Public/Sharp Concentration – What The Hell Does It Mean??

Often when people are assessing what game the public is on they look at ticket or money percentages provided by line services. Sometimes even the books themselves put out this data. The problem with figuring out where the public is based on ticket or money percentages is the following… How do you know that’s not just heavy sharp action pumping up the dollars or the quantity of tickets. There are not just 10 sharp bettors in the world. There are 1000s and if a lot of them liked one side they can easily skew the ticket percentages as they enter bets multiple times. Same goes for the money percentages if sharps are unloading on a game. You may think when you bet on the smaller percentage you are betting against the public…many times you are betting against the sharps! How does the book know where the public really is on a given day/market/sport?? Enter the public and sharp concentration calculation to figure this out.

At most books, every client is rated based on a tier system as to whether they are a sharp or recreational bettor. How that works is a topic for another day. What the concentration metric does is it looks at the total dollars bet on both teams in a game. The concentration calculation then breaks those dollars down into recreational money and sharp money for each team in a game. Once that breakdown is calculated the resulting percentages are then taken across the whole betting market for that sport. Might be confusing but I will break it down in numbers:

Today let’s say we want to do an assessment of the highest public concentration on a side in college basketball. Let’s pretend there is $200 (I know that’s obviously small but it’s just to show math) in market volume across all of college basketball side betting. We now decide we want to figure out the public concentration on the Oregon and Wisconsin game. Based on money percentages for that market see Wisconsin is getting 60% of the money and Oregon is getting 40% of the money. We also know, because we see the book’s data that there is $200 in the market on the game. Meaning Wisconsin has $120 of action and Oregon has $80 of action. You might think that Wisconsin is the public side. You would be wrong! When we analyze the data we see that of the $120 on Wisconsin, $12 is public money and the other $108 is sharp money. On the other side of this equation we see that of the $80 on Oregon, $70 is from customers rated as “recreational” bettors. The other $10 is sharp money. When you looked at this game it looked like the public was on Wisconsin based on the money percentages (you can interchange ticket percentages here too) listed on your line service. What you were not able to see, what can only be seen within the book’s data is that the Wisconsin money was mostly sharp money ($108 out of $120 total dollars bet) and the Oregon money was mostly public money ($70 out of $80 total dollars bet). Which means the public concentration is much higher on Oregon than on Wisconsin even though Oregon only has 40% of the money in that game.

Back to the calculation. Of the dollars bet on Wisconsin 10% is from the public and of the dollars bet on Oregon 88% is from recreational bettors. Once we get these two percentages we now take these figures across all the public dollars bet in the market. Let’s say when we sum up the action for all the sides in college basketball it shows $200 of the total action is coming from recreational bettors. Well, of that $200 of recreational money across the market we know that $70 of it is being bet on Oregon. That means that of all the public dollars bet today ($200), $70 or 35% of public money is bet on Oregon. If no other team has more than 35% of public’s money on it, then Oregon is the team with the highest public concentration in the market! It is something you would never know looking at ticket or money percentages. Breaking this down we know the public had $200 to bet today and they put $70 of it on Oregon. While only 40% of the money in the Wisconsin/Oregon game is on Oregon, they are getting the highest public money concentration the entire day!

Does your head hurt? I am sorry, math will do that at times. Read it over a few times and you will hopefully be able to break it down and visualize how the calculation works.

The public (or sharp) concentration metric is an excellent tool for seeing what side or total is truly the side the public (or sharps) like the most. Figuring out who the public is really betting on can only be calculated by having access to a book’s data and the book must have a system which rates its players. You need player ratings so you can sort the money on the game (and over the sport) to sharp and recreational. Once you have the system, it is super cool to see in action. Not to mention, you realize why books aren’t afraid to put out ticket and money percentages for bettors to see…those don’t really have a lot of value and provide you a fraction of the information you need to assess what lies within those percentages. You need to see inside the numbers!

Thanks for following!
~ The Sharp Plays