I have been betting for around 8 years and in my time I have tried various strategies to try and beat the books. There is one strategy which I have been looking into very closely over the past few months widely known as the "Reverse Odds Analysis" Let me try and explain....
Your average punter generally looks at various lines whether it be in basketball, NFL etc and attempts to find line discrepancies between what he believes the outcome of an event is to what the books have set the line at to determine whether Team A will cover against Team B. The way he does that is via some form of analysis whether it be using historical trends, past results etc. So essentially if you see a strong trend whether it be an O/U or side trend in a particular event and feel the current line undervalues that trend you make the bet accordingly. Unfortunately this is what Vegas wants us to do because in the long run they know an average punter who operates in this fashion does not come ahead in front.
Vegas is a multibillion dollar business, these guys are not idiots they want our money and the way they do that is setting a line as such to ensure they get action on both sides 50/50. They use the sharp bettors and insiders who jump on the early lines as valuable indicators to ensure they achieve this, and will adjust the line accordingly if they feel they are not getting the required action on both sides of the line. The books try and achieve a balanced book to ensure that whatever the outcome of a particular event, they will make money. Ultimately the teams playing, the stats and trends associated with a particular matchup is secondary - it is the line of the game that is what matters most when capping a game.
What reverse odds analysis forces you to do is work backwards - ask yourself why the books have set the line at a particular number? Vegas have already done the detailed analysis of games, factored in all the trends and stats, team news etc when setting a line. This is why me doing the same kind of analysis is somewhat fruitless exercise. What you need to do is try and determine using reverse odds analysis is who Vegas believes will cover the spread based on the line set. Easier said then done...
Have you ever seen a line in a game and thought to yourself "this looks too easy?" These are commonly known as "trap" games and this is what Vegas wants you to think. My advice when that ever occurs is pass on the game and move on. Sure the ocassional trap games does yield a positive result but in the long run YOU WILL NEVER WIN. The books will always be one step ahead of you.
The most classic example occured in the NFL on Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys were a 1 point favourite against the Colts. A 5-4 team was a one point favourite against a 9-0 team???????????? It is just so obvious, Vegas knew the Cowboys would win but had to set the line as such to get enough action on the Colts. What resulted was the public looking at the line on the Colts, thought to themselves "this is too good to be true" and proceeded to hand over their cash they used to back the Colts to the books. Essentially what Vegas was telling me was should the two teams play in a neutral venue, the Colts would have been a 2 point favourite, and if they had played in Indiana they would have been a 5 point favourite (using the 3 point differential as a rule of thumb). Good grief it's was so damn obvious.
Now the hard part - trying to identify those games that fit into the reverse odds strategy. Not every game will fit into this category. Another thing to note is the above strategy is most successful for American sports where there is most action seen and more money invoved to affect the lines of particular games. Don't even bother with tennis, it won't work IMO.
I've been using this method over the past few months with reasonable success (only paper bets though). I'm going to track my bets and see how I fare, no gurantees that I will make any money but would be interested to see what the results are. The downside is that my perception of the line may not necessarily equate to what Vegas are thinking.
Only sports I will be betting in here will be NBA and NFL.
I feel this goes with the majority of all U.S sports to be honest,to be honest somtimes the line actually tells you the outcome,funny to say but often TRUE!!