Many of you already get the gist behind top-down betting, (sometimes called, somewhat pejoratively, “steam chasing). You use a “source of truth” from sharp sportsbooks to punish slower, more square books by taking a better price on a bet than where the market appears headed. We created the Unabated Line to be an overall source of truth.
How does it work and why should you use it? First let’s take a quick refresher on the top-down approach.
What Is Top-Down Betting?
Take a bet, move the number.
There. There’s the six-word executive summary of how sports betting, in theory, should work. Or used to work. Or at least works in some spots still. But not everywhere – and that’s the key.
Some books are considered market-makers. Books like Circa Sports, Bookmaker, Pinnacle and others. They use price discovery to arrive at what the line is going to be for any given game.
Their oddsmakers take their best crack at an opening number, and then they open the door for business – at small limits. They’re paying for information from customers who think they have a better idea of what the line should be. The Patriots-Steelers total opened at 32.5. Sharp money came in on the Under. The number is now 30.
These books took a bet, and moved the number.
Other books – considered “retail” books, such as DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM and others – work on a different model. These books have a tendency to limit sharp bettors, so they’re not paying for information. Instead, they may look at these market-making books and take their cues there.
If you, as a top-down bettor, see a sharp book at 30 in the Patriots-Steelers game and a retail book is still at 32, you can reasonably infer that Under 32 is going to be a better bet than Under 30.
Congratulations, you’re betting top-down.
How the Unabated Line Operates
The hiccup here is that no one book is the sharpest at any single sport. Unless you studiously watch an odds screen day-in, day-out, record all the data, and do your own calculations, it’s hard to parse what the ideal source of truth is.
Enter the Unabated Line.
The Unabated Line is a blend of market-making books, curated on a sport-by-sport basis. If one book is great at college football it might make up a large percentage of the CFB Unabated Line. If that same book is fair-to-middling at baseball, it carries less weight in the MLB Unabated Line.
The weights for each sport are our own Coca-Cola recipe: it’s proprietary, known only to a few, and kept under lock and key in Atlanta. (OK, maybe not that last part.)
But broadly, our data science team examines which books reach the closing line the fastest in the respective sports. Those that quickly and accurately get to the closing number are given more consideration.
The Unabated Line is also presented vig-free. By comparing a bet you see on the screen to the Unabated Line, you don’t have to do any additional work. If your bet is a better number than the Unabated Line, you can be reasonably sure you have a plus-EV bet at this point in time.
Spot Your Edge
In fact, we make these bets easier to spot with the Edge Tool. When a book is hanging a number that’s showing a positive expectation relative to the Unabate Line, the edge will light up in green.
The number shows your edge on the bet and, because the Unabated Line is vig-free, what your expected value is on the play. In this case we’d expect that if you made this bet 100 times to win $100, your expectation would be to invest $11,000 and return $11,187.
If you get creative, you can use the Unabated Line in other ways, too. You can use it with alternate lines, of course. Which means you can use it when you’re calculating your Kelly stake. Just convert the Unabated Line to the line you’re being offered, and use the fair price on that alt to determine Kelly.
You also use it to track overall market sentiment. Open the price history on the Odds Screen to see where the collective market has moved on a line to get a better sense of where it might be headed.
If you want to know more about the Unabated Line, or any other tool we offer, you can ask questions in the Discord, or sign up for a one-on-one demonstration.