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by Bryan Leonard - 08/23/2011
There is no magic in Las Vegas when it comes to identifying soft numbers and winning edges. The key is finding information. There are all kinds of information that pop up during the week for any particular sporting event, such as injuries, weather, coaching changes, revenge situations, or a quarterback change.
Even a team getting delayed to a game is something handicappers would look at very carefully. Many times during the basketball season a storm or problems with a plane being delayed at an airport will happen, causing a team to show up to the stadium with no sleep or only a few hours before game time.
This can seem like a simple annoyance to the casual sports fan, or even a joke. But to serious sports handicappers it can mean so much more: Is the team completely thrown off its schedule? Are they exhausted from the travelling episode? Did the team miss valuable practice time? All of this is gold if you are attacking betting lines each week in an effort to make a profit.
What’s great about technology is that there are so many ways to get potentially valuable information like this. There are newspapers online, satellite feeds, ESPN, radio updates and interviews, Facebook and Twitter accounts of teams and individual players and coaches.
I thought of this with the fallout from the Miami Hurricane football scandal this week. I had heard via Twitter that there was a scandal unfolding a few days before the news broke nationwide. Now, I wasn’t able to cash in on a betting line as the season hasn’t started. However, had there been a game this week it could have influenced and moved the Vegas line.
This offers opportunities to get out in front of the number, getting a game at, say 6-points and then a few days later if might move to 2½. All of which means you not only could get a great number, but you always would have ample opportunities to buy it back and try for a middle. A middle is betting both sides of the same game at significant line differential, like 6 and 2½, allowing a bettor to cash both tickets with no risk outside of the 10% juice.
With the case of the Miami Hurricanes, you could also look at future bets for this season. If you find out a program is going to be losing players via suspension because of a scandal, you get jump on the future wins to get the best number before the rest of the country hears about it. This would apply to Ohio State earlier this season, too. The Buckeyes were considered a Top 5 team with all their returning talent. However, they since have lost 5 starters for the first five games of the season, their starting quarterback left the program (a four-year senior starter, Terrelle Pryor) and their head coach. Ohio State slid from a potential national champion to around 25-to-1 odds, a huge drop. Staying ahead of the game via information from so many sources if vital.
I have signed up on Twitter to follow the beat writers for each and every team, checking daily for any substantial tidbits, such as a coach working his players extra hard in practice after a poor performance, or players talking about how focused they are to get revenge on an upcoming opponent. You can join me in following my lists on Twitter @BLeonardSports.
This can be significant in two ways. First, if Michigan is playing state rival Michigan State and reports like that come out, it makes me realize how focused the Wolverines are for Saturday’s game. Second, it could also identify a “sandwich spot” for a team. If the Wolverines were focused on playing Michigan State TWO WEEKS DOWN THE ROAD and they have a non-conference game this week, it might tell me that Michigan is less focused for this week’s game, providing a potential look-ahead or sandwich situation, to go-against Michigan this week. All of this revolves around the information AND how you interpret it.
But first you have to gather all that data and that means being tuned in to events in the sports world on a minute by minute basis. That’s because betting numbers change day to day and minute to minute. And the best way to anticipate line movement is by being ahead of the curve to get ahead at the betting window!