With their new book Interception: The Secrets Of Modern Sports Betting, Ed Miller and Matthew Davidow fill a gap in sports betting education that I did not know existed.
The modern sportsbook, Miller and Davidow say, pursue a policy of “betting menu maximizing.”
Although the authors openly express sympathy for the modern sportsbooks’ impossible mission to provide impenetrable prices over thousands of possible bets, it’s crystal clear that Interception is a tool to help sports bettors gain an advantage more than it is a how-to for operators to plug their leaks.
“Modern sportsbooks are very sophisticated technology products that are held together with duct tape and crazy glue under the hood,” Miller and Davidow say. Interception instructs the reader how to pull apart the tape and chip away at the glue.
With an increasingly sophisticated betting approach comes an increased need to mask sharp action. The book peppers ideas for account longevity throughout the book’s pages. How can a winning sports bettor create enough noise to hide their sharp bets?
Betting single game parlays and making in-game wagers are two answers to that question. Modern sportsbooks generously provide these products because they believe they are safe bets for the house. To the educated bettor, they are not.
Interception lays out exactly how a sports bettor can use these assumed sucker bets to either gain an edge or break even. Making break-even bets on products that modern sportsbooks believe are unbeatable is the most effective way to ensure the longevity of an account.
I was enlightened by the chapter dedicated to the modern sportsbooks’ cashout feature. Cashout allows the user to settle their pending bet before an event has concluded. The payout offered to the customer is almost always of substantially lesser value than if the bettor let their original bet ride. What threw me for a loop is the concept that the cashout feature is just another bet. “Cashing out those bets is functionally identical to placing a new bet.”
Viewing the cashout feature as just another bet opens up avenues to exploit the feature. The authors claim, “You can find opportunities in cashout that you can’t get elsewhere.”
Just like with single game parlays the customer’s skill will be masked by the sportsbooks’ belief that cashout is a play for fools.
In-Play Ups the Chances Books Make Mistakes
Miller and Davidow write about in-play – or live – betting from two sides. They explain how in-game lines are created or sourced. And more importantly for the bettor, Interception spells out where in-game weaknesses can be found.
The authors don’t mince words or hide behind vagueness. They give both theoretical and recent real-life examples of in-game opportunities that can be found every day. These range from traders not adjusting lines properly after halftime to the extreme vulnerability of in-game prop markets.
Regarding the latter, “These lines represent the raw, regurgitated guts of sometimes oversimplified and miscalibrated models that have been rushed to production for business reasons and likely require years more work to make them solid.”
Interception Book Offers a Dozen Angles for Bettors
Once the reader is made to understand the nuts and bolts of single game parlays, in-play betting and cashout, Interception goes on to give 12 angles that a sports bettor can use to find winning bets.
It’s dangerous for anyone to guarantee that an abundance of betting opportunities exist in modern sportsbooks that don’t require a lot of work, but that’s exactly what Miller and Davidow do.
They follow this sentiment up with a dozen betting angles ranging from the well-known strategy of arbitrage (which the authors are quick to point out will get your account limited) to the difference between sportsbook house rules and their model’s rules to in-play props and data errors. With every angle they provide concise notes on how to implement the exploit.
I’ve read several strategy books on poker and casino gambling. Nearly all of the strategies presented in those books if done correctly gain the gambler a single digit edge. Interception: The Secrets Of Modern Sports Betting is different. Not only do more edges exist in the modern sports book than an average casino on the Las Vegas Strip, the edges can be 10 times stronger than those for other exploitable casino games; poker, blackjack and slot machines included.
In one example Miller and Davidow write, “Modeling the ends of games is particularly tricky, and it’s possible if not common to find modeling errors of 20 percent or more in these situations.”
Will the release of Interception help sportsbooks? It certainly puts a magnifying glass on their current shortcomings and warns of a multitude of future issues if they continue to expand their betting menus without taking care in pricing. But I don’t think the book’s exposure of the modern sportsbooks’ weak spots will change much on the industry side.
According to the authors, “This industry wants more. More than they had last season. More than their competitor. More bets. More availability. More flexibility. More parlays. More, more, more.”
Modern sportsbooks are not interested in pulling over to check the map.
On the other hand, Interception: The Secrets Of Modern Sports Betting is the strongest educational sportsbetting content that a sharp or aspiring sharp sports bettor can consume today.
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