Sharp Betting Explained

Sharp Sports Betting Explained

Every sports bettor tries their best to have a 100% winning streak. Unfortunately, most bettors lose more bets than they would care to admit. However, some bettors enjoy impressive success. Such bettors are known as sharp bettors. However, there is more to a sharp bettor and sharp sports betting than meets the eye, not just success.

Here is a comprehensive overview of how sharp betting works, including a guide on what to consider in a sharp sportsbook. Hopefully, you will be ready to start betting like a sharp bettor when you are done reading this guide.

What Is a Sharp Bettor?

Sports betting sharps, known as sharp bettors, are players with a provably good and successful betting strategy. Their main quality is exceptional success in sports betting, meaning that most bets win. Besides being experienced, these bettors are also informed and experienced. It is worth noting that most of their wagers are usually long-term bets.

What Is the Behavior of a Sharp Bettor?

Sharp bettors don’t behave or operate like ordinary bettors. They also share certain characteristics, including the following:


Sharp bettors have strict rules and principles that dictate their betting habits. For example, they limit how much they can stake, which sports they can bet on, the types of wagers they can place, and more. Their discipline (combined with a reliable betting strategy) helps them build consistency and self-confidence.


Sharp bettors don’t make bets based on a whim. Instead, sharp bettors’ picks are usually thoroughly researched and reviewed. They evaluate all factors that can affect a game’s outcome, such as team formations and playing locations.

Emotional Maturity

Losses shouldn’t be the end of the world if you want to bet like a sharp bettor. If it does, you can make irrational decisions, such as canceling good bets out of fear or placing more bad bets out of desperation. That is why sharp bettors are emotionally mature – they take their wins and losses in stride and understand that more opportunities (and risks) lie ahead.

What Is a Sharp Sportsbook?

A sharp sportsbook (preferably one with a sharp betting app) is always recommended when making and placing sharps betting picks. It is worth noting that no sportsbook markets itself as a sharp sportsbook. However, sharp sportsbooks stand out from ordinary ones, mostly offering the best of everything.

What Defines a Sharp Sportsbook?

The following qualities and features define a sharp sports betting platform:

Low Margins

Margin in betting refers to the difference between a bet’s odds and the game’s true outcome probability. For example, suppose a game’s true probability of an outcome is 2.0. A bookie would offer lower odds of, say, 1.8, thereby making a profit on the 0.2 difference – this is how sportsbooks make money.

You can lose a considerable amount when betting sharp money at a sportsbook with a high margin. Sharp sportsbooks usually offer low margins, thereby saving you some money and increasing your winnings – they rely on large-volume bets to make money.

High Betting Limits

Most ordinary sportsbooks limit how much you can wager. The limits can be as low as $50 or $100. It is a big amount for an ordinary bettor, but it isn’t enough in sharp money betting. A low betting limit limits your potential winnings, inconveniencing sharp bettors. As such, sharp bookies usually have high betting limits, generally reaching thousands of dollars.

Low Fees

Some unscrupulous bookmakers usually charge exorbitant commission, service, and transaction fees when depositing or withdrawing your money. However, sharp bookmakers usually charge negligibly low fees – in fact, most don’t charge anything for their services or transactions.

Range of Markets

A sharp in betting looks for every opportunity to win. Sharp sportsbooks endeavor to offer as many opportunities as possible by covering many sports categories. Each sports category can contain dozens or hundreds of betting markets, depending on the available games and bet types.

A sharp bookie can feature thousands of sports betting markets, with more popping up regularly as others expire. It is also worth noting that the markets are suited to the player demographics – for example, an American bookie offers more NFL sharp bets or NBA sharp bets than soccer bets because basketball and football are more popular among American bettors. Similarly, you can expect more MLB sharp bets from a Canadian bookie.

Competitive Odds

How much you win depends on your stake amount and bets’ odds. Lower odds mean smaller wins, while higher odds mean bigger wins. Sharp sportsbooks usually offer competitive odds slightly higher than the standard – they also offer odds boosts, further boosting your winnings.

Big Bonuses

Sharp bookmakers appreciate their bettors. To this end, they usually offer generous bonuses and promotions to reward active players and entice new ones. These bonuses also come in diverse types.

For example, there are welcome bonuses for new players, deposit-match bonuses for players who fund their accounts, free bets, price boosts, loyalty programs, and other ongoing bonuses. These promotions also usually have simple unlocking and wagering requirements.

Large Volume of Bets

Few betting markets usually mean few betting opportunities. Sharp sports bettors typically offer thousands of betting markets across as many sports categories as possible, including uncommon sports such as snooker and futsal. They also usually process large volumes of bets because they have many users.

Bonuses Offered at Sharp Sportsbooks

Sharp bettors usually offer generous bonuses and promotions. Their promotions also come in various types and typically have easy and reasonable requirements. Here is an overview of the three common bonuses available at most bet sharp bookmakers:

Matched Deposit Bonus

A matched deposit bonus is dependent on making a deposit. The bookie offers to match your deposit amount by a certain percentage, usually 100% or lower.

For example, a 100% deposit-match bonus would get you a reward of $100 when you deposit $100, while a 50% deposit-match bonus would get you $50 for a $100 deposit.

Risk-Free Bets

A risk-free bet guarantees you will get your stake back if your bet loses. These bet types are usually offered to new players and sharp money wagers. It is a convenient offer when making a high-stakes sharps bet.

Price Boosts

Odds determine the amount you will win, as discussed. A price boost is a deliberate increase in a bet’s odds, which increases the amount you stand to win.

Sharp Betting Sites – The Benefits

Sharp betting sites have many advantages. Here is an overview of three notable benefits of sharp betting:

More Extensive Markets

As explained, sharp sportsbooks cover many sports categories and thousands of betting markets. You wouldn’t need to look at another bookie for more betting markets and bet types.

Highly Competitive Odds

Higher odds mean larger winnings, as explained. Sharp sportsbooks offer not only competitive odds but also odds boosts, allowing you to win more money.

Superior Betting Limits

Sharp bettors usually stake a lot of money to win more. Sharp sportsbooks generally offer high betting limits to accommodate sharp betting money.

Comparison of the Sharpest Sportsbooks

Comparing the sharpest sportsbooks entails evaluating everything they offer.

The top 5 sharpest sportsbooks available internationally include the following:

  • FanDuel
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • PointsBet
  • DraftKings


These bookies offer premium betting features but differ in certain aspects. For example, only PointsBet offers “Name-a-Bet,” an innovative feature that lets players recommend new betting types and markets. It is advisable to review each book to identify its unique offers, strengths, and weaknesses.

Sharp Sportsbooks Vs. Square Sportsbooks

Sharps in betting are exceptionally successful and disciplined long-term bettors. In contrast, squares are ordinary bettors who don’t bet as often, and don’t enjoy as much success. Similarly, square sportsbooks are ordinary bookies that offer average odds, few betting markets, small promotions, and an overall average betting experience.

Sharp Betting Tips

Beating the house in sports betting takes massive work. It leads most punters to ask if it’s even possible. While the answer is yes, becoming a sharp sports bettor requires patience, discipline, and a deep understanding of betting markets.

Let’s explore some tips you should keep in mind to give yourself a fighting chance against the house.

Tips Explanation
Prepare to Lose a Lot of Bets There is no denying that sharps are the best handicapper in sports betting. However, they also lose many of their bets. Sharp bettors focus on long-term profitability rather than short-term results. So, you may find that they lose two of every five bets they place. Therefore, you must be prepared to lose a lot of bets in the long run. Sticking it out to become profitable in the long-term marks a successful sharp. Once you master your skill, you will win more than you lose.
Rely on Numbers The biggest mistake most punters make is making decisions based on gut feelings or subjective opinions. It doesn’t happen with the sharps; they rely on numbers instead. Sharps spend hours analyzing statistical and historical data and developing betting models to predict outcomes and find value. With this, they usually notice and capitalize on sportsbooks’ mistakes with lines to their advantage. So, to be a successful sharp bettor, you must rely heavily on the numbers for your decisions.
Follow Sharp Action Sharps are professionals who deeply understand the sports they bet on and find the best value possible. This results in them winning their wagers more often than not. Some sportsbooks would even amend their lines based on the sharps’ position. As such, following the sharp action is usually the right move when betting as a beginner. It increases your chances of winning and reduces losses, ensuring you make a profit in the long run. However, it’s essential to note that this also comes with some risk, as some syndicates may use setup to create a more favorable line. There is always a risk of falling on the wrong side of such situations.
Finding the Sharpest Odds Finding the sharpest odds is as easy as finding the best sharp sportsbooks. It also involves reviewing each bookie’s odds and calculating the margins. Sportsbooks that offer price boosts are also recommendable.

How to See what the Sharps Are Betting on

One indicator of sharps is their high success rate and the ability to profit against sportsbooks long-term. That is why most punters try to spot and follow their bets. But finding out what the sharps are betting on (sharp action) is no simple feat.

However, there are some things you can look out for in the action the sharps are engaging. Here are some of them:

  • Observe line movement: One way to quickly notice what the sharps are betting on is via line movement. Lines will typically move in response to betting activities over time. When sharp bettors place large bets on a specific game side, it will result in significant line movement in response. To find out what the sharps are betting on, you should watch for odds change after a line is released leading up to the event.
  • Look out for discrepancies in betting percentage vs. money on wagers: Sharp bettors are professional gamblers who take sports betting as a source of income. As such, they typically put heavy wagers on their bets. It can result in discrepancies in the percentage vs. money wagered on a betting market. If a particular side of a wager receives a small percentage of the total bets but records a significant portion of the money wagered, it could indicate the sharps.
  • Look out for reverse Line movement: Perhaps the most obvious giveaway of a sharp action is reverse line movement, which occurs when a betting line moves away from the majority side of the bet. It means the sharps are heavily betting against the favorite and backing the underdog. When this happens, the sportsbooks will look to get more action from punters for the opposite end of the bet (i.e., the favorite) by reducing the line. This response to sharp positions by sportsbooks is to balance their exposure and mitigate their potential losses.
  • Steam Moves: A steam move occurs when several betting sites initiate a drastic line movement. It often happens as the forced reaction of sportsbooks when sharp betting syndicates overload one side of a bet across several bookmakers almost simultaneously, causing them all to move the lines instantly. When this happens, you can find a sportsbook still with the previous line to join the sharp action.
  • Sports betting services: Another way to know what the sharps are betting on is through sports betting services. Many online websites dedicate themselves to tracking sharp actions and providing betting insight to their users. However, if you decide to go this route, verify a site’s credibility and track record before you join up.
  • Social media and betting forums: While they may sometimes be hard to find, some online forums and social media platforms discuss sharp actions and share insights from experts. You can find out what the sharps are betting on from there. However, you should be careful with these options, as not all the information you find here will be reliable or accurate.

It’s important to note that while these methods will give you a clue as to what action the sharps are taking, it is not foolproof. Plus, the sharps are not always right. So, it would be best if you practice responsible gaming always when you follow them.

Sharp Betting Advantages & Disadvantages

The most notable advantages of sharp betting include the following:

  • Higher success rate and bigger wins.
  • Self-confidence in betting.
  • Good betting experience from sharp sportsbooks.
  • Generous bonuses and promotions.
  • Lower margins and higher odds.
  • Sharp bettors make many bets and stake a lot of money, increasing their chances.

Is Sharp Betting Worth It?

Sharp betting is worth it for one major reason: success. Success means more winnings and more money. BetZillion’s pathway to a winning bet explained in this guide will help you a lot. However, you must work by developing a good betting strategy, being self-disciplined, researching every game, and using sharp sportsbooks.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is sharp in betting?
    A sharp in betting refers to a successful, informed, experienced bettor. These punters are exceptionally successful and usually make long-term bets.
  • What is sharp money in betting?
    Sharp money in betting refers to similar bets placed by many sharp bettors. It usually points to bets with a high likelihood of success – ordinary bettors and punters usually follow sharp money for betting tips.
  • What is a sharp bettor?
    A sharp bettor is an exceptionally successful sports bettor. They rely on information, experience, and a good betting strategy.
  • What is the sharp line movement in sports betting?
    A sharp line movement is when the odds/lines change from the bookmaker’s original numbers to the new numbers at the start of a game.
  • What does sharp action mean in betting?
    Sharp action in betting means mirroring sharp bettors’ bets (seeing their wagers and making the same bets). It is an easy strategy for ordinary bettors looking to win more and lose less.
  • Do sharps ever bet on favorites?
    Sharp bettors usually have strict rules and principles on the types of bets they make. To this end, they wouldn’t bet on favorites if they didn’t likely win.
  • How many games a day do the sharps bet?
    Sharp bettors usually place many odds to maximize their potential winnings, albeit this depends on the winning probability. Most of their wagers are also long-term bets.
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    Sergio E
    CEO & Founder

    Sergio is our CEO and betting expert. He is a big football fan. Sergio is the guy that runs it all and the one who got the BetZillion idea. Sergio’s favourite sports include football, handball, futsal, American football, and boxing.

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