Sharp vs. Square: What Separates You From the Pros When Making your NFL Picks

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 5:15 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 21, 2015 5:15 PM UTC

Everyone wants to be known as a wise guy but few bettors fit this description. Ultimately most are exposed as the square they truly are & end in the red. Let’s try to break that nasty pattern.

The Steam
Computers have become an invaluable tool for ferreting out information and watching line moves as they happen. But it wasn’t always this way and oftentimes if you were privy to inside information or knew when the big boys were going to blast away at a certain line you could catch your local with his pants down and drill him a new one. Then of course when the line was adjusted and then adjusted again because the word got out you could wait until close to kickoff and bet the other side creating a nice little middle for yourself.` It would go something like this:

Wise guy: “Gimme Dallas -2 ½ for five dimes.”

Bookie: “What’d ya hear?”

Wise guy: “I heard my bookie asking me what I heard when he should be repeating my bet and letting me off the phone so I can get down at three more locations before the line moves.”

Bookie: ”You’re a real wise guy ain’t ya?”

Wise guy: “I sure am.”

So now what we have is the steam play clearly on Dallas -2 ½ which means every second that goes by means more and more sportsbooks are receiving this information and changing their lines instantly. The inner circle, guys like legendary sports bettor Billy Walters, are the movers. They are the genesis of the move and when they get down they go big and they go hard. The sharpshooters want as much money as possible bet at every available out that they have. By the time the average pea-shooter becomes aware of the move, the line in this example could be as high as NFL odds of Dallas -5 which is light years away from 2 ½ because we all know how critically important numbers like 3 and 4 are don’t we? Don’t we?!

Now what constitutes a sharp play may just be a ploy to buy back the other side. So the steam comes in at -2 ½ but what the sharps really want is to drive this number up which will happen when the squares catch wind that the wise guys are on Dallas. The squares don’t care that they’re getting a bad number they just want in. So like lambs to the slaughter the sheeple bet Dallas with both hands in their NFL picks and the sharps sit back and watch that number to continue to rise. Shortly before game time they strike only this time they bet double on the other side and now they have their real target right where they want them – at a tremendous number!

Assuming Dallas is playing the Giants, the sharps got Dallas at -2 ½ but their real target all along was the Giants. By the time the game kicks they now have double the money on the Giants +5 and half the money on Dallas -2 ½ creating a nice middle and an underdog, in this case, with an artificially inflated number.


So How Do I Become a Sharp?

  • Do your homework. Don’t be the guy in Week 1 talking about how Drew Brees is going to carve up the Cardinals secondary by throwing short to Jimmy Graham when anyone who has even remotely followed the NFL offseason knows Graham got shipped to Seattle.

  • Pretend you are your wife or girlfriend (or both) on a shopping spree with a limited budget. Perhaps the word spree and limited budget is a bit of an oxymoron but work with me here. That means you need to shop for the best lines after you narrow down which sides and totals you will include in your NFL picks. Every sharp has multiple outs and so should you which is why I advise perusing SBR odds to see what’s movin’ and groovin’.

  • Don’t ever lay a bad number. Pass the game, forget about it, don’t play it and move on. And though some handicappers will tell you differently I never lay hooks especially on critical numbers like 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 20, 21 and any other number that is a combination of a field goal and a touchdown plus the extra point. Buy the hook.

  • Money Management. It’s vital and you should put together a bankroll devoted just for NFL wagering. A good barometer is 5% per side or total.

  • Finally, you need to win 52.38% of your wagers to break even. Don’t chase your tail if you’re on a cooler and don’t think that your heater will never end. Steady Eddie, easy as she goes, the NFL season is a marathon not a sprint so bet wisely.

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