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What Differentiates Long-Term Winning and Losing Players?
by Pinnacle Sportsbook

As a general rule there are two groups of gamblers betting on sports - those who hope to profit, and those who expect to profit. The vast majority of gamblers belong to the first group, and always will, because their actions contradict their intentions. There is no simple secret to attaining long-term profitability in sports betting. All professional players serve a long apprenticeship, but if you aspire to join this elite group, there are some myths that need to be exploded, and some basic concepts that you need to come to grips with, in order to make the transition from 'casual' to 'professional'.

Evolving from Casual to Professional

At Pinnacle Sports we categorize a professional player (or 'sharp') as one who we expect to win over the long-term. How can we tell if any given player will be a consistent winner going forward? The most accurate way is to compare the odds a player received when they placed a bet with the closing price for that particular market.

If a player consistently beats our closing price at Pinnacle Sports, they are likely to be a long-term winner. Interestingly, we have found that this test is more indicative of a player's future winning potential, than their historical win/loss record with the company.

For example, our closing Asian Handicap price on Manchester Utd. versus Man City in the recent Derby was (-1/2) 1.909, so if a customer played (-1/2) 1.962 earlier in the week - that was a sharp bet, regardless of whether the bet won or lost. When a player can anticipate the line movement and does this consistently over a series of 100 bets or more, that player is conclusively sharp, and likely to register substantial profits in the long run if applying the same approach.

What's the quickest way to identify a player that needs to adjust their style of betting? Simple - one who plays at a 'bad' price. If other online bookmakers offered a closing price on Man City at (+1/2) 1.869 and a player bet that price, instead of taking the superior odds of (+1/2) 2.02 available at Pinnacle Sports, he is almost certainly not sharp. Even if he has been winning thus far, that player will probably lose over time.

Line Shopping

You can use this information to your advantage by adopting the process known as "line” or comparison shopping. Not only is it second nature to sharp players, but it is one of the easiest ways for any player to increase their potential winnings by always playing at the best available price. This is achieved by actively seeking best prices through odds comparison sites, and having accounts at multiple online sports books so that you no longer remain a captive to the high margins of traditional bookmakers. Ideally you should hold a portfolio of accounts including a betting exchange, one or two reduced commission bookmakers such as Pinnacle Sports together with a couple of traditional books, where you'll find inflated favorite prices and most likely attractive odds on the underdog.

The objective when comparison shopping is to shrink the margins on both sides of any given event by as much as possible. This will allow you to be in the ideal position to lay 1.962 on the favorite at one bookie and take back better than even money at another book, guaranteeing a profit no matter which team or player wins.

One word of caution when including a betting exchange when line shopping - always remember to compare the price AFTER commission has been deducted. A price offered may look appealing at first, but if 5% commission is deducted it may not be as attractive as you first thought. It's always worth remembering that unlike an exchange, Pinnacle Sports never charges commission on winning bets.

The Pinnacle Challenge

Still not convinced about comparative shopping? If you don't have an account yet at Pinnacle Sports, try taking the "Pinnacle Challenge". Whenever you place a bet, check the odds on that wager at Pinnacle Sports compared to the price you played at. Pinnacle Sport Multi-Way Calculator will tell you the exact difference in market percentage which is the edge the bookmaker or exchange holds over you. Don't be surprised at how much money you may be missing out on by not having an account at Pinnacle Sports!

Why is a Bookmaker telling me this?

Pinnacle Sports's philosophy is that if we can improve the sophistication of players everywhere, more bettors will recognize the benefit of our unique pricing model, which offers up to 60% better odds. Pinnacle Sports benefits from educating its players, as it is sharp bettors who firm up our early prices on all markets offered, that allows us to provide the highest limits and most competitive odds around.