Every week in the NFL, bettors will hear about how much public money is on one side or the other compared to how much sharp action a team is getting. This information is meant to inform bettors of trends taking place in the sports betting marketplace before each game. But is public money something that bettors want to fade or follow along with?
What is Public Money?
Public money can best be described as money wagered by more casual bettors. Bettors who are considered a part of the public tend not to have a reputation with the sportsbooks they are using and tend to be in smaller amounts than bigger bettors in the ecosystem. These bettors tend to wager closer to kickoff, as they are usually less concerned with getting the best line for a football game.
Sharp money, on the other hand, is money wagered by bettors who are considered to be more seasoned veterans of the sports betting space. These bettors are respected by sportsbooks and tend to bet in larger amounts than the casual bettor. Because of this, when sharp bettors align on a game, that side tends to see the bulk of the money on it even if a higher percentage of tickets comes in on the other side from the public.
Is Public Money Good or Bad?
Public money is seen as a bad thing by many in NFL betting, as the house is thought to win more than they lose against the public. But how true that is can vary completely from week to week, especially with the legalization of sports betting giving more and more bettors the chance to participate. With a bigger pool of money on both sides of each bet, it is harder to predict when the public money will win and when it will lose.
There are certainly times when the betting public gets a game wrong, but there are also times when the betting public gets a game right as well. Therefore, the answer to the question of whether to fade or follow the public in NFL betting is a disappointing one to some. Instead, bettors should ignore those numbers and instead focus on their own handicapping of each game.
Why You Should Ignore Other Bettors
More important than what the betting public is doing is finding an edge in any NFL game a bettor wagers on. The public might sometimes select the team that has the edge, whether or not they know why that is the case. But bettors who can develop systems to find such edges stand a much better chance of winning than bettors who blindly fade or follow the sentiment of the public.
To do this, bettors have to both watch teams play the sport as well as look at the numbers concerning each team heading into a game. There are numerical advantages and matchup advantages to be found in many games throughout the NFL season. And while those are harder to find than the percentages of tickets and money on each team, there is a better chance of making money by seeking them out.