Benefits of fading the public

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Benefits of fading the public

Professional handicappers use different systems to put together their personal power rankings. Numbers guys are heavy on analytics. Situational handicappers weigh circumstances. Old-school wiseguys consider human elements like travel, weather and off-the-field issues. Others incorporate all of the above.

Something they all have in common, though, is fading the public, which is the industry term for systematically going against recreational bettors.

That’s the primary reason sharp guys wait until just before kickoff to make some of their heaviest plays, because that’s when lines boast the most value thanks to the tidal wave of square money that flows in on gameday.

As a general principle, taking the opposite side of the public has historically been a positive-expectation wager (evidenced merely by the continued existence and profitability of sportsbooks). In context, fading the public comes into play even more as the NFL season hits the home stretch.

As opposed to early on, when bettors can take stabs at a variety of plays – moneyline underdogs, high-profile favorites, overs – and cash in at a solid rate because bookmakers are still calibrating, by December those opportunities all but disappear. The books are locked in and the strength of the numbers they put out reflects that.

For illustration, look no further than the Broncos (3-2 on overs after 8-0 start), Saints (1-2-1 against the spread after a 6-3 start) and Cowboys (1-4 in their last five ATS after beginning the season 7-1). All are teams favored by the public. And all have been harnessed to some degree by the books after scorching starts.

The good news is those kinds of trends mean next to nothing to the public. Vacationers and recreational bettors continue to stream into Vegas on Fridays and Saturdays, and sure as the sun rising in the east, they continue to bet public teams and overs.

Thus while opportunities for beating the book may be drying up this time of year, fading the public is something that should be on the minds of anyone looking to make a few bucks down the stretch of the NFL campaign.

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