3 Sports Betting Strategies Sharps Use to Gain an Edge

As sports betting becomes more lucrative, strategies will become extremely important to the casual and sharp bettor alike. With this, fans will always be looking to get ahead; whether it is using advanced analytics or proven strategies. We take a look at some of these strategies that sharp bettors typically implement as well as success rates for each.

With any betting strategy, there will be issues and drawbacks. If implemented correctly a bettor could do quite well but nothing is perfect.

Middling Sports Betting Strategy

In terms of risk, middling might be the least risky option for sports bettors. Middling has resulted in some of the largest victories in the history of sports betting. Professional sports bettor (or sharp) known simply as “Spanky” uses middling constantly as a form of money-making. The Ringer did a fascinating bio on Spanky who has been thrown out of some of the biggest casinos in the country for being so good at sports betting. Let’s explain how he does it…

The goal of a middling bet is to take advantage of moving lines throughout a week for an NFL game. As the lines move, you expand the range of outcomes and possibly win both. Ideally, the end of the game will end in the middle of the two numbers you bet on to result in both bets winning.

Opening Line: New York Jets +4.5 New England Patriots -4.5

Closing Line: New York Jets move to +7.5 New England Patriots -7.5

In order to successfully middle this bet, you would need to have bet on the Patriots when the line opened. Later in the week, the Jets fell to +7.5 which is where a middle bettor would pounce. The opportunity to middle this bet is extremely enticing, If the Patriots were to win by 5, 6, or 7 points, the middler would win both bets.

This strategy can be done with total bets too. For instance, if the over/under line opens at 45.5 and ends at 48.5 can bet each side. If the game total ends at 46, 47, or 48, the bettor wins both bets.

Arbitrage/Value Betting

This is a slightly different sports betting strategy but has a similar concept to middling. The idea here is to again place contradicting bets at different numbers. The difference in this betting strategy is it forces the player to have access to multiple sportsbooks. For instance,

DraftKings Sportsbook: Kansas City Chiefs -6.5 Las Vegas Raiders +6.5

BetMGM Sportsbook: Kansas City Chiefs -8.5 Las Vegas Raiders +8.5

In order to successfully arbitrage bet this game, the bettor would need to bet on the Raiders at BetMGM. He would also need to place a bet at DraftKings Sportsbook for the Chiefs. Ideally, the Chiefs win this game by 7 or 8 points and both bets win. If not, the bettor still is guaranteed to win one of the two bets.

Vigs or vigorish is something sportsbooks have used to take this type of betting option away. Arbitrage or middling bettors will want to find odds with less “juice”. Typically a spread bet is taken at -110. Searching other sportsbooks for odds closer to +100 makes both of these options extremely profitable for bettors.

Round Robin Betting

Very similar to parlay betting but with a twist! In order to place a round robin bet, the bettor must select multiple bets from three to ten teams. A round-robin then takes these bets and makes as many two-team parlays as possible. If you wanted to bet on three different events, it could equal three different parlays. If one of these parlays hit, you are paid on that parlay.

The only downside of round robins is if all of your bets hit, it will not pay out the same amount if you parlayed them all. Let’s look at an example…

Round Robin Example

Dallas Cowboys +7.5 Kansas City  Chiefs -4.5

Kansas City Chiefs -4.5 Minnesota Vikings +2.5

Minnesota Vikings +2.5 Dallas Cowboys +7.5

As you can see, these three bets are placed into three different parlays. If one of these parlays is successful you are paid for it. In this example, you cannot win two you would win all three if they are successful.

One could expect this round-robin to payout at +285. However, a parlay would pay out over +600 for this bet. Round robins mitigate risk for the bettor but still gives you a reasonable payout if all of your bets hit. This is especially useful in large parlays of 5+ wagers. Round-robins are available at all major sportsbooks including FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and Fox Bet Sportsbook.


Editor’s note: Gambling is inherently risky. We make no guarantee that any of these strategies will result in a winning wager, and the purpose of this article is only to detail some popular betting strategies employed by many sports bettors.

About the Author

Erich Richter

Erich Richter

A New York writer and gambling expert specializing in the sports industry. Written on numerous platforms with SEO certifications and a diehard Mets, Giants and Knicks fan (it’s been tough). Interests include keeping up to date on the newest features and technologies from sportsbooks since beta testing several of the legal gaming companies upon their inception.
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