If the one were summing up the secret to my handicapping prowess succinctly, it would be two words: counterintuitive thinking. When the squares zig, the sharps zag. The public adores betting on overs and why not? As Scott Steehn, host of the Bank the Bet podcast on Winners and Whiners correctly stated, “Rooting for neither team to score is painful.”
Most importantly, it’s never under until it’s over—well the sporting event itself that is. In football, the final two minutes of a half or full contest can be savage to under bettors. The “prevent defense” is the bane of sharp gamblers. At any split-second of a low-scoring game, an 80-yard pass on a busted coverage or a pick six can be a calamity.
On the hardwood, bombing and fouling at the end of a bet are poison, exacerbated by the NBA giving a team the ball at half-court after a timeout. In MLB it’s never over…I mean under until the last out. Four-run, two-out ninth inning rallies generate sharp pain to sharps.
Inarguably the essential fundamental principle of gambling is that the odds are not a prediction on the outcome of the match, but rather a prognostication on what line or total will get equal action on each side. With the public predilection towards overs, for reasons explained above, the oddsmakers will often inflate the totals. When this ensues, odds sharks exploit.
Most, but certainly far from all of the foremost totals’ formulas boast the under. Never willingly pay “phycological juice.” Pro gamblers refuse. Unchallenged is the certitude that bomb-and-foul, ten points in the final 15 seconds of NBA game are among the most excruciating losses. Nevertheless, bad beats don’t cost more in the wallet. Never stake cash based on the benchmark on what option is more comfortable to root for.
That having been said, at one point in my career, I overbalanced. I wagered roughly 90 percent of my totals’ bets on below the posted over/under number. Fortuitously, my computer software and advanced analytics are slant-free. Elaboration on that nugget is for a forthcoming essay.
The author Joe Duffy is a Grandmaster Sports Handicapper and CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com. He is widely accepted as the top professional sports handicapper in the history of North American sports.