Bet against the Public – What Does This Mean in Football Betting

As betting theories go, this is one of the simplest to understand, but we’re still here to go into things in great detail. We’ll explain why you would want to bet against the public and what processes you need to undertake to action that bet.

We’ll take a look at what football betting markets can apply to the strategy and where the best value may lie. Ready to learn more? Please read on.

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What’s the Concept behind Betting against the Public?

Why bet against the public - after all, we’re all members of the wider betting community, and surely, we all have some sound knowledge on punting? Well, that’s not quite true because there is a notion that only a relatively small percentage of bettors are shrewd enough to do their research. The rest just follow the herd and bet on what they simply feel is popular.

Betting against the Public

Therefore, when we see the wider general public loading up on one particular bet. We do the exact opposite. When a market price shortens, we go for the one that drifts. That’s exactly what happens when we bet against the public.

We’ll discuss some specific examples as we work through this review, but the concept could simply involve spotting that the public is loading on a certain football team. We see the betting odds get shorter and we then go for the other side or the draw.

Naturally, this isn’t a bet that will deliver a profit 100% of the time, and it’s important to remember that no strategy is ever going to do that. However, when you bet against the public, you are signing up with a concept that is at the heart of the gambling industry. Think about it for a moment: Bookmakers can only trade because their customer base loses more bets than it wins. Why does that happen? There are many reasons for this, but one big driver for bookmaker’s profits is the fact that most bettors will back the favourite.

How many times have you read stories about hot favourites winning a horse race and the headline telling you just how bad this is for the bookies? If the shortest-priced horse wins the Grand National, this leaves the bookmakers crying because the public has, in the main, sided with the favourite.

If the outside bets never came through, then the bookies wouldn’t exist, and it’s up to use to exploit this by using the betting against the public strategy.

Why Bet against the Public – The Strategy Explained

The examples that we give in this section will be theoretical, but they will also be typical of the type of options you can find when you bet against the public.

Carrying out the strategy successfully does require some time and effort in regard to checking the markets. We might, for example, see a price on a team such as Manchester United start to lengthen on the Wednesday before their match at the weekend. So, the first act in the process is to spot a drift and then you need to ask why this has happened. Perhaps a key player has been injured in training, and the public has reacted accordingly by backing Manchester United’s opponents to win the game.

In this theoretical scenario, United have slipped out to 2/1 while their opponents - let’s say that it’s Liverpool, shorten to the 3/4 mark. The public has ‘lumped’ on Liverpool, but your shrewd betting brain wants to look a little deeper.

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We should consider the stats: OK, so United have lost a key player, but maybe the statistics show us that the club still manages to win 75% of their games when he’s not been in the starting XI. Similarly, Manchester United maintain a good, overall head to head record against Liverpool and, by assessing two simple stats, we’ve proved that he’s not such a big loss.

Let’s Show the Formula

We can’t really show a definite mathematical formula here because, unlike other betting strategies such as the Fibonacci or the Martingale system, we’re not looking for a certain set of odds to come in. Those two strategies rely on finding a bet priced up at Even Money, but there are no fixed set of numbers when you bet against the public.

However, if we look back through recent footballing seasons, we can spot times when this system has provided some good profits. Let’s take a look at the start of 2020 when Tottenham Hotspur prepared for a tough home game in the Premier League against Champions Manchester City.

The match took place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in February and, just over a month earlier, Tottenham’s key striker Harry Kane had injured a hamstring and was expected to be out for the rest of the season. The long term ante-post markets had Manchester City as favourites, and by the time that the game took place, Spurs had drifted way out to 5/1.

Now the betting public had made an obvious conclusion and had got behind Manchester City in a big way. Shrewd punters, meanwhile, would have seen that Tottenham had that home advantage and they’d had a good, recent record against these opponents. They’d even progressed past City in a Champions League tie where Kane had missed 120 out of 180 minutes over the two legs.


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Our February game resulted in a 2-0 win for Spurs and a very nice return at 5/1 for those who had backed them.

That’s a real example, and there are others but let’s now go back to our theoretical game as we give you a calculation.

Now it’s time to act: Those who tell you why you should bet against the public wouldn’t tend to suggest playing with big stakes, so we’re just going to bet £10 on Manchester United to win.

Betting against the public formula

It’s a simple enough equation, but as we’ve seen, there can be lots to think about in what a complex system can be at times.

To Summarise

This is one system that doesn’t rely on mathematical probability and for that reason, betting against the public comes with a greater degree of risk. However, it is based on very sound theory, and it has proved to be successful on many occasions.

Remember, behind the theory is the very sound fact that sportsbooks would not make any money if the betting public didn’t lose more than they win. It’s been popular in North America where the term ‘fading the public’ is used so if you see those words in use, it refers to the exact same system.

Basketball, American football, and baseball can all attract the bet against the public strategy, but as we have just seen, we have been able to use it in the traditional football (soccer) markets.

By all means, take it on board and try it yourself. We would recommend starting with small stakes and remember to monitor your results closely. It’s very much a long term approach so, if you find that you’re winning bets consistently over a period of time, then the bet against the public strategy is one you should continue to follow.

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