Does Fading the Public Work As A Betting Strategy?

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Building a strategy is an important part of the sports betting hobby, and one of the simple tactics that veteran bettors use is to “fade the public.”

The idea behind fading the public is simple: Casual bettors are more frequently wrong. Because of this, you can build a strategy by observing public betting trends and wagering on the other side of the popular bet.

Intrigued? We break down the fade-the-public style of handicapping below and take a look at the ins and outs of this strategy.

What is a betting strategy?

Betting strategy is how you prepare for making your wagers. For many, this includes research, line comparisons and handicapping.

There are many ways to establish an online sports betting strategy, and we suggest experimenting until you find something that works for you. Not everyone will be as interested in a method like fading the public, while others will absolutely swear by it.

No betting strategy is worth employing if you’re just going to use it blindly. Wagering your money is something you should take care with, which means being as informed as possible when placing your wagers.

Any bet that you place without preparing is more likely to be a loss. While luck does play a factor, it’s always best to try to minimize that aspect of the hobby by following your own betting strategy.

Why bet against public trends?

Ask experienced bettors, and they’ll likely tell you that the average Joe isn’t the most proficient when it comes to making smart wagers. That’s why fading the public is so popular.

Many bets are going to lose — that’s just a reality of trying to wager on something as volatile as sports, which are notoriously unpredictable. Bettors who fade the public watch the betting trends to see which way those casual bettors are wagering. They use that information, in conjunction with their other research, to help determine what side they’re going to bet on.

Being a contrarian bettor is a solid strategy for those who use it properly. Betting against the public without any other research and just blindly guessing isn’t.

You’re going to need to do your research to find out which way the public is betting anyway, so you might as well just continue to dig for data on the teams you’re betting on. You can find a nice variety of free websites to get your betting splits from, so there’s really no reason to pay for a service that offers it to you. Simply bookmark the page you like the most, and refer to it when making the rounds.

You can also follow some of the Twitter accounts for the sportsbooks that you use. The oddsmakers at those sportsbooks often post betting splits because it is also a part of their strategy to keep tabs on those splits.

Lines can move due to significant public betting

You may see the sports betting lines at your preferred online Ohio sportsbooks shift from where they started, and there are a few reasons for that.

One primary factor that causes a line to shift is new information, such as an injury to a key player or forecasted weather conditions that could have a massive impact on the game.

Public betting, however, can also play a large part in the lines moving. As one side of a bet gets more action than the other, sportsbooks will often shift the betting lines to make the other side more attractive. Sportsbooks generally aim to see even betting on both sides, which reduces the liability of payouts to winners. If a bet gets too lopsided with wagers on one outcome over the other, a shift in the line is often incentive enough to begin to even out those lopsided betting splits.

Does fading the public actually work?

It can, especially if you know what to look for. Below are some examples where fading the public could come in handy. Keep in mind that when you’re looking at betting splits, your goal should be to follow the lead of professional and experienced bettors. You can sometimes figure this out by looking at the amount of money versus the number of wagers. Take this example, for instance:

  • Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 (66% of the money, 34% of tickets)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5 (35% of the money, 65% of tickets)

While the oddsmakers are picking the Bengals as the underdog, they expect it to be a tight game, hence just the 2.5-point spread differential.

We can also see that out of all the bet slips that feature this game, the majority of bettors are leaning toward the Steelers. Experienced bettors might be seeing something different, though, which could be why the majority of the money is on Cincinnati.

As someone who is considering fading the public for this game, you can see that the money on each side is quite lopsided. Professional bettors and experts are going to put their money on a game they have confidence in, while the general betting public is going to be less enthusiastic about making larger wagers.

If you fade the public here, you’d put your money on the Bengals at +2.5 points.

When do you fade the public?

Fading the public works best with bets that draw a lot of public action and attention. The most popular leagues and events in the United States — NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, March Madness and college football — are going to attract more bets from the inexperienced and casual public.

Just because there is a lot of betting action doesn’t mean, however, that casual bettors are automatically wagering on a losing prospect. Instead, and especially with sports like Major League Baseball, college and professional basketball, and the National Hockey League, you will see regular-season games where recreational bettors aren’t going to be showing up in droves to make wagers, so fading the public becomes more difficult.

Drawback to fading public betting

When used correctly, the strategy is a great way to measure your own betting against what the public is doing as well as where the sharps and pros are putting their money. However, if you were to apply the contrarian approach to every sport and every game, you’d likely find that you’d made a mistake.

Sports like golf, tennis, soccer, MMA, motorsports and more may not get the same public attention as the NFL, NBA and MLB unless it’s one of the sport’s major tournaments or other events. Because of this, the betting splits and fade strategy wouldn’t be as helpful.

The less popular the sport is, the more likely it is that the wagers are from more experienced bettors who have their own strategy and handicapping approaches. If you were to wager against the public in those situations, you’d more likely be betting against the pros and the veterans because their money and the public betting are the same in such scenarios.

It’s important to know when to apply a fade-the-public strategy and when to avoid using it.

What is chasing steam?

On the other side of the coin from “fading the public” is “chasing steam,” which is when casual bettors make wagers when they see a significant line shift.

It is often perceived as a sign that sharps and pros are betting on one side over another when a major line shift occurs, and recreational bettors keep an eye out for these instances to jump on the bandwagon and get their own bets in on the right side of things.

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that such shifts are often purposeful, both by the oddsmakers as well as part of a strategy by large groups of sharps, known as syndicates, to help create better advantages on the opposite side of the wager.

For example, if the Cleveland Cavaliers were favored over the Indiana Pacers by 7.5 points, syndicates might wager heavily on the Cavs to get the lines to shift and increase the spread to a higher number. They will then turn their wagering to the Pacers’ new odds as a way of giving themselves more of an edge.

That isn’t always the case, of course, and the steam can indeed show us where the higher value wagers are happening and, in turn, potentially give us an edge.

Both chasing steam and fading the public can be essential parts of a betting strategy when you use them correctly and, as always, with caution. Doing your own research and gathering your own data are more important than any other aspect of a betting strategy, so don’t just blindly chase or fade or follow any other tactics. Always rely on your data above any shifts or gut feelings.