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Sharp money is money wagered by sports bettors whose opinion is respected by the sportsbook. This small group of mostly professional gamblers help the sportsbook determine the correct odds on a sporting event.

Recreational sports bettors or squares use sports betting as a leisure activity and typically have no idea just how much the odds are stacked against them.

In an effort to kill boredom square bettors wager on sports just to have action or recapture the adrenaline rush felt while watching the basketball team they bet on drain a buzzer beating three-point basket to cover the spread. This behavior is often exacerbated under the influence of alcohol or peer pressure by fellow square bettors.

This impetus to bet usually leads to a string of bad habits which ultimately ends with the bettor losing more than they win.

Instead of doing their homework the amateur quickly drains thier wallet after seeking and unfortunately taking the advice of sports pundits, friends with a bias or by over rating their alma-mater.

The square bettor will place their wagers when it is convenient, failing to use strategy while disregarding line movement. Hurried betting minutes before game time is the norm. Finding the closest or easiest to navigate sportsbook is more important to the square bettor then taking time to locate the book with the best line or price.

This formula for losing is compounded by being oblivious to the fact that even if they pick more winners then losers they may not be profitable over the long haul without proper money management.

The squares idea of money management is gathering as much cash as they can find and betting random amounts depending how they feel about each game. Inevitably they have a winning weekend and feeling particularly confident with the help of a few beers they give away yesterday's profit on a single losing wager today.

Conversely the gambler who had a bad Sunday betting on the NFL feels the need to chase their losses. Betting on Monday Night Football becomes mandatory because it is the last opportunity to at least break even before next weekend's games.

Another pitfall and favorite choice for square bettors are parlays. Parlays are a big payoff illusion too appealing for many gamblers to resist. Unaware that the odds of winning a three game parlay versus the point spread are not much bettor then 1 in 10 square bettors eagerly lay down their money for a chance at a big pay day.

Having failed at previous sports betting endeavors the square bettor racks their brain for a system that will cure their sports betting ills. After much contemplation they finally see the light and the holy grail of sports betting is revealed, progressive betting. Progressive betting is an inherently flawed method that has been tried at least once by every gambler. Although there are many variations of progressive betting the simplest form is to bet the same amount after each win and double your bet after each loss. The problem is that even if your first bet is only $100 you will be down $1500 after four consecutive losses; $100, $200, $400 and $800.

While square bettors think they understand what it takes to be a profitable gambler, sharp bettors know how to make sports betting pay off. Sharp bettors use a combination of study, hard work and experience to consistently beat the bookie.

There is no randomness to the sharps selections. Each bet is treated like a deeply scrutinized and calculated investment. The sharp will only bet when they know they have an edge over the sportsbook.

Unlike the square bettor the sharp bettor knows that he will not win every bet. The season is grind and plans are made accordingly. Goals are measured is months and years not days and weeks. Winning 55% of their bets against the spread over a twelve month period is considered a very good year.

Sharp bettors establish a bankroll, an amount of money set aside for investing in sports betting markets.

Sharp bettors also take advantage of sportsbooks that offer better odds then the standard ten percent commission or juice charged on losing wagers.

Sharp bettors will visit multiple local casinos and check the price at offshore sportsbooks in order to get the most favorable price.

After in depth study has determined a set of games that are worthy of betting and the best odds have been located the sharp bettor plots their next move. Maybe by waiting the line will shift in the bettor's favor increasing their chance of winning. Sportsbooks desire equal action in terms of dollars on both sides of a spread, moneyline or total. Although this is nearly impossible to achieve some balance does lower the sportsbook's risk.

When the money flows to one team and is unbalanced the sportsbook will move the line to attract betting on the other side. This is usually in increments of a half point for point spreads and totals and by cents on the moneyline. While observing line movement a sharp bettor may wait until just before game time to bet or decide to wager shortly after the opening lines are released if the line starts to move against them.

Big line moves at sportsbooks known to have high betting limits may indicate that a wager was placed by a respected sports bettor. If a wager initiates a line change it is considered sharp money regardless of the amount bet. If this is the case other sportsbooks will quickly adjust their line on that game before followers chasing steam can bet and leave the book exposed. Sharp bettors can take advantage of steam plays by betting at slow moving sportsbooks or by re-evaluating their wager if the steam indicates that the sharp money is betting the other side.

Being a sharp bettor does not have to mean that gambling is your full-time occupation. Identify any detrimental betting habits you have and start thinking like a sharp. Before you know it sportsbooks will be adjusting their lines because of your sharp play.

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