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by Bryan Leonard - 03/28/2012
So who is Joe Public? Of course, Joe Public is everybody not connected with the professional sports betting field. Joe Public is the average bettor, the guy who just HAS to bet on the Super Bowl or the ESPN Wednesday night college basketball broadcast because he needs action on the game he’s watching. All right, fine. But following that model won’t turn you a profit over the long haul in sports betting, which – to me – is the whole purpose. I don’t put money in the stock market “just to have action” on a particular stock. I do it to grind out a profit. The same model applies when I wager on sports.
Public teams in football are the ones that have the largest fan base nationally, like the Cowboys, Packers or Raiders. Or the ones that happen to be currently winning the most (winning straight up, that is, not necessarily against the number). It’s the same in basketball. You have to understand that oddsmakers are not interested in setting a number based on who they think will win the game by X number of points. Their purpose is to get equal amounts of money wagered on both sides, so they then pay off the winners and keep their 4.5 percent cut. It’s a tried and true paradigm of economics.
In basketball, current public teams are the Heat, Lakers and Bulls. Last year the Knicks were a public team after acquiring star Carmelo Anthony. Notice that the Knicks, despite having star power on offense, didn’t play any defense and were a bad team against the spread, a 2-5 ATS run after getting Melo. Also, the Knicks were a flashy offensive team so Joe Public would lean to the over with them.
A few years ago, when they had far less talent, the Knicks started the season 18-32 overall against the number and 9-18 ATS at home! The thinking by Joe Public is that the Knicks play their best basketball at home, therefore plenty of money backed the Knicks at home, but they were fell fledged money-burners.
The defending champions can often become public teams, as well. Last year the Lakers started 7-22 ATS in their first 29 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. A few years ago the T-Wolves and Pacers were public teams, before their recent decline, because of their talent and a record of winning in the playoffs. But they had all kinds of problems, and underachieving Minnesota fired their coach in midseason following an 18-32 spread run, including 9-18 ATS at home and 13-27 ATS as a favorite! If you bet like Joe Public, start changing your thinking, unless you prefer “action” to turning a profit.v