Gambling related articles
This essay is written for American readers.
the accuracy of Pinnacle's 'sharp' plays
Reprinted courtesy of Pinnacle
Since the first issue of the Pinnacle Pulse, we've
focused a lot of attention on the methods and selections
of 'sharp' players. Each week we highlight the markets
where they are most active. At Pinnacle Sportsbook
we consider a 'sharp player' to be a client that is
consistently on the right side of a game, gets the
best of the number and consequently wins over the
Therefore it is reasonable for bettors to ask how
accurate these 'sharp plays' have been, but before
going back and checking, bear in mind two bits of
advice we have repeatedly stressed: 1) always play
at the best price and 2) pass on a game if sharps
have conflicting opinions at the same price. With
these two rules in mind, you would have gone a whopping
47-31-2 following sharp plays since we began listing
them last year.
Handicapping sports is a search for the truth. That
truth is the chance of a given team winning on a given
day. Professional players typically set their own
line before looking at the market prices, and know
what edge they expect at any given price. They view
investing in a game as a simple commodity - they will
buy either team if the price is right. In many instances,
bettors will play both sides of the same game due
to line moves or new information.
Many handicappers set their original line, and use
an ROR (return on risk) hurdle to determine plays.
For example, if a model predicts that Team A will
beat Team B 75% of the time in a match-up, that player
might look for a bet priced for Team A to win just
70% of the time, or Team B to win 20% of the time.
Once that piece of truth is found - Team A's win percentage
for that match-up - the sharp player bets it only
if 'the price is right'. This might be by playing
Team A at -233 on the moneyline, or making an 'equivalent'
play identified with conversions, such as Team A -5.5.
That same player would just as happily play Team B
at +400 or +8 points.
In most games the market price will be close enough
to the handicapper's fair price to suggest that the
game is a 'pass'. Due to the commission a bettor must
pay on each wager (traditionally 10% at most sports
books), there's a dead zone where neither side can
be played profitably. For example, a sportsbook might
offer both sides of an NFL game at Pick'em -110. In
that instance, no play could be profitably made unless
a team was expected to win more than (110/210) = 52.4%.
With traditional 20 cent lines, there is a fairly
wide dead zone at most other bookmakers.
There are two obvious ways to reduce the impact of
the dead zone. The simplest is to open an account
with a reduced-juice sportsbook like Pinnacle Sports
Betting. With Pinnacle's -104 style pricing on NFL
sides, the dead zone is much smaller and a team expected
to win just 51% could be profitable. Pinnacle Sports'
reduced juice not only provides more favorable prices,
with 8 cent lines on NFL sides, but gives bettors
more possible plays as well.
The second way to reduce the dead zone further is
to use multiple sportsbooks and shop lines. If you
have an array of five plus sportsbooks, which includes
a reduced juice sports book like Pinnacle Sports,
you can frequently reduce the dead zone further -
in some instances eliminating it entirely (e.g. if
you can play either side at +100). When professional
players count their profits in terms of 2-4% of their
total betting volume, shopping to get the best number
will frequently make the difference between a winning
or losing season.
Modern Caveman recently contacted AskTheBook and
asked: Should a bettor really be taking advice from
a bookie? In chess, I used to say 'never listen to
My advice would be, 'Trust, but verify'. In sports
betting, like stock investing, you should never put
money at risk on the strength of anything ANYONE says
until you've researched the subject to the best of
your abilities. This is especially true if your source
has a vested interest.
The aim of The Pinnacle Pulse is to help educate
players about the benefits of low juice by providing
accurate information that helps improve the handicapping
skills of prospective and existing Pinnacle Sports
players. This is thanks in no small part to contributors
such as Daringly and the Pinnacle Sports oddsmakers
and line managers. It is our belief that if we can
improve the sophistication of players and raise the
awareness of Pinnacle Sports, more bettors will chose
Pinnacle and benefit from our pricing that offers
up to 60% better value on NFL sides than other bookmakers.
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