#Betting101: Are You Sharp or Square ... Wait What Does That Even Mean?

Jason Lake

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 7:22 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 7:22 PM UTC

They say the sports betting world is divided into sharps and squares. What do these words really mean? And should we really be using them when we profile bettors?

Back in the day, when I was new to the world of sports betting, I was taught a very important lesson. This world is a marketplace, and in this market, you’ll find two types of bettors: sharps and squares. The sharps are the ones who beat the odds on a consistent basis. The squares are the ones who don’t. In this market, it’s not you against the sportsbook – it’s sharps vs. squares, and the sharps win in the long run.

For the most part, that wisdom holds true today. In fact, if you were at the inaugural International Football Betting Conference earlier this month, you got to hear that lesson from Gill Alexander, one of the more notable figures in sports betting. Did you miss out? No problem: Here’s the video evidence.

Not only does Alexander define “sharp” in its most fundamental terms, he goes on to explain the need for bettors to stay sharp by keeping their heads on straight. Humility is key; marketplaces become more efficient over time, and you have to keep working on your process to make sure you’re always ahead of the curve.

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Fine Tuning

This is where a lot of would-be wiseguys get tripped up. You might have some natural gifts when it comes to intelligence. You might know a lot about sports. You might be good at math, and investing, and human psychology, and everything else that sharp bettors can use to gain an edge. But those talents don’t make you sharp. You make yourself sharp by putting in more time and effort to hone your skills than the competition does.

If you really want to separate yourself from the squares, here’s an idea: Don’t. The term “square” is ultimately a pejorative term, used to insult people who place bets without maximizing their expected returns. In the end, that’s all of us. We’re all a little square. There’s been a push in recent years to do away with all this square talk; recreational or casual bettor is much more appropriate, in the parlance of our times.

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Are You a Sharp or Are You Square? Wait ... do I even really know what that means? #Betting101 #NFL #NCAAF https://t.co/zpdddordTI pic.twitter.com/pFVmRl9DQ9

— SBR Sports Picks (@SBRSportsPicks) August 30, 2017

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To You, Is "Square" a Four-Letter Word in the World of Sportsbetting?

— SBR Sports Picks (@SBRSportsPicks) August 29, 2017

What do you think? Let us know by answering this poll, and we’ll be back soon with some more #Betting101 goodness.


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