When betting on sports, what's best, early worm or hold until the end?

Early vs Late: What’s The Best Betting Strategy?

Whether you are a novice or advanced bettor, improving handicapping skills is only to your advantage. Become a better handicapper with these handy betting basic tips regarding the merits of early and late betting. The case for early vs. late betting is often be down to personal preference. Often the decision to bet early or late is a personal one. Some bettors prefer to get in on the early action while others prefer to wait until kick-off time. No hard-and-fast rule where one is better than the other.

Benefits exist on both sides of the coin, which we’ll get into below. If there’s one important distinction to be made, it’s between the bettors rather than the timing of bets: square bettors are typically emotional bettors, reacting to the most recent results and bet early. Sharp bettors have done their homework and will bet either early or late depending on where the value is.

The case for early vs. late betting

Before we can delve into the merits of early and late betting, we must touch upon one crucial aspect: the sport involved. Depending on the sport, books will issue lines at different points in time. In the case of baseball, basketball, tennis…essentially games that are played almost daily or with a short lead time, lines will be posted usually a day before start time or thereabouts. The upshot of which the difference between early and late betting is a mere 24 hours or so.

Whereas NFL and soccer where games are played typically a week apart, giving way to a considerable lead time, the difference between early and late betting is more pronounced. This allows bettors some wiggle room to consider their options: deciding which team to bet on and when they are going to place the bet and so on.

Early Betting Advantages

Mistakes can be made

The immediate advantage of early betting is taking advantage of any potential mistakes in the markets. Bookies aren’t gods with a crystal ball in hand; they make mistakes or miscalculations, particularly involving sports that don’t rank high on the popularity scale. For instance, lesser soccer leagues, lower profile tennis events…and so on. It’s not often that mistakes are made with NFL lines where the market is completely off the mark. This is the bread and butter for most North American focused sportsbooks, in no uncertain terms.

Taking Advantage of over inflated or under inflated lines

Books are in the business of making money, not losing money. When lines are posted, the market does adjust to public betting – which is a fancy term for the process with which bookmakers balance the action – so it’s possible to see line movements, even significant ones in the NFL. This doesn’t mean the bookies had it wrong all along, rather they are adjusting lines to the action coming down the wire. As soon as lines go to press, action comes down the wire at early doors. If it’s lopsided, books will have to adjust the line accordingly. By making your bets early, you can take advantage of those early lines that were either over inflated or under inflated.

This is a good practice when a popular favorite is involved in the NFL. It’s quite common for an NFL line on a favorite to go up by a field goal or more, which can make a huge difference to your NFL picks. If you think the line is too low on a particular favorite and you are confident in your bet, by buying low and selling high your chances of beating the bookies could improve.

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Late Betting Advantages

Contrarian Value

One of the best advantages of late betting is that it can open the door to contrarian value on the team the public doesn’t like – in most cases this is the underdog but it can happen that a favorites isn’t as popular with the masses as one would expect. If the public bets up the line so much that a significant increase in the points given to the underdog occurs, having those extra points working for you could be the difference between a winning and a losing bet.

Adjustments made for injuries

Players are injured during games and practice and injuries to key players can have an impact on the outcome of a game. Waiting until later in the week to place bets allows bettors to account for not only injuries occurred in the previous game by a status/injury report issued late in the week but also any injuries that might occur during practice time or sudden line-up changes that could have an impact on the game.

Research and Preparation

Late betting allows bettors the luxury to not only prepare for the game, do their due diligence on the match up and NFL betting trends, as well as account for the above two points. It also gives them a chance to follow the market, how lines move whether they stay the seam, increase or completely reverse. Paying attention to how the market moves gives a bettor an indication of where public and sharp money might be going before deciding which side to fade or shade on their NFL picks.