“Betting the Lag”
Contrary to popular belief, in order to be successful at sports gambling, you don’t need to be a sports super fan. You don’t need to obsessively memorize team or individual stats, nor is it necessary to watch every NFL game each Sunday for six months out of the year. While it doesn’t hurt your chances to be an avid sports guru, you really only need two things to win big on sports gambling.
Checklist #1: You have to live in the right place.
Currently, mobile sports gambling is only available in four states: Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; with the most popular apps being Fanduel and DraftKings. I’ve personally played on both, but prefer DraftKings; the only real difference between the two attributed to occasional game line discrepancies and different promotional deals.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in the right state, then congrats! That’s the hardest part. If your state hasn’t legalized mobile sports betting, be patient! There are a number of states pushing legislation currently after seeing the successful revenues generated from other areas of the country that have already made the jump.
If you already live in a legalized state, you have already deployed more luck than you will ever need to gamble on the mobile apps. The only real skill you need is the ability to recognize patterns, and having the guts to act on them.
Checklist #2: Recognize Patterns
All throughout history, technologies have been constantly in progression. Innovations are made year after year, beginning with the invention of the wheel. Car models are updated and upgraded on a yearly basis, new iPhones are released as fast as they can be produced, new video games are always in production. While the consumer still purchases their favorite brands with impunity, the product is never perfect from the very start. Cars have recalls, new iPhones have continuous updates, and video games release patches to fix various glitches within the rendering system. The same is true for apps. They are in a state of constant improvement; editing, revising, and releasing new updates.
What the hell am I talking about? I thought this was about sports gambling?
Every new app has glitches. Mobile gambling is not exempt.
So what am I suggesting?
Bet to beat the app, not to guess the game.
Every single professional sports analyst in the world can talk all day long about offensive and defensive proficiency, previous records ATS (against the spread), and make predictions on the outcome of the game. Most of the time, their opinions and arguments are primarily headline grabs to garner views and advertisements. While in some cases games seem easy to predict, they are highly volatile and the final outcome is nearly impossible to predict.
Typically, Vegas sets the odds for many of the games and sportsbooks follow their lead to keep their books in the black. The statistics department on outcomes is as dialed in as it can be, splitting hairs between victory and defeat. Vegas is fairly accurate in their predictions to a certain degree, so betting against them is not where you will win your money.
Bet against the lag.
Live betting, while still volatile, can eliminate much of the guess work that comes with pre-game betting. You can see how each teams’ offense is performing, how stout the defense is holding up, and get a feel for the momentum of the game if you’re watching it live. This is a huge advantage.
Yes, it is possible to win bigger if you bet on which player will score next, if you bet on the outcome of the individual drive, or any of the various player props (which typically have two or even three stipulations attached to them). That is not what I suggest.
While it may not be appealing to many bettors, who prefer to make a ten or twelve pick parlay to win the big pot, I recommend a more conservative, yet intelligent way to gamble on sports that takes out 90% of the guesswork.
The mobile betting platform is still in its infancy, and with that comes weaknesses. Chinks in the armor, if you will. One of the major ways you should take advantage of this, is betting during the lag time. While this strategy admittedly is not as effective for lower scoring affairs such as Football, Soccer, or Baseball, it is a dream come true for Basketball leagues.
Focus on High Scoring Sports
Take the NBA for example. On a nightly basis in the modern league, teams often put up over 100 points each, and much of this comes in streaks of fast paced transitional offensive attacks. In the case of a quick 10 point swing in the span of 30–45 seconds, there is naturally going to be a lag in the system. The casino changes the live odds almost instantly based off algorithms, and that information is sent to the app to update the odds and line. During all this transfer of information, there can be up to a 60 second lag depending on how busy the network is, slow internet connections, or a number of other factors. (Don’t believe me? Pay attention the next time there is a live NBA game being played between the score and the betting app.)
The best way to take advantage of this is to focus on the either the spread or the game total over/under. One other main advantage you have at your disposal is what makes this form of betting less like gambling, and more like statistics. Most of the mobile gambling apps allow you to place bets on the spread or game total until halfway through the fourth quarter; effectively eliminating 87.5% of the game, and increasing your chances of cashing out.
Lets Take a Look at an Example
Imagine you’re having a typical Tuesday afternoon, got off from work, and went home to eat dinner and binge your favorite Netflix series. Pretty difficult imagery right? Without even turning off your streaming service, you check your phone and see the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics are locked in a close game; 82–79 heading into the fourth quarter. You check the live line on DraftKings, which predicts the Lakers -4.5 on the road, and the game total at 203.5.
Both offenses were slow coming out of halftime, but the close game heading into the fourth most likely means there will be free throws down the final several minutes, which mean essentially free points with a stopped clock. Impulsively, you might be inclined to take the Lakers at -4.5, since they are already up four against an average team heading into the fourth, but patience is the wise move here, as there is still 6 minutes left to place a bet.
Just while watching the game ticker on your phone during your nightly TV binge, you see that the Celtics start the 4th quarter off with a flurry of 8 points within the first minute, and the Lakers call a quick timeout, down 82–87.
This timeout gives the sportsbook time to update the live odds, but knowing you can take advantage of the lag, you quickly lock in the Celtics at +4.5 before the app updates the live odds. Typically the line would switch to having the Celtics favored -4, and you would secure roughly 8 free points of cushion just off of a 60 second burst of offense; raising your odds of winning drastically.
Alternatively, you could have also taken the money-line on the Celtics while still having +300 odds to win as the underdog before the app updates to favor them slightly at -150.
You feel good about your bet and go back to watch the odds update. The game total is pushed to 207.5, Celtics are now -4, and -150 to win outright.
Regardless of how the game plays out or what bet you took advantage of, you made the smart play by taking advantage of the swing, and potentially cashing out more money based off the same information everyone had up to the second. The lag in the app is what won you money simply by reading the numbers, all while staying tuned in to Netflix.
Dialing in the Concept
While the concept of playing against the inherent app lag is easy to grasp and understand, there is an easy way to further enhance the winning potential as long as you have access to Excel or Google Sheets.
My success with betting against the lag comes with the help of several simple and easy to use spreadsheets I built to assist in winning more consistently against the lag. Entering several variations of forecasting models and averaging them all together predicts the final score of the game based off the first 3 quarters of play. Through 150 games thus far, the model averages an error of less than one point, typically erring towards the higher side of the single point difference. Magnified by waiting until the middle of the 4th quarter to place game total bets and taking advantage of lags, my calculations have helped me to win 66% of the time, turning a 250% profit based off my initial investment into the app.
If its this Easy to Win, why isn’t Everybody Doing it?
Although this method is accurate and effective, it can be very time-intensive if done properly. Many casual sports bettors make their bets while drinking at the bar and watching the game with friends, or they bet on their favorite teams and hope to get lucky. If taken seriously however, you can potentially turn a ridiculous profit. Many people don’t want to take the time to build a spreadsheet to calculate game totals or follow live scores to take advantage of the lag, so this method isn’t particularly popular for that reason alone.
Much of the allure to gambling is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This isn’t a magical formula to win $10,000 on a 12 team parlay off a $2 bet. It’s more of a process that compounds winnings over time than a get rich quick Hail Mary Strategy.
Most people would be happy to make 5,000 separate two dollar bets to finally win one for $10,000 and say they won big. To each their own, but I personally prefer a 5 yards per play strategy vs the Hail Mary approach as it pertains to winning long term.
How to Start Winning “Against the Lag”
- Download a mobile sportsbook
- Watch for live game lags
- Be Patient
- Make smart bets during lag time
- Keep with it
- Don’t throw Hail Mary’s
If you are interested in learning to build a format to predict outcomes and take advantage of lag, or need any other advice on how to get started, feel free to reach out to me: