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Sports Betting 101: How To Use Public Betting Trends To Your Advantage

Matt Brandon Dec 29th 11:29 AM EST.

The betting line and some of the more than 400 proposition bets for Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on January 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The betting line and some of the more than 400 proposition bets for Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on January 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Betting has become a common practice among professional sporting events now that it is legal in most states. While fantasy sports have been wildly popular for many years, gambling has become much more acceptable with the recent legislation that has been passed. The sports betting industry has become massive, but there is no bigger league in the United States than the NFL, and no sport is bet on more than football.

Betting on the NFL makes the game more exciting among fans. Monitoring public betting trends is one of the most pivotal tools used by professional handicappers to find the top wagers in the sports betting marketplace. Public betting trends allow you to track which teams the public is chasing and which teams professional gamblers are high on every week. Check out the current week’s public betting splits for every single game here!

Not an Edge+ Member? Unlock public betting trends by subscribing today! Upgrade to an Edge+ account today and get 50% off your first year at just $99.99 for the year. After a year, the price is going to increase to $199. Lock in your special early-bird deal today! If you don’t want to pay the annual price, you can also subscribe for our monthly $19.99 subscription. Not only will you get all the latest sports betting data and tools, but you will also have access to our premium fantasy tools and content! It’s a no-brainer!


There is a very stark difference between bettors. Some people place wagers for just a few dollars while others are professionals that wager large sums of money on spreads, moneylines, over/unders and other types of bets. It’s important to find the spots where the “smart money” is being wagered. That’s why paying attention to public betting trends can be very helpful when considering your bets. FantasySP has public betting data that can help you determine the top spots to target on any given Sunday.

FantasySP tracks betting data across a variety of sportsbooks. Not only do we look at the percentage of bets, but we also look at the percentage of money on every NFL game. So how can you use this data to find the top spots to wager? First, it’s important to know exactly what this data means.

The percentage of bets is the proportion of bets made on each side of a wager. If we tracked 10,000 bets in a Patriots-Jets game, and 7,000 of them were on the Patriots, 70% of bets would be on New England.

The percentage of money is very different. The percentage of money is the proportion of money bet on each side of a wager. Even if more bets are being placed on the Patriots, perhaps more money is being placed on the Jets in this handle. Let’s say that $10 million is being bet on the Patriots-Jets game. If $6 million is being bet on the Jets despite fewer wagers, New York is still getting 60% of the percentage of money.

It’s much more valuable to look at the percentage of money on a wager because an amateur’s bet counts just as much as a professional gambler’s bet when it comes to the percentage of bets. However, the $5,000 bucks that the professional is wagering versus the $10 that the amateur is betting can be spotted when considering the percentage of money trends.

Now, let’s look at a real example from Week 15 of the 2021 NFL season:

The betting line and some of the more than 400 proposition bets for Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on January 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The betting line and some of the more than 400 proposition bets for Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on January 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On the Public Betting Splits homepage, members can decide if they want to see the public betting stats on either the spread, total, or moneyline. In the example above, subscribers can see that although 65% of the bets against the spread were on the Chiefs, a whopping 67% of the money was on the Chargers. Members also can see which sportsbooks are providing the best odds, depending on which team you want to back. In the above scenario, FanDuel offered the best odds on the Chiefs while DraftKings offered the best odds on the Chargers. 

You can also view individual matchups and view real-time injury updates and game news, projections, stats, play-by-play, and much more! Click here to choose which matchup you would like to look at more closely!

So what particular strategies can we use while looking at public betting trends to maximize our return on investment?

Betting Against The Public

Also known as Contrarian Betting, betting against the public is a simple and perhaps the most popular strategy in sports betting. Whenever you see the public heavily side with one team, it’s a good idea to consider betting the opposite squad. This won’t happen every game, as there is a reason why the public loves the teams they do, but there are plenty of opportunities to make money in these situations. I’m talking about teams like the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys. When the public loads up on one team, Vegas has to move the line in order to attract bets for the other side to reduce their risk. Sportsbooks all across the world do this. Sometimes, the massive influx of public money causes the betting marketplace to act irrationally. You may get an extra point or two on a bet which will increase your winning percentage in the long run. Not only does betting against the public tend to work in football, but it also works in every single major team sport. 

Don’t Get Too Caught Up In The Narrative

Although we all love underdog stories, bettors tend to put their money on favorites. Most of the public sides with the favorite over the underdog, even in events where upsets happen frequently such as March Madness. So if the public is incredibly high on an underdog, there must be a reason. Perhaps the underdog should actually be the favorite. There are also Cinderella stories that make the public go absolutely crazy. Sometimes, people not only want to watch an upset happen, but they want to make some money while they are at it. It’s important to be skeptical in these situations. It can be very easy to jump on the bandwagon and bet based on nothing but public perception. Don’t get too caught up in the narrative. 

Look For Line Shifts

Big line shifts are a great way to make cash. If a line opens at -7 and you really like the underdog, but the line shifts the following morning to -9, jump on it. If an over/under starts at 52 points and then drops to 50 points, don’t be afraid to pound the over. Vegas is typically incredibly accurate when determining original lines and the public is often wrong. However, it is still important to look at what is causing the line shift. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, but sometimes recent news directly correlates with the shift. Maybe a player is injured and is expected to get minimal playing time. Or perhaps a superstar has been suspended. If there is a good reason for the line shift, maybe you don’t want to fade the public. You always want to have the most information at your disposal so that you can make the most well-informed and data-driven decisions.

Consider The Under

The public almost always favors the over versus the under. People like high-scoring affairs rather than defensive battles. But the fact of that matter is, the under hits just as often as the over and the odds are the same. 


Unlock sharp money today! Dominate fantasy and sports betting with advanced tools, projections, predictive analytics, public betting splits, and more. Our tools and services take you from preseason up until the final day of the season. Join the movement now!

#sportsbetting101

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