Learn The Basics Of Bottom-Up Betting, Or Originating

Learn The Basics Of Bottom-Up Betting, Or Originating

Jack Andrews
The Process
March 1, 2024


What does it take to beat sports betting using your own handicapping skills? We call this method bottom-up betting, or originating. But how do originators do it? How do they come up with their numbers? How could you get started doing it as well if you don’t have a background in computer programming? I’m going to break it down for you.

Hi, I’m Jack from Unabated. I’ve been a professional gambler for over 20 years. Along the way, I’ve discovered that winning at sports betting can be done in a few different ways. Earlier, we’ve explored top-down betting. Using the sharper segment of the market to identify and quantify your edge when betting at other sportsbooks. It’s a straight-forward approach that is proven to be successful. However, it’s also fairly detectable by sportsbooks and can lead to limits imposed on those who win.

Another way to win at sports betting is by originating or bottom-up betting as some like to call it. This is where you devise what the line should be or what the probability should be. Remember, sports betting is all about price and probability. Originators come up with their own probability and hunt for the best price. There are some key benefits to taking this approach that we’ll get to in a minute.

But to many people, the thought of bottom-up betting and beating the sportsbooks seems daunting. You probably assume that it must take brilliant computer models and complex programming to beat the sports betting market. In some markets it can. However, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s all about surface area. The sportsbook has a vast surface area to defend, and you can choose where you want to attack.


Originating Is Less Complex than you Think

Would you like to build a model that can better predict the outcome of NFL games? Of course you would, but you’d be attempting to attack the sportsbook at a point where they are nearly impenetrable. That market is too efficient by game day, there’s too many other bettors attacking it. You likely won’t find a valid edge. Lucky for you, the sportsbook offers a wide variety of bets related to the NFL as well as a ton of other sports. Those areas are more vulnerable to attack. They also would require a far less complex model to give you a puncher’s chance.

I know people who originate in some of the biggest markets in the world. They have very complex models and databases and they put in hundreds of hours of work into what they do. But they didn’t start at the top. They worked their way up building and constantly refining their process. They adapt to the market and constantly look for ways to improve. Also, they pick and choose which markets they try to beat. It’s very tough to originate in more than one sport at a time.


Pare it Down

I’ve spoken before about narrowing your focus as a sports bettor so you can easier find something you can beat rather than trying to drink from the firehose by trying to beat a wide range of sports markets. For instance, the idea of creating a model to project the final score of a baseball game might seem overwhelming.

However, every sportsbook offers first five innings lines. If you narrow your focus to the first five innings you’ve largely taken the bullpen out of the mix. But you can narrow even further. Almost every sportsbook offers first inning lines. In fact, it’s a popular bet, YRFI or NRFI. YRFI for Yes Run First Inning, and NRFI for No Run First Inning. You’re now just handicapping will there be a run scored in the first inning. You’ve narrowed the focus down to just the starting pitchers and the first 6 batters in each team’s lineup for a single at-bat.

And if that is still too difficult you can narrow your focus down to player props. Pitcher strikeouts. Will a certain player get a hit? That sort of thing. This is just a simple mental progression related to baseball. You can pick any sport and work through these same thoughts.

Basketball, tennis, golf, soccer, you name it. Just make sure you’re not trying to beat something that is too big of a market for your skill level in bottom-up betting. Look for markets where it’s plausible that you could set a better line than what the market has.


Apply Some Science

I’m fond of using the scientific method when trying to find ways to beat sports markets. Yes, the scientific method that you learned in grade school. It starts with observation, then forming a hypothesis, then experimenting to prove your hypothesis. You spot a bet that you think you can come up with a way to beat. Then you hypothesize what it might take to beat that wager.

One day, years ago, I discovered that a sportsbook had a prop bet on how many home runs would be hit in a baseball game. But the line was always over/under 2 no matter the game. My hypothesis was that it was easier to hit home runs in certain ballparks with certain weather conditions so I set out to make a model trying to identify the correlation between weather and ballpark dynamics.

Armed with that hypothesis, I was able to get three years’ worth of game data that had home run information in it. Then I looked up the ZIP codes for each major league ballpark. I built a historical weather database that corresponded with each game for that stadium’s ZIP code. I was able to experiment and prove my hypothesis.

It was actually overkill because beating that prop bet really just required looking at the wind direction for home run friendly ballparks like Wrigley Field. However, even after that prop bet was no longer available to me, that model evolved into projecting baseball totals. I was able to identify some key correlations with regards to barometric pressure that wasn’t being factored into the lines. For a few years, I was steadily beating baseball totals using this angle. It all started with an observation though.


No Code Required for Bottom-Up Betting

As I was describing my process some of you might already think that’s too complicated, I couldn’t do all that. However, let’s break down that barrier you have in your mind. At no point during all of that did I do any programming. I did it all in Microsoft Excel. Loaded in some stats and then used web queries in Excel to fill in the weather information. It was a pretty bloated spreadsheet but it worked. These days, you don’t even need Excel.

There’s so many tools and resources available to help you bridge that gap between your hypothesis and proving your theory. That’s one of the reasons we built Unabated. A lot of people use us for top down betting, but there’s many tools to help bettors trying to beat sports from the bottom up.

We offer player prop simulators which help turn your projections into quantified edges that you can compare against sportsbook lines. Previously, building a simulator on top of creating projections was a lot more than what most bettors could handle.

We also offer tools that help you find attackable surface area. For instance, maybe you poke around and find that there’s a bit of difference in pricing for first period lines in the NHL. You’d like to identify who is right and who isn’t in their pricing. We have a tool to tell you what that first period line should be for a hockey game given the moneyline and total for the game. No math, no programming needed.

The purpose of this video is not to sell you on our services at Unabated, but to give you the knowledge that originating is not as hard as you might think it is.


The Added Benefit of Originating

If you’ve found that the way you’re doing sports betting isn’t working for you, it might be time to explore bottom-up betting. Here’s why. You may be getting caught up in the herd whether you realize it or not. If you’re betting something that a lot of other people are also betting it’s going to get the sportsbook’s attention.

This is especially true if you’re using a service that is alerting a lot of people to the same positive EV wager. Sportsbooks tend to paint with very broad brushes. They’re going to look to limit a large swath of bettors that all appear to be doing the same thing at the same time. When you’re bottom-up betting, you’re working on your own time. You don’t have to worry about getting lumped in with a bunch of other advantage players.

In fact, a sharp sportsbook might welcome your action. If they notice you’re sharp, they’ll shape their lines based on your betting so they have an edge against all the bettors that come behind you. Of course, that’s not necessarily the case at recreational sportsbooks who just don’t like people winning. But you might find your leash is longer everywhere when you’re not part of a crowd all hitting an off-market line all at the same time.


Pay Attention to Market Liquidity

One thing to keep in mind if you want to start originating some angles. There is an inverse relationship between market liquidity and how beatable it is. Meaning the less total bets a sportsbook is taking on a wager, the greater the chance that it’s beatable. However, the more liquidity a sportsbook has on a wager, the less chance it’s beatable both because other bettors have already hammered the line into place and because the sportsbook can be confident in taking larger bets on the market because of the overall market efficiency.

At the same time, there’s a parallel relationship between that market liquidity and how tolerant a sportsbook is going to be of sharp bettors. The lower the total amount of bets a sportsbook is taking on the market, the lower the tolerance. The higher the liquidity, the higher the tolerance.

Keep all this in mind when trying to find angles to originate. If you target an obscure prop, you probably have a short leash, despite the good edge. So don’t put too much effort into beating it since you won’t last long betting it. Conversely, as your skills increase, the extra time you put into refining your process to attack larger markets could very much be worth it.

If you want to get started with trying to originate your own angles. Start by exploring everywhere in your sports betting accounts. Look for bets where it’s possible for you to have an angle not factored into the line. Build your hypothesis and then find ways that you can test it. It’s not an easy path but it offers a tremendous upside if you can prove your hypothesis correct.

Copyright 2024 © Unabated Sports, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This site is strictly for educational and informational purposes only and does not involve any real-money betting. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER. This service is intended for adults aged 18 and over only.