Sharp Players, also known as Wise Guys, know how to spot bad sportsbook lines, exploit them, and place winning bets as a result. Sharp Players tend to expose themselves after winning many bets, so most sportsbooks will offer them adjusted lines to protect themselves from heavy financial losses.
Believe it or not, there are actually a group of players known commonly as "sharp" or "wise guys", because their advanced knowledge of sports betting, lines, and betting, allows them to place a high number of successful bets at online sportsbooks. As a result, the sportsbook gets taken to the cleaners, and the players make off with great winnings. Top sharp players tend to play at the best and most reliable sportsbooks, mostly because they want to be treated fairly and paid on time. It would be pointless to place a winning bet at an online sportsbook that wouldn't pay out. Accordingly, Sharp Players know the industry and who the best operators are.
How can someone be a "sharp" player or "wise guy"? First of all, just because you win a few bets, you're not necessarily sharp, you might just be lucky. To be a true sharp player, you have to approach sports betting from the point of view that you're taking advantage of bad lines/odds and can potentially profit off a given sportsbook's mistakes. This means that luck is not an important element: instead, you have to have a mathematical mind, fully understand how lines work and move, and know how to keep a low profile so that you're not exposed to a lot of heat from sportsbook management.
If you spot a bad line, and then proceed to deposit a large sum of money and bet appropriately, this is a general tip-off to sportsbook staff that they may have made an error with their line calculations. It's better to join a few reputable sportsbooks and keep a low profile by betting small amounts of money on a few games here and there, and then bet big when the time is right.
Is it illegal to be a sharp player? Absolutely not. You may not be popular with the sportsbook industry, but there is nothing wrong with placing winning bets that originate from the knowledge that a sportsbook has made bad line calculations. The sharp sportsbook player is much like the professional blackjack card counter: there is no law on the books that makes card counting illegal, but you may find yourself getting barred from casinos because they don't want your winning bets to cost them a lot of money.
How does a sharp player operate in the internet age? Again, with a relatively low profile. Believe it or not, top linesmakers and sportsbook managers pal around with other linesmakers and managers, and they share intelligence about winning players. As a result, if you're consistenting beating sportsbook A, you might find that by the time you move to sportsbook B, you're already on the short list for "adjusted" lines.. Some players may use false IDs or account names to hide their true identity. This tactic works to get in the door, but if you want to get paid out, eventually you will have to expose, at bare minimum, your e-wallet account name, bank account name, or mailing address. So, though you might get away with one big score, subsequent scores with your name attached to them will become harder to accomplish.
If I buy picks, am I sharp player? This point is debateable. Most professionals would say no: buying sports picks is something everyone can do, and everyone that buys picks doesn't get tagged as a sharp player. The sharp player doesn't need to buy picks because they already know how to bet. Furthermore, sports handicapping is an entirely different body of knowledge that is in many ways unrelated to sharp play. Handicappers attempt to predict outcomes based on sports knowledge and technical game analysis, whereas sharp players look to exploit sportsbook weaknesses in their favor. Very rarely will a sports handicapper post a pick based on a bad line, simply because the sportsbook will get wind of it and change the line time for the game.
Sharp or not, winning at sports betting is still a tough gig. If you want an edge, study lines and learn the important mathematical formulas that go into computing them. Place "practice" bets on paper and see if you win before investing your money in a high stakes gamble. In the end, to keep your edge, you have to stay one step ahead of the sportsbook at all times, and this requires as much time and attention as any other full time career job. Good Luck and Have Fun!
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