By now you’ve read the book Interception from Ed Miller and Matt Davidow. (And if you haven’t, you should mash buttons on Amazon to get it.) In the book, Miller and Davidow include 12 betting angles you can add to your playbook right now.
They range in scope and type. Some of these angles are dangerous to employ. Use them and books will be quick to limit you. Others are bread-and-butter moves every bettor should have at their disposal
Some of the angles we can’t help you with. We don’t have the tools to help you courtside tennis matches. (Yet.) But you can take on several of them using the tools at Unabated. Here are five.
Angle # 1. Time-based arbitrage, a.k.a., steam chasing
This dynamic – the content provider network playing a game of telephone with odds updates, the betting groups trying to thwart that game, and bits of information about the betting groups plays working its way slowly through the system – means there is an opportunity to ride the coattails of betting groups, Miller and Davidow write. There is a predictable time lag between odds moves at some sportsbooks (the ones that tend to get bet into before the market maker) and when the information fully propagates through the content network.
You can win at sports betting simply by watching for these early movers to move and then quickly betting the same side at the late movers.
Following market moves is an essential part of any sports-betting strategy and one way to do that is to keep an eye on the Odds Screen throughout the day.
Watch long enough and closely enough and you’ll start to see patterns emerge. Which books move first, which ones move aggressively, and which ones are the wounded gazelle at the back of the pack.
If you want to get even more scientific about it, Edge Rusher, part of our Concierge Tier, monitors what times of day the most edges hit the screen, by sport or by collection of sports.
One thing to keep in mind using this strategy – knowing which groups release and when is crucial. Some groups are better than others at certain individual sports. Sometimes books overreact to the action flooding in on a release.
Look for spots where a market has moved “a bridge too far.” You can find opportunities at good numbers playing the opposite side of a popular release.
Angle # 2. Information arbitrage
This angle is similar to the first angle. Except here, the pay is to watch for news or other information that would affect the betting odds. Then the moment news hits, you try to identify sportsbooks that haven’t updated odds yet. You bet the stale lines before the sportsbooks can react.
If a star player is listed as 50-50 to play in a game, you wait for the first hint of clarification on Twitter or in some other place. If the star plays, you bet on his team. When the star sits, you bet against them. Duh.
Staying ahead of the news is difficult, but not impossible. Following the right news sources, whether it’s beat writers in the NFL, big news accounts in the NBA or others, it’s important to refresh your news sources every season and have a plan for how you’re going to react to breaking news.
Decentralized news coverage is ideal. (Compared to sports like the NBA and NFL that have a handful of established journalists known for breaking news.) It helps if there are scores of teams across the country.
The less bettors are attacking a sport or the more raw number of teams there are to track, the more important timely information becomes. If you were plugged into the Irish caber-tossing circuit when no one else was, you’d have much more opportunity to pick off stale lines. You have to be incredibly fast to do the same thing when Shams tweets that Steph Curry won’t be in tonight’s lineup.
For college football, Unabated has an excellent team to keep you informed of all the breaking player and program news.You can even follow that news on Twitter, though on a 15-minute delay compared to Premium members.
Angle # 3. Second-order arbitrage
You’re placing a bet based on a change in price you’ve seen elsewhere. And you have an expectation that the sportsbook where you are betting will eventually update their price on the bet you’re making.
But this time you’re a little more subtle about it because you aren’t betting directly on the market that moved. Instead, you’re betting on something else that – due to the logic of the situation – will also be affected by the pricing change.
Keeping a close eye on the Prop Odds Screen will show you where there’s been movement in prop markets, so when a player is ruled out you can start to see how that affects his teammates.
When the Shams tweet that Curry is unlikely to play, a first-order bet would be to hit the Curry Unders. If he doesn’t play, it’s no bet. If he plays, it’s unlikely he’s at 100 percent.
The second-order move is to ballpark how Curry’s points and playing time might be distributed. If you think Klay Thompson will shoot more with Curry out, you might play his Overs. Plus, you’re likely to have more time to hit second-order lines. The book has to defend against the first-order effects first. The best betting angles often rely on moving past the surface level.
Angle #4. Mispriced derivatives
You’re looking for specific games or conditions where the assumptions underlying the model used to create the derivative odds is wrong. …
We have a situation where potentially hundreds of millions of dollars will be bet in the United States with large modern sportsbooks on a packed college football Saturday. And the lines those sportsbooks rely on to book the action – including the basic markets like game moneyline, point spread, and total – are set by much, much smaller amounts of action in relatively more obscure corners of the sports betting world.
The betting industry here is trying to build a skyscraper on top of a toothpick.
A key concept Miller and Davidow hammer in Interception is that very few bets are true, liquid markets relative to the total number of bets offered at modern sportsbooks. NFL sides and totals? Yes. WNBA player props? Not so much. They frequently root their betting angles in this concept.
Derivatives – plays on first halves, quarters, periods, etc. – tend to fall into the latter category. Traders set these lines. Markets don’t back them up. The lines are formed by formula, and those formulas are always subject to human error.
The dedicated Partial Game Derivative Calculator can help you find spots that are mispriced on the board in the NFL, NHL and college football.
Consider an NHL game total lined at 6.5 and the teams are -120/+100 on the moneyline. We can input the de-vigged moneyline and the total. Then we get a report on what the fair first period total prices are.
If we spot Over 2 goals at +115 or better, we’ve found a plus-EV bet.
Angle # 11. Situational in-play betting
For the most part, you can assume that the content companies making in-play lines are using a fairly simple approach to their job. They’re combining three inputs to get the output lines. First, they have a model. … They take information as an input, they do some math, and they publish lines for betting markets as the output.
Second, they have factual game information to use as an input. The score. The time remaining. The down and distance. That sort of thing.
Third, they have “market” information. This is the squishiest category, but you can expect companies to use the lines published by competitors as well as information from the bets they’ve already taken.
What they very likely won’t have is reliable, useful situational information fed into the model. This is any information about how the game is likely to turn out that isn’t factual and also likely isn’t in the “market” information yet either.
As far as betting angles go, live betting is a frontier unto itself. In-play betting is frequently invoked in Interception as a place the books are vulnerable. But if it’s a thorny problem for operators, it isn’t exactly sunshine and roses for bettors, either.
There’s no true “source of truth” for in-play betting. In fact, during a recent AMA Miller did in our Discord, one of our users asked if you could back-of-the-envelope a source of truth just by looking for “groupthink.” Imagine four books had a ‘dog down late at +400 but one other had +600. Is it safe to assume the +600 is the off number?
“No, I don’t think the in-play groupthink can be described as a ‘source of truth’ in any way,” Miller said. “I see it cluster around nonsense prices too often.”
Use Your Situational Awareness
The advantage bettors have is being able to analyze what’s happening in a game in real time. The example they use in the book is around coaching tendencies in going for two down 14 late. Some coaches are more likely to try to convert; some are content to kick. That greatly affects whether a team is likely to cover +7.5 or +6.5.
The software, though, is making its prices on the “average” game. It’s not taking into account the specific situational tendency of a coach down two touchdowns with five minutes left on the clock to go for two.
If you’re able to identify those types of spots, our live odds will help you with the other critical factor in live betting: finding the right price.
These are all strong angles to use in your betting. If you want to learn more about how to use Unabated’s tools to tackle them, sign up for a 1-on-1 webinar.