Recently, there was a discussion in the Pregame forum regarding the suspected release of opposing sides in the same game by a handicapper. It turned out that there was nothing evil going on, but the attitude of some posters left no room for the possibility of a legitimate reason for opposite sides.
Most sports bettors treat the recommendation of opposite sides by a sports advisor as invariably evil. There are many times, however, when the release of opposite sides of the same game is completely legitimate.
Releasing opposite sides of the same game got its bad reputation from a con game run by fraudulent sports advisory services. These services would give half their customers one side of the game, while giving the other half the other side of the game on the same day at the same line. By so doing, they guaranteed that at least half their customers would be winners.
The above procedure was most often used in conjunction with a refund guarantee if the selection lost. By giving out opposite sides of the game, the tout is the only one who couldn't lose. He was always collecting fees from half his customers.
Sometimes, the tout might even offer up to 50% extra if the play lost. So long as the tout gave an equal number of customers each side of the game, the losers were refunded all of their own money plus a portion of the winners' money. The tout kept the rest by simply flipping a coin and making some phone calls.
The fact that the release of opposite sides can be used as a part of a fraud, however, does not mean that the practice can be labeled as evil without any examination of the circumstances.
Sports selection marketing sites, such as Pregame, automatically sell opposite sides every day as part of their release of plays from multiple handicappers. If one puts 20+ handicappers together, all handicapping independently, it would be very unusual for there to be no disagreement among them. All the handicappers can be winners over time and still there can be opposite opinions on one or more specific games every week.
Some sports advisors also market services from other advisors So long as the other services being marketed are completely independent, these sports advisors may also legitimately market opposite opinions from the different handicappers and themselves.
You can avoid ever purchasing opposite side recommendations by simply following one handicapper at a time. If you do follow more than one handicapper, you must have a set and invariable selection method whenever there are conflicts.
When purchasing selections from more than one handicapper, you should either eliminate opposite recommendations from your betting, or devise some consistent method of choice between the handicappers. Whether you choose a selection method or eliminate the game, you should do so consistently. If you turn your method of dealing with opposite opinions into a guessing game, you will not be getting the full benefit of the edge to be obtained by following a skilled handicapper.
What definitely won't work if you purchase selections from multiple handicappers is the advice given several years ago by a Joe Atkins salesman to a bettor I know. Joe's service also marketed the selections of a handicapper named Randy White. The salesman was attempting to sell the bettor both services.
"What should I do if Joe and Randy are on opposite sides?
" the bettor queried.
"Bet both picks,
" came the reply from the salesman.
Releasing opposite sides can also result from the necessity of making early selections, combined with late changes in game fundamentals or movement of the line.
The earlier selections are made, the more unknowns there are, and the more things affecting the game that may change before game time
There are many reasons for releasing selections early:
Services that publish newsletters need to get those newsletters written, printed, and in the mail or to the news stand distributors by no later than Monday if the newsletter is to get to readers before the Thursday games. The selections in the newsletter must, of necessity, be made over the preceding week, before the results and injuries of that week are fully known. It should not surprise anyone if selections in a newsletter are different from, and often opposite, the same handicapper's late phone service plays released on game day, when the handicapper has the prior week results, can examine the box scores from the prior week, has up-to-date injury information, and knows the weather.
The handicapper should, however, make the situation clear in both his newsletter and to his game-day selection clients. Further, the handicapper's advertised record should only be based on his final selection changes. If his final selection changed, the handicapper should not take credit in the newsletter for the winner. Unfortunately, few newsletter publishers function honestly in this regard.
Even sports advisors who do not publish newsletters may be required to release selections before all the necessary game information is available. Customers are often less interested in accurate selections than they are in convenience. For various reasons, many customers want to get their picks early in the week, or at worst, early on game day. Customer demand can cause the release of selections before all late game information is known. That may result in selection changes when the handicapper releases selections to late phone subscribers later.
Finally, one of the biggest reasons for betting or releasing opposite sides is line movement. Changing fundamentals will cause only about 10% of those line moves. The rest are caused by public betting patterns or by the big money betting syndicates. Some of the biggest and most extreme line moves are created by intentional line manipulation.
Line manipulation has been previously discussed in the articles Syndicate FAQ's #2,
and Betting with the Smart Money.
If market manipulation is the aim, when the early bet is made, the intent is to bet on the opposite side later in the week. Services that release plays based on line movements, or based on the actions of known syndicate runners, may, very honestly, release opposite sides simply because the wise guy group itself has bet opposite sides.
Opposite sides may be intentionally released to the same people to capture middles. A few months ago I wrote a forum post
about creating middles in series betting. Release of opposite sides is also common during my half-time reports. At the half of a game there is a wealth of information regarding game time decisions, mid-game injuries, the ability of players who are not 100%, and the general way that the teams are matching up and their game plans are working. Half time lines can also be significantly different from the game line. It is not unusual for the full game favorite to be an underdog in half time betting. All these factors result in frequent changing of sides during half time betting.
Playing opposite sides is an important part of smart money betting, and the release of opposite sides by a sports service when an opinion changes can be more honest than simply sticking to an opinion when the information and circumstances change. I'll discuss the signs that indicate possibly fraudulent opposite siding, the best ways to handle selections from multiple services in future articles.