The Power of Betting Early

Sports results from this past weekend really emphasize how important it is to bet EARLY when you believe you've spotted an edge. The longer you wait, the lower your payoff.

Las Vegas is really buzzing right now about the Vegas Golden Knights' run in the NHL Playoffs. If you've ever been in a city "the first time" it's going deep in the playoffs, you know how exciting it is. That's never happened in this town to a pro team. UNLV generated high energy in the Jerry Tarkanian years. But, that was a LONG time ago, and it was in the colleges.

Sportsbooks have big exposure right now to VGK winning the Stanley Cup because so many fans made bets on the team before the season started. Most were just showing support for the new franchise...maybe purchasing a souvenir to store in a scrapbook. The fact that the city of Las Vegas had a major sport franchise was a big deal. Everybody wanted a piece of the fun.

Now those tickets could pay off big time if the Knights become the first expansion team ever to win a championship. What seemed unthinkable is now a strong possibility with VGK reaching the final four teams in the brackets.

If you watched the Kentucky Derby this past Saturday, you know that favorite Justified won The Run for the Roses. You may not be aware that one bettor got down at as high as 300-1 many months ago in preliminary "futures" pricing. The Wynn can tell you about that!

Normally I don't recommend bets on futures prices. They usually don't offer value because the true odds are so much worse than the payoffs. About the only time they make sense is when YOU are better informed about a team (or a horse) than the overall betting market EARLY in the process. If you can recognize the potential of a super horse, a super-team, or just a team that's going to be much more competitive than expected...then it makes sense to take a flyer on the mis-perceived longshot.

At the very least, you can buy back at the end of the process to lock in a profit. Someone getting in on the Vegas Golden Knights at 100-1 can now hedge back on the remaining opponents. Horse bettors in on Justified early might have considered offshore exchanges on race day that allow you to bet on a horse "not" to win. Up to your own money management preferences. Most sharps let those first bets ride because they don't want to water down a +EV bet with a minus-EV hedge.

Of course, the same principal applies to day-to-day point spread or money line betting. Last Friday we talked about the good and bad surprises in Major League Baseball. If you had an eye for underrated hot starters to back, or overrated major market teams to fade, you've done well so far this season.

Basketball bettors sensing that Philadelphia's youth was about to be a problem against the well-coached Boston Celtics were able to get in at a great series price, then also get points with winners in the first few games of that second round series.

My goal with these articles is to make you think like a sharp and bet like a sharp. One of the biggest factors that separates sharps (professional wagerers) from squares (the general public) is the ability to think ahead. The public has a habit of waiting to see what the point spreads are, then trying to find favorites to bet. Sharps look for mis-priced teams that could offer value over several games. Squares are trying to win "today," and are often taking the worst of it price-wise in their efforts. Sharps are trying to win over the long haul, and learn how to maximize their insights.

*A square that reads a favorite correctly after the lines are up wins that one bet.
*A sharp that finds a mis-priced team wins many times until the line catches up.

And, occasionally, sharps also attack bad futures prices. I'm not suggesting that any sharps jumped on the Vegas Golden Knights before the season started. There just wasn't any history for this kind of performance from an expansion team. But, I'll tell you what. Once sharps were attending home games in person...watching the size and speed of this team outclass opponents, many Wise Guys jumped on the bandwagon. They're still on it! Some bet futures prices in the first month before the market corrected. Others have been looking for value on a game-by-game basis.

You can tell who they are locally because they have VGK banners waving in the front yards of their expensive houses!

The power of betting early is something YOU need to take better advantage of. Even if it's just making a more concerted effort to attack opening lines rather than letting them settle.