Betting strategies are a dime a dozen in the world of sports betting. No matter how sharp or smart, every punter has a system they play to invest their bankroll on sports like the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and other competitive sports that the major sportsbooks lists – and there are many to choose from. At MyTopSportsbooks, we will look at a betting strategy called sports betting against the public, what it means and how it works with the oddsmakers.

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Who is the Public?

Many recreational gamblers – the betting public – are thought of as casual sports bettors. Often the casual bettor needs to be more informed and places bets for various reasons that have nothing to do with the balance of probability or have no data-based information to hang their sports bet on. And these sports bettors are wrong most, if not all the time, and they frequently refresh their bankrolls due to poor bets, and the sportsbooks love them for it. You can find indicators that will lead you to win bets if you are perceptive.

Betting Against the Public, What is it?

Betting Against the Public, What is it?

You are placing a bet against what the majority of bettors are betting on. Another way to refer to the strategy is ‘fading’ the public bettors. When gamblers bet, the majority of them bet on an outcome, and the most heavily bet represents the majority of the public thinks will be the result. If you see one-sided betting – causing the lines to move – most sports bettors are betting on one specific outcome. If you look hard enough, you can find lopsided sports events and then identify a value bet by betting on the other side. In many cases, the public is wrong a good percentage of the time; if they weren’t, there would be many more successful bettors and many sportsbooks out of business. Betting against the public is an educated guess that the public is wrong more often than right, and visionary gamblers can see when the public has missed on a bet when the bookmakers post the odds.

Terms to Know:

Fading the public – go against popular sports betting opinion.

Squares – casual sports bettors.

Sharps – experienced gamblers who make money from gambling strategies.

Action – a term to denote a bet

The favorite – the likely winner of a game or match

The underdog – the likely loser, based on the odds, of a game or match

How it Works

  1. Win or lose?
  2. Will the game go into overtime, yes or no?
  3. Will there be over X amount of points, yes or no?
  4. In soccer, will there be a red card, yes or no?

A considerable number of bets can be wagered when betting against the public, and a sharp eye and perceptive wit will find them, bet on them, and win on the bets. The side that holds the biggest cash stash on it is what public perception of the game’s outcome is. From a statistical standpoint, the public is off more often than it is on, so betting against the public is always a good bet.

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Line Movement

In a perfect world, sportsbooks want an equal amount of money bet on both sides of the equation. They win on the losers and take vig from the winners to ensure fat profits. When betting becomes lopsided on one side of a game – think Kansas City Chiefs against anybody but the Buffalo Bills – and you get the idea. When you see the betting lines start to move, it should tell you that the public has tilted the scales and line movement – against the public – is one way to find betting balance.

What are the Factors That Influence Sports Betting Strategy

Many factors can shape popular opinion, and we look at some here

  •  The Media

The dominant media narrative can sway bettors when they over-hype a team in a particular game or match.

  • Reputation

Teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Yankees enjoy great reputations and garner many sentimental/favorite team bets from the betting public.

  • The Advantage of Being at Home

If the two teams are close in NFL betting, the home team is always a field goal favorite in football betting based on home-field advantage. It works the same in most sports, as the fan is always considered the 12th man in football or the sixth man in basketball or hockey.

  • Superstars

LeBron James, Connor McDavid, Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Judge are all superstar players that strike fear in the opposition, and their place on the mantle of success will draw many sports wagering on the outcome. Why? Because they have the best player in the contest, but it doesn’t translate to winning bets without the help of the other players around them. Player props often garner a lot of attention based on superstar name recognition.

  • Psychology and Sports Betting

The public rarely, if ever, bets on low-scoring games. They like to bet on winning teams that score points by the boatload – betting against the public here can provide definite advantages when analyzing the competition heads up, and you bet on the opposite side.

 Wagering Against the Public, Examples

Betting the Underdog to win

Many people don’t know enough about the team they are betting on. The public will always drop a buck or two on the NYY Yankees name brand recognition. Gerrit Cole might be starting for the NYY, but he has been in a slump and can’t locate the fastball. Thousands of dollars will be bet on the NYY and Cole – who doesn’t last four innings en route to a blowout loss. The underdog, Toronto Blue Jays, was the better bet here, but squares don’t know this.

Bet the Favorite Doesn’t Cover the Spread

The road ‘dog with a big name will often grab the lion’s share of public money based on reputation. The Buffalo Bills go into Tennesee, where they are -7 favorites. The money lands on Tennessee, but the spread ends at three points, leaving many disappointed bettors. Because it wasn’t a risk-free bet for the matchup. If you play a parlay with the Browns, Steelers and Patriots, the betting percentages for the favorite teams will drive the public money when over 50 percent are betting with the parlay outlined.

ATS, Against the Public

You are sizing up a Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills contest, and the Chiefs are -3 at home. You bet the Bills because you don’t think the Chiefs can cover, and the game goes down to the wire. The score ends 35-34, Chiefs; if you bet ATS, you have a winning betting slip. BetMGM will provide a promo code or bonus code to stimulate public action, and FanDuel will extend the same promo code or bonus code for regular season action.


In hockey or world cup soccer action, this kind of bet can occur:

The line is set at 3.5. You bet the over; it means you think there will be four goals or more in the game. In this case, if the game tied at 2-2 – or a 3-1 win, you would win either way. If you took an under 3.5 goals bet, you think there will be three goals or less. The final score could be 3-0 or 0-0. Either way, you would still win.

Moneyline Bets Against the Public

A Moneyline bet is a straight-up bet on a winner with the accompanying odds for a payout. When a casino or sportsbook is taking heavy action on one team, they will move the line to get money to move against the public and in general, it is usually a good bet because the public is wrong more than right.

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NFL Betting or College Football Against the Public

NFL betting is one of the largest betting markets in the US. The high volume of players means that there are plenty of squares placing bets that are destined to lose. Two numbers to keep in mind here are 3 and 7. They have prominence because high-scoring games often end in a field goal – 3 points. Seven is prominent because a team down by a TD needs to score one to tie, and the team up a TD can run out the clock.

Baseball Betting Against the Public

In our example with the NYY, the Yankees will always take action based on star power from pitchers to hitters- Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton – it doesn’t matter that Cole can’t locate the fastball, and Stanton is hitting .150 in the last ten games, squares will always take the Yankees. Take the underdog if you have done your homework and build your bankroll.

Hockey Betting Against the Public

When betting on hockey or soccer – low-scoring affairs – the Moneyline is where you find the public money headed. Depending on the odds for betting on an NHL game, you can place three bets, lose two and still bank a profit depending on the odds. Moneyline bets pay better because underdogs get better odds than point-spread bets.

Frank Lorenzo
Frank Lorenzo
MTS Co-Founder
Geoff Johnson
Geoff Johnson
MTS Co-Founder