wanting to wager without the point spread, was usually adjusted or shaded to make the two Northern California teams less attractive to bettors and their opponents a more appealing play.
When Nevada was the only place to make a legal bet on sports, bookmakers had to create their own lines without the help of today’s modern technology. In the 70s, 80s and into the 90s the overall handle was miniscule compared to today. The huge growth of sports betting handle in more recent years in the state meant bookmakers had to alter their primary skill set to adjusting an existing line, rather than establishing an opening number that could attract too much action on one side.
The danger was created when a poor opening line had to be significantly changed, creating a “middle” where a bettor who had jumped on an early number might be able to then wager on a later spread. If the game fell in the middle, both bets could be winners.
Now, Nevada linemakers are able to consider lines posted offshore that have been “bet into,” or taken a wave of money, often millions. Line movements responding to betting action rather than injuries or outside factors do occur, but not to the extent or degree they did in earlier years.
It’s hard in today’s marketplace to find different lines up and down The Strip, so the only way the smart bettors get a little edge is to look for different lines offshore, where high volume allows bookmakers to hold less, but take in more big bets.
Nevada books need a much larger hold in order to pay for all the overhead that offshore operators don’t have. Offshore books will move lines to get “take back,” which is bets on the other side, while corporate books usually are not looking to move numbers for fear of the dreaded middle.

Times have changed

legal nfl betting not as easy to exploit line changes
Variations in the marketplace can now be difficult to discover, so the emphasis has moved to a player seizing an opening or early line in which the bettor feels there’s a perceived edge, rather than looking for differences in numbers that have already been bet into. In more recent years, at least one major Nevada betting company, William Hill, with a major presence in northern Nevada, continues to offer some different betting lines in the north and the south to take best advantage of the differences in the two marketplaces.
However, look for the line differences to become more widely available and crucial once again in new sports betting states, such as New Jersey, where different sportsbook operators in different regions will be adjusting their lines with a definite lean to those fans in their area.
New sports bettors in the emerging U.S. markets will soon learn the value of getting the best number when the lose a wagers by a half point, commonly referred to as “the hook.”
With mobile apps taking on increasing importance in recent years, many major Nevada players have mobile accounts with different companies to take advantage of line differences, if possible. Some have even funded mobile accounts in person with sportsbooks in the north and the south so they can take advantage of line shading without having to journey to another part of the state. As long as they are “geo-located” in Nevada, they can bet with the outlet that gives them the line they want. Years ago, the smaller northern Nevada books even had phone accounts at the bigger Las Vegas books so they could lay off bets when wagers on the 49ers and Raiders created too much exposure to big losses.

Shading and Shopping Around: A Coming Example in the Northeast

The sports betting landscape in New Jersey and the whole Northeast Corridor is ripe for a resurgence of line shading as well as line shopping, as the various entities open up for sports betting. The lines for the New York teams will most certainly be shaded to take advantage of local fans that want to bet the local teams. However, in Atlantic City, much closer to Philadelphia, the teams from The City of Brotherly Love will have the betting lines shaded to take advantage of those fans.
Philadelphia Eagles fans may be better off betting their Super Bowl futures and win totals at the Meadowlands, near New York City, when it opens Saturday, rather than in Atlantic City. Likewise, Giants and Jets fans may get better numbers on the Boardwalk. And bettors who like the opponents of the New York Giants, New York Jets or Eagles? Go look for the lines in the hearts of those fan bases.
legal nfl betting in new jersey could make bookmaking interesting for bettors and oddsmakers
When phone and online betting opens soon in New Jersey and if you can, as expected, sign-up and fund mobile accounts without an in-person visit, serious bettors and, perhaps, the less serious, will likely open mobile accounts at every book possible and shop the lines to get the best number. Such shopping will be an important element and will make sports betting even more exciting that ever. After all, everyone loves a bargain, real or imagined.
Pennsylvania and New York will both (likely) enter the sports betting fray in the next 12 months. Serious players who live near the border of both states and near New Jersey are likely to have accounts in all three jurisdictions, so if the opportunity presents, they can make a short drive to access, via their mobile device, the number they like.
Whether they know it now or learn it later, bettors will soon realize how crucial getting the best number can be when it comes to fattening the wallet. Right now, with legal sports betting regimes still some time away in New York and Pennsylvania, residents will flood across the border to New Jersey to open accounts. You don’t have to be a state resident to bet in New Jersey, only physically located there to get down.
I can see cellular phone lots being built on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge (GWB) or at the Garden State entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel so players can park, bet and go home. Along the New Jersey border, savvy tavern and restaurant owners will cater to these players, too. The promotion-minded Meadowlands, when it opens, may even offer to reimburse bettors for the GWB toll, now $15.00, or Lincoln Tunnel toll, now $10.50 on weekends.
Look for the smarter players to shop their number and the less experienced ones to learn quickly. As always, learning what to do and what not to do will cost money.
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