A mindful bookmaker needs to know how to separate the squares from the sharps. A square is a typical public bettor while a sharp is someone who is a true handicapper. Casinos or bookmakers can usually separate the squares from the sharps by who is placing the wager. A sharp uses gambling as a primary source of income and will rarely place personal bets. Usually relying on a “runner” to do this, and bookmakers eventually come to know these people. Conversely, a square bettor can normally be spotted a mile away. Every bettor who has ever placed a wager over the Internet falls into one of these two catigories. There really isn’t much middle ground; you either wager for fun or you wager for a living. So, what do sharps do that the squares don’t… and vice versa?
- Sharps normally focus on a certain number of games and will only bet on those games. For example, they may set a limit of four games on Monday and six games on Saturday.
- Squares exhibit less discipline or uniformity in their betting style and may bet nothing one day, then bet every game on the board the next.
- Sharps normally wager the same amount on every game (give or take 10%) regardless of whether they’re winning or losing for the day or week.
- Squares adjust their wager amount based upon their emotions or “hunches,” and whether they are ahead or behind for the day or week.
Optimizing the Line
- Sharps wager when they’re certain they are getting the best possible line. Most often this is soon after a line is released. Also known as “lines sharks”.
- Squares tend to ignore lines all week and wager at the last minute or just before game time.
- Sharps do not bet randomly. Once a sharp has established an effective strategy, they rarely deviate from it. Each time a sharp places a wager, he is confident that he has a distinct advantage.
- Squares wager when they’re bored. Often they will place just a few wagers just to have “action,” and when they lose the first wager they end up chasing the remainder of the day.
Crunching the Numbers
- Sharps use mathematical and statistical formulas to analyze each matchup they are thinking of wagering on. Once they come to a conclusion as to who has the advantage, they place their bets accordingly, based on how significant they feel the advantage is. However, as already stated, no one bet is ever more than 10 percent greater than the next.
- Squares base their wagers on none of the above. Most squares will look at things like who won their last game and by how much, but that doesn’t make them sharps. Unless every trend and angle is analyzed, you may as well just flip a coin. Sadly, that’s exactly what some squares do.
Keeping your Emotions In Check
- Sharps don’t sweat their wagers. Once their bets are in, they sit back and wait for the results, knowing that they are in it for the long haul and that their system will work over time.
- Squares place wagers and stress over every play that occurs. They end up angry, depressed, and often take it out on those around them.
- Sharps don’t fall for gimmick bets or exotic wagers. Teasers, parlays, If wins, reverses, and future bets all have their place, but they are best left for the square. A sharp focuses on individual contests (or straight bets) knowing that this is the fastest way to make a profit.
- Squares love exotic wagers. Parlay wagers were invented to give the house a greater advantage. For example, check with your preferred bookmaker and see what odds you can get on a 3-team parlay. Most pay around 4-1, with some as high as 6-1. Those seem like good payouts, but the odds of hitting a 3-teamer are 8-1, so who really has the advantage? Meanwhile, you may hit two out of three games and still lose your bet.
Knowing The Game
- Sharps know the ins and outs of wagering. They are aware that they only need to win more than 55% of the time to come out ahead. Anything over that is pure profit.
- Squares have too much pride and therefore wager more recklessly. They believe they should hit every wager they make. No one wins all the time; it’s simply not possible.
Playing To Your Strengths
- Sharps know their strengths and weaknesses, and wager accordingly. They freely admit that a certain sport may not be their forte, and they limit wagering on that particular sport, while focusing on sports where they have a better track record.
- Squares will bet on anything and everything. Soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, bocce, lawn darts; it doesn’t matter. If they can watch it on television or get the scores on the Internet, they’ll bet on it.
- Sharps have a bankroll that they can afford to lose. No one plans on losing, especially a sharp, but losing streaks do happen and a sharp will only wager as much as he can afford to lose. The typical wager for a sharp is about 2%t of his entire bankroll, give or take a few percent.
- Squares often wager with money that cannot afford to lose, in which case the rent or a car payment ends up late or unpaid altogether. Furthermore, if a square has lost 50 percent of his bankroll, he will often bet the remaining 50% “chasing” or trying to “get even” in a hurry.
- Sharps have accounts with multiple bookmakers and shop around to get the best lines.
- Squares work with just one bookmaker and they are stuck with whatever line is offered.
So, now that you know the difference between a sharp and a square, and what their betting tendencies are, which one are you? Don’t be disappointed if you have to admit to being a square, you’re certainly not alone. The average bettor is a square and true sharps are extremely rare. The good news is that no one starts out as a sharp, and just because you are a square now doesn’t mean you always will be. With some study, dedication, and a plan, anyone can turn turn sports betting into a profitable business.