Sharp lines and tight lines

Looking for sharp lines is one way to go, finding a bookmaker with soft lines another

Some call it “working smart” as opposed to “working hard”, while others simply say, “Screw it, let’s just take the easy way.”

That’s the prevailing trend in sports betting, according to a veteran Las Vegas-based line service that says more players today are seeking “hot” or wiseguy plays instead of calling for sharp lines and doing their own handicapping.

G&J Update started as a line service, but over the years so many customers have called to ask for plays that the business has definitely changed, the two partners told Sports Book Scene.

The only solid corps of customers who still ask for sharp lines are local stores, they said.  But fewer players today are willing to handicap and shop lines.

G&J noted that there are so many sports services selling bad plays, that players are desperate for winners.  “Some players are lazy, some are just dedicated followers, but whatever the reason, there is a huge market for plays in today’s market,” they asserted.

The best way to get winners is to find a bookie whose lines are soft, they suggested.  That’s more difficult today than in previous years because of technology advances, which are available to all.

But there are still local stores and some off shores who don’t use all the advantages at their disposal, and whose lines reflect it, said G&J.

The best way for players to determine if a bookmaker’s line is sharp or beatable is to compare the BM’s numbers with those of a strong line service.  The savvy player can tell whose lines are strongest by paying attention to where the different pointspreads are pushing him.  Whoever consistently steers him toward the winning side, has the lines to which attention should be paid.

You should be able to detect the quality of lines from your BM within a month, said G&J.  Once you’ve found a bookie with beatable lines, make him your friend, they suggest.

“Savor the flavor,” says G&J.  “Spread your action around.  Don’t keep pounding on him.  In fact, when you see a particularly bad line, tell him about it after you bet.  That way, he’ll have an incentive to keep you around.”

The line service noted that with today’s off shore books holding sophisticated software, it is commonplace for players to be profiled, and for more than one line to be offered.

For instance, Internet lines – where there may be a $500 or a dime limit – can be substantially different than lines given over the phone for limits of, say, 20 dimes.  It could be considered a square line and a sharp line.

Without getting into the ethics of the issue, G&J said if they discovered a bookmaker doing that, they would feel they were being taken advantage of.  However, they concede the BM is within his rights to deal the different lines.  “Nobody is forcing the player to bet into a line,” they said.

G&J has an inhouse handicapper who, they claim, is as good as anyone in originating the hot plays.

For more information, visit their website at

Small Rant.  Maybe ‘cause it’s nearly summer and over 100 degrees here in Vegas, we’re getting a little cranky.  But recently we were perusing a gaming magazine called “Chance”, which is actually a pretty fair publication.

However, we saw a little item in there that just rubbed us the wrong way for its rank naďveté.  The magazine was gushing about an Internet gaming company that offers players a whopping 10 percent bonus on any deposit of more than $500.

They gee-whizzed about getting “$50 for free”, and speculated how long the money would last by betting casino games as well as various sports bets.

Not coincidentally, the gaming company was a sponsor, and this little blurb was a not-so-subtle payoff.

Now, hold on, we’re not chastising them for promoting an advertiser.  That would be pure hypocrisy, since we too publish a magazine and provide our advertisers with editorial support.  That’s a legitimate function, so long as the client has some talking points.

But we pride ourselves on looking for innovative ways to accommodate our advertisers and also address the needs of our readers.  We’d be embarrassed to palm off such lame material as a helpful tip.

Having gotten that off our chest, let us reiterate that “Chance” is a nice entry into the stable of publications covering the gaming industry.  We hope our observation is taken simply as constructive criticism. | June 19th, 2000

– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
A long time sports betting columnist, Buzz Daly

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