Sharps can be an unfamiliar term to most sports bettors, including those who bet most often. The reason is that most players look to sports betting for fun, and they might think winning will depend a lot on luck. However, the sharps in sports betting often do not think so.

The sharps in sports betting are often known as players with higher odds of winning than the average person. They don't win all the time, but they can really make a profit in the long run through sports betting. In the same way that financial investment advisors guide you where to invest, you can leverage sharps' betting experience to increase your sports betting returns in the long run.

In today's post, we'll take a closer look at what sharps are, how to tell where sharps are betting, and whether or not you should follow what they do. Come on, let's get started.

What is a Sharp in Sports Betting?

A sharp is someone who understands what they're doing when it comes to sports betting. Sharps are knowledgeable, experienced, and successful sports bettors. They may be professional gamblers, but this is not always the case.

Simply put, sharps are sports bettors that are more skilled than most other players. They don't always win the bet, but the probability of winning their bet is usually higher than the average person. People often think of sports betting as a game of chance, and players will have a 50 percent chance of winning. However, that is not true for sharps, as statistics show their percentage can be somewhere around 55%, and some can even reach 60%.

The Truth About a Sharp in Sports Betting
Source: Freepik

Usually, sportsbooks are well aware of the sharps on their platform. The opinions of these particular players are always kept in mind by the operators, and it can somehow influence the sportsbook to adjust the line to secure their profits. If a number of sharp bettors take the same side of a game, the line will almost certainly shift, even if that side is not the most popular.

How Can You Tell What Sharps are Betting?

Knowing what action the sharps are doing is extremely challenging for the casual sports bettor, or even impossible. The sharps are hugely successful in sports betting, and of course, that doesn't bode well for the sportsbooks. Therefore, operators often tend to limit the influence of sharps on the betting decisions of other players. You won't be able to find anything on the Internet like “Attention! The sharps are betting on the Miami Heat!”

Although it is very difficult, in reality, if you really put in the effort to keep track of the progress of the odds and many other complex factors, you can still guess which team the sharps are choosing in their bet ticket. Below, we will analyze three main methods for you to guess the action of the sharps.

Bet vs Money Discrepancies

The sharps are not sports bettors just for fun. Therefore, they are always looking to maximize the profits on their bets, and betting with low amounts is not a priority for them. Usually, if sharps choose a certain team to trust, they tend to wager a large amount of money.

So, how useful is that theory in figuring out what the sharps are betting on? The answer is: When comparing the number of tickets (bets) to the percentage of actual money on that side, you may get a decent sense of how sharps are betting.

To better understand what we just said, consider the example below:

In the match between Newcastle and Arsenal at the EPL, there are 25% of bets on Newcastle, and Arsenal takes 75% of the remaining bets. However, the bet on Newcastle is 40%, and Arsenal is 60%. Based on the theory, it is very likely that the sharps are betting on Newcastle, as with a small number of bets, this team still accounts for almost half of the bet money.

However, information about the number of bets and the amount bet for each side is always kept confidential by sportsbooks. Therefore, unless you somehow obtain the correct information regarding this, this solution is for reference only.

Reverse Line Movement

This is the best way you can use to guess which side the sharps are leaning towards in the match. If the odds suddenly change when the match is about to get underway without any special events that drastically impact either side's advantage (injury for example), that is the clearest evidence. about how operators are adjusting the line to balance profits when they know which side the sharps are choosing.

Let's go back to the example above to see more clearly. Let's say the point spread was Arsenal -2.5 before the game, and that suddenly changed to Arsenal -2 just 5 minutes before the game started, then that means the sportsbooks are taking action to get more players to bet on Arsenal. In other words, the operators know that the sharp is leaning in the side of Newcastle, and they are forced to do so in order to make more money from the usual bettors choosing Arsenal.

In short, every time you see the odds for one side suddenly change in a strange way, ask yourself why the sportsbooks do it. Operators are always smart people, and they have no reason to suddenly change the odds so that one side suddenly has an advantage over the other. Therefore, tracking reverse line movement is a viable and effective way to guess which team the sharp bettors choose.

Steam Moves

Steam moves are still essentially reverse line movements, but it involves multiple sportsbooks making a sudden and drastic move on a single betting line. For example, it's the same action of changing Arsenal's line as in the example above, but if you see a bunch of betting platforms changing that in just a short time, that's a clear sign of sharps leaning to the opposite side.

However, in order to get the same information in multiple sportsbooks, your task is to follow every sportsbook possible so that you can stay up to date with the different happenings in various parts of the sports betting market. Of course, most casual bettors choose to skip this because it's too complicated to implement. Even so, if you have enough patience and effort, this solution can completely help you somewhat understand the intentions of the sharp bettors.

Can Recreational Players Follow Pro Bettors?

Of course, learning from highly skilled people is always the key to success in any field. However, the case of sharp bettors is an exception, where following their betting actions is extremely challenging and it is not easy for a beginner to guess the true intentions of the sharps.

The reason is very simple: sharp activity frequently results in betting line changes, which as we mentioned, is a significant obstacle if you are not a gambling expert or a super monitor of the fluctuations in each of the enormous sportsbooks in the market.

Let's go back to the example above to better understand what we are talking about. After the point spread changed from Arsenal -2.5 to Arsenal -2, you can assume that the sharps are betting on Newcastle. However, what if 30 seconds later the odds for Newcastle suddenly changed from +2 to +3? Something is not right here. If so, would the sharps change their mind and bet against their previous bet? We don't think so.

That is a prime example of how often the constant volatility of the betting line can leave you confused and unsure of who the sharps are betting on. The best way to deal with this, as said, is to become a super monitor. By opening multiple accounts at as many online betting sites as possible, you will be able to estimate the overall volatility of these platforms and find out what it has in common. Remember, don't let small fluctuations distract you, focus on synchronized movements that many operators apply at the same time. That could be the key.

In addition, there is another danger that betting with the pro bettors can bring, that you may be deceived by the true intentions of the sharps. More specifically, we are talking about cases where the sharps intentionally bet against their intentions. In return, they will try to manipulate the line movement and wait for it to reach its maximum threshold. They will then bet a large amount of money on the opposite side and make the maximum possible profit (which, of course, only happens if they win the bet).

In short, there are many reasons that make following the betting behavior of sharps almost an impossible task. However, you can still get close enough to it if you apply the strategies we talked about above. Don't take the failures too seriously, as this tactic can make you profitable in the long run.


Sharps betting can be a great strategy to help casual bettors improve their sports betting performance through learning from highly skilled bettors. In practice, however, it is extremely challenging to do. Even so, if you are really serious about profiting from this field, you can refer to the approaches we have outlined in the article to see what sharps are betting on.

In addition, our website offers a wide range of articles on diverse topics in the world of sports betting. Therefore, if you have any related questions, you can find in-depth articles from our experts to add useful knowledge.

Published: 01 July 2022 10:37