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Making You a Better Bettor
by Pinnacle Sportsbook

Part I: Making You a Better Bettor

Welcome to the new, improved Pinnacle Pulse, from Pinnacle Sports, the leading online sports book. Those bettors who've been around for a while will know that each week's Pinnacle Pulse gives an inside look at what dictates early line movements on key games: size of the movements, expected movement before game time, and the source of the money - professional or public.

Now we're aiming to go one step further to make you a better bettor. Just as we revolutionized the online gaming industry by offering low-juice lines on practically every sport under the sun, now we want to make the Pinnacle Pulse mandatory reading for all bettors everywhere. Skeptical? This is a bold claim, but give us a month and we are confident we can make a believer out of you.

How are we going to do that? By providing exclusive betting information and systems you won't find anywhere else. Each week, we will have our bookmakers - seasoned traders who are at the pinnacle of the industry - share tips for beating the market. Look for a new topic with each weekly column to deepen your understanding of how lines move and how professionals think, while providing you with the necessary tools to beat the house.

Why would we do this? We believe that if we can improve the sophistication of players everywhere, more bettors will recognize the benefit of our unique pricing model. We've long been the destination of choice for professionals, who know that Pinnacle Sports offers up to 60% better value than other bookmakers. Our low-juice structure has given sharp bettors, as well as many novice players, bigger returns on their cash, and now you too can benefit.

So welcome to the new Pinnacle Pulse, the only weekly column written by professionals about professionals, now designed to make players everywhere smarter.

Part II: Bet Early to Avoid Disappointment

One simple tactic can improve the results of the majority of bettors. Amazingly, only a small portion of players take advantage of it at the sportsbook. That betting strategy is to bet early. Overnight lines are the betting world's gift to players, allowing them to get good numbers across the board. It even helps you pick better sides! Once you experiment with betting overnight, it will quickly become clear that it offers you better value. I'm here to explain why, and how best to take advantage of that opportunity.

What moves the odds? Money. When money talks, sportsbooks listen. Books seek to get two-way action, with roughly equal money on both sides. If the current odds fail to produce that, then the book will increase the price to bet on the team everyone likes and make the unpopular team cheaper. Sometimes the market also moves as the result of a new development, such as an unexpected lineup or an injury report, but most moves come from the bettors. Moves can happen quickly due to large bets from big players or gambling syndicates (also known as steam moves), and they can come gradually as the public weighs in on the game.

As a bettor, you need to decide when to bet in addition to what to bet on and how much to risk. As an aspiring sharp bettor, you doubtless have good reasons for liking the team you want to back, and by placing a bet, you've concluded that the team has value at the current price. Whatever reasons you might have, chances are that other people share those same opinions. They will bet on the same team, and together you will often make the price to bet your team more expensive. Even instinctive handicappers will tend to pick up on the same things that other instinctive handicappers do.

If the closing line for the game is the market's best guess as to what the fair price is, you're more likely to see value in those teams that are currently cheaper than what their closing price will be, while you'll be less likely to find teams priced higher than their closing price attractive. Thus not only are the teams you like going to get more expensive over time, but the ones that will get cheaper are exactly the ones you're most likely to avoid due to the price! The earlier you bet, the more value you are likely to find. This extra value can turn losing players into break even players and turn break even players into winners.

That said, there are three good reasons not to use overnight lines. The first reason is that overnight it is harder to shop around for the best price because many books have not yet posted their odds. If your only outs are at books that charge full commission or "juice" for wagering and you must lay -110 to bet (wager $110 to win $100) then this is a strong reason to wait, you should only bet early when you feel your edge is large. However, in baseball many books offer a "dime" line, and if you use Pinnacle Sports you pay only -105 to wager, even on totals and Runlines. For moneylines in MLB, Pinnacle Sports offers the best value, using a -104 line set all the way to -188. Baseball is almost impossible to beat without access to at least a dime line and ideally you should keep multiple dime lines available to shop around for the best price.

The second reason you might skip overnight lines is size. The overnight limits are smaller because books know that their lines frequently offer value and their volume will come closer to the start of the game; some books don't offer overnight lines at all to protect themselves. Most bettors are not big enough for this to be an issue on major sports. Pinnacle Sports lets you bet $10,000 on MLB moneylines overnight and $5,000 on runlines and totals. That is enough for all but an elite few, but even the $500 overnight limits at most sportsbooks are enough for the majority of customers.

The third reason you might skip the overnights is timing. Most bettors don't want to plan that far in advance, preferring to see the results of today's games, collect other information and do more handicapping. Others simply want to concentrate on watching games and relaxing once the games begin, and don't want to be distracted with thoughts of tomorrow. If you're a casual bettor trying to maximize the value of your bankroll, make sure overnight betting agrees with you. As you get more serious about your betting, it will become more important to get the best value.

Unless you are predicting that your team is likely to get cheaper, line shopping the next day is rarely as valuable as the overnight lines. Thus, all serious players should bet overnight to maximize their advantages.

We like it when players bet overnight for the same reason: You get value, but we get to sharpen our line. In an earlier column, we referred to the sharp overnight bettors as the "Hundred Dollar Geniuses" and this label fits many overnight players. The secret is that you don't have to be a genius to be an overnight winner, just a solid bettor. When you focus in on a game and give it your full attention, you're paying more attention to it than anyone at a sportsbook can afford to pay on that one game. Out-thinking the market is far more difficult than out-thinking a soft early number. Why bet into a sharp line when you can bet into a soft one?

A final note is that many players seem to want the opposite, and this can be baffling. Often we'll see players wait until we raise our limits, then bet an amount far less than the old limit. Our best guess is that these bettors want to know they're getting a fair price and not get tricked or feel foolish. They want a solid line. But why would you want to make it as hard as possible to find value? That circled game doesn't mean the book is setting a trap - it means the book is afraid that if you bet into the game, you'll be a winner.

What are our sharps betting on these days?

By the time you read this, any individual games I talk about will be long over. Instead, I will discuss teams and perhaps in the future pitchers that are attracting sharp attention, starting with a trio of bad teams.

Texas Rangers
When a team struggles, the question on everyone's mind is: Are they really that bad? Most of the time, the squares say yes and the sharps say no, or at least not so fast. Teams are never as good as they look when they're winning and they're never as bad as they look when they're losing. That's the conventional wisdom, and the skeptics turn out to be right the majority of the time. This is especially true in baseball with all its time for random fluctuations and even the largest favorites being about three to one. The Rangers are looking bad, and it's not that anyone thinks they're good. The sharps do however feel strongly that they are not as bad as they appear, and bet on them consistently through several re-evaluations.

Kansas City Royals
The baseball world is used to the Royals being awful, with talk of how big a disgrace it would be if they pass the White Sox for fourth place. The Royals may still be in the basement, but they're far from the hopeless disaster from a year ago. This team has been and is being rebuilt from top to bottom and is improving steadily as its players gain experience. Kansas City also seems to enjoy a strong home field advantage.

St. Louis Cardinals
It seems like everyone finally woke up and realized these aren't the cards they're looking for. The All-Star break seems to have been the last straw, and now the Cardinals have lost whatever luster is left. This time, there is no resistance, there is only freefall. The sharps aren't lining up against them, but no one is stepping in to defend them either, and that's what you would expect from this kind of value shift. If things don't improve for them, they could get a lot worse.