Odds and their movements present a unique opportunity to gauge what the bookie thinks and how the markets react to them.
Although the position that bookmakers take in public relations exercises is that they stand to make the most when there is an equal amount of bets on both teams in a match, the reality is that sometimes bookmakers think that a certain outcome is likely and use the odds as a psychological tool to draw the public into betting on the team they think will lose.
As the public likes to bet on favourites most times and these favourites do not lose or draw often enough for the bookmakers’ appetite, it makes sense that they use this psychological function mostly in Asian Handicap odds. This is where the public can lose if they bet on favourites who win by just goal.
Considering how the bookie always wins from the general betting public in the long run, it is wise to piggyback on the bookies’ predictions by considering how they market the odds.
Exploiting the Odds
You can tell what the bookie is trying to achieve from the early odds. If the top of the table-team is giving a ½ ball handicap to the number two team in the table, it is usually too high. The bookie is seducing you to bet on the underdog.
How do you tell if people have fallen for the trap?
Study the movement of the odds. Study it over two or three days. Check for large trends once or twice a day for three days and check the odds a last time an hour or two just before the match.
You can tell that most of the public are betting on a team when the price and odds on the team gets less favourable. Take note of heavy action where odds or prices have big movements.
Normally, the bookie likes to lay traps on favourites and popular teams which the public likes to bet on. So look out for favourable opening or early odds on these teams which eventually climb to normal levels when the match is about to start. (This take some experience and study.)
Check match facts against the odds movements. Check for Class, Form, Motivation and other factors as described in THE GUIDE. Is there something that most of the public wouldn’t know? If the non-favourite team exhibits traits that could help them win (or draw) or if the favourite team has some factors going against them, bet on the underdog just like the bookie, when the betting public is going heavy on the favourites.
The Other Parties Involved
That was the most common scenario. However, there are other parties around – big timers with inside knowledge, betting syndicates, match-fixers, etc who are not necessarily friendly to the bookie.
Sometimes, the big odd movements are caused by these parties (less often) and not by the betting public. When you see particularly heavy betting on weak teams, check the various factors and if you realise there’s no reason for it, be aware of such ‘big boy’ action going on. In this case, go with the flow of the betting. That is, bet on those teams which are being bet heavily on.
How do you make sure that the heavy betting is by these big boys in the know? Check out the forums. If everyone there seems to say they are betting on one team but the betting odds prove that money is being poured on the other, you will know that the heavy betting is not done by the Joe Publics.
The bookies need to let the public win sometimes. When? When the action is low. When you see little action on popular favourites from the odds movement and the asian handicap is reasonably high against the favourites, you might choose to bet on the favourites then.