How to Fade the Public – Strategies for Betting Against the Public

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One of the more tried and true sports-betting strategies is to fade the public, empowering your investments with a built-in advantage. The idea is to identify opportunities to bet against a rising tide of public opinion.

We cover the basic mechanics of betting against the public and how to make fading the public work for you, the most effective tools to use and how to find the big games with the best chances to employ this plan.

how to fade the public
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Fading the Public Betting Strategies and Tips

So, what does a fade mean in betting? Simply put, it’s finding value bets based on where public or amateur money is going. Among the leading strategies for fading the public are considering early money, late money and big, popular games.

It’s important to consider the tools available to become more methodical and disciplined with your sports wagers.

When betting against the public with early money, you’re watching what the “sharps,” or professional sports bettors, are doing; with late money, you’re looking for a significant line movement that could involve injuries or lineup changes and with a popular game, you’re looking at what the vast majority of the public (amateur bettors) is looking to bet.

Bet with the Early Money

The strategy here is simply to monitor what the sharps are doing. It’s all about knowing when the bookmakers release their opening lines and then determining where the sharp players are putting their money. Since most sharps win at a rate of better than 51%, the odds are immediately in your favor.

There are several destinations to track the early money, such as pregame.com and Action Network, so you can be informed on how much money has been bet on a given side, and how many tickets (or betting slips) were issued.

Once you are comfortable with the bookmakers’ rhythm in releasing the opening lines, you can find the trends that include where the early money is going.

Bet Against The Late Money

Knowing where to find public betting percentages, you’ve made a play that used sharp money to dictate your early bet; you now can monitor games as they near their start times and look for a discrepancy in total bets and total money bet.

If a pro football total moved from 44 to 47 points during the hours before kickoff, you should examine the total bets/total money markets.

If you see more than 80% of the bets on the “over,” but only a 55-60% of the total money bet on the “over,” you can safely conclude the total is inflated.

The math is simple here: 20% of the bets are on the “under,” but 40-45% of the money is on the “under.” That’s sharp money we’re talking about, since the amateur bettor, largely responsible for the 80% of the “over” tickets, will be wagering lower amounts.

Bet the “under” at 47 and enjoy the 2.5 to 3-point cushion.

Fade Popular Teams in Big Games

This one is perhaps the easiest to understand.

The teams that generally attract the biggest TV ratings are targeted by the casual sports-betting fan, creating value on that team’s opponent.

If the Dallas Cowboys are favored by seven points in one game and the Jacksonville Jaguars are favored by seven points in another, you very likely will find the public will overbet the very popular Cowboys.

So, yes, it’s time to do some fade the public betting.

Example of Betting against the Public

We’ll take two NBA games as examples.

From pregame.com, we find these opportunities:

The total in the Knicks-Nuggets game is 208.5 after opening at 210. There are 87% of the betting tickets on the over, while only 62% of the money. That means 38% of the money is on the under with only 13% of the tickets. The right side, if we opt to fade the public, is the “under.”

The total in the Suns-Hawks game provides a similar example, with 87% of the tickets on the under 225.5 but only 53% of the money. Here is a great opportunity, given the sharps likely bet the opening total “under” 228.5 but are now hitting the “over” at 225.5.

Betting Markets to Bet Against the Public

The traditional markets, moneyline, spread betting and totals and spread betting, are the primary areas to bet against the public.

Moneyline

Moneyline betting odds move based on how bettors react to the opening line and any updates in the hours and days leading up to the game.

A team at -130 could see its price move to -170, providing an opportunity to check the number of bets and the total dollars wagered to see whether there’s an opportunity to fade the public.

Points spread

The chance to capitalize on fading the public can be seized when the lines move enough to create an advantage.

When watching the movement of the spread, a potential bet should be evaluated by finding out where the sharp money lands.

If the betting tickets heavily favor one side but the amount of total money doesn’t match that play, another opportunity could be waiting.

Points Total

Following the opening points total up until nearly game time can prove useful. The public generally bets the over more frequently, which already opens the door for fading that money.

If the total for an NBA game is set at 230 points but moves up to 234 or more, check the total number of bets vs. the total money wagered.

If, say, 75% of the bets placed are on the over but only 30% of the money lands on the over, the indication is that the bigger players – the smart money people – are 70% on the under.

That’s a large discrepancy and would trigger a bet on the under.

When Not to Fade the Public

Bettors will sometimes overreact to a trend and jump on board. But, beware, a line can become falsely inflated if betting syndicates – or one major player – is trying to manipulate the betting lines.

A six-figure bet can influence a sportsbook’s number, moving a 6-point favorite up to 7 or 7.5 right away. The public might not be checking the statistics on total bets vs. total money wagered.

If the smart money is pushing the line, then it doesn’t make sense to fade the public.

If the big money is moving in step with the majority of the tickets, though, you might find the opportunity is there to bet the other way.

Be sure you’re always monitoring betting volume as well as the number of betting tickets on a particular side.

When a Fade Isn’t a Fade

When preparing your facts and figures and coming up with a researched, stats-backed conclusion, you shouldn’t have any concern with whether you’re fading the public.

It’s not important to include the public betting trends if you’re confident in a particular game’s betting plan.

Conclusion

Preparation and patience remain a big part of your betting foundation.

Part of that process, though, should always include monitoring in real time the amounts of money bet, the number of bets placed, and the available prices at the best online sportsbooks.

Don’t try to make fade the public betting part of every bet; rather use this angle to gain an advantage when the facts and trends indicate it’s time to jump in.

Check the very latest information on injuries and player participation before making your investment.

FAQs

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References

Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert
Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert

Jay is a Sports Betting Writer at Techopedia.com, and has been working in US sports for more than 20 years. He's worked for Daily Racing Form, the Arizona Republic, The Athletic and FanDuel among other sports and gambling positions.