DFS limits getting you down?

Transitioning from DFS pick'em to sports betting

Recently some unfortunate anti-sharp measures hit the community - including:

  • Underdog slashing limits from $100 to $50

  • Correlation getting nerfed at every site

  • PrizePicks refusing to even take a bet from anyone skilled

And that's not to mention the uncertainty around legality that hangs over the DFS Pick'em industry. Expect sites to shut down in New York any day now...

But you know what...

That's okay

The DFS Pick'em edges that provided 40%+ ROI were never going to last forever. Explain that you're upset with a 10% ROI to someone who plays major sports betting markets - they will think you're insane.

Will there be another spot like DFS Pick'em where you can have 50%+ ROIs? Idk...

It doesn't really matter. One thing I can tell you is that there will always be opportunities in advantage play for people who are:

  • Hardworking

  • Curious

  • Optimistic in the face of uncertainty

One that has been around for a while is traditional sports betting. If you are currently winning at DFS Pick'em you will be able to make the transition.

I want to highlight three key differences for you when trying to make the transition:

  1. Steam chasing is more important than de-vigging

  2. There are more operators with their own opinions

  3. Live betting is a much bigger opportunit

Let's break each down.

Steam chasing > de-vigging

On Tuesday I released an intro podcast on steam chasing (see below)

In DFS Pick'em, de-vigging sportsbooks lines to find good opportunities works well. It's easy to automate - whether you use the tools built by OddsJam and DGF, or you want to automate on your own.

It works in DFS Pick'em for two reasons:

  1. There is so much EV in correlation that you just need breakeven plays to crush

  2. DFS Pick'em doesn't operate as a market - everything is a parlay, trading teams lagging in talent, model is full-blown recreational.

In traditional sports betting, some books welcome action from smart bettors. These are "market making books".

Some examples of market making books are:

  • Circa

  • BetCris (aka Bookmaker, aka 411)

  • Pinnacle (kinda - I am less sold on them)

  • BetOnline

A smart bettor (usually an originator) will bet into a number at one of these books - then the book will move the number.

So if you see a spread go from -7 to -8 on Circa, you are lead to believe someone smart bet -7. If -7 is available on DraftKings, you can bet it there.
These are the easiest opportunities in sports betting and they happen all the time. A de-vigging method will miss these as it will assume that the current -8 number at Circa is the "true price". When the smart bettor bet -7, they probably thought the true price was at least -9 though to justify a bet. That's where steam chasing will give you different signals than de-vigging.

De-vigging will often give you false signals in sports betting because it doesn't correctly factor in line movement.

Operators have opinions

PrizePicks doesn't actually have an opinion. They may have the opinion that 90% of their customers bet overs - so they shade lines accordingly. But that's probably it.

In the sports betting space, even a recreational book like DraftKings will have opinions on games.

It's your job as a sports bettor to constantly be updating whose opinions matter most.

Some important factors to consider when ranking sportsbooks:

  • The strength of opinion (or "sharpness") will vary by sport at a sportsbook. Don't get trapped into thinking because Book A sucks at NBA, they suck at NHL also. It's a reasonable assumption, but test it periodically.

  • Who does the market move towards? You can rely on the market to give you a hint on who the sharpest player is. If you see a market move towards Circa consistently, start paying more attention to their number.

  • Personal change - don't get locked into an opinion on a place. If the best basketball trader at a book leaves to go to another book, that will have a big impact on both books basketball opinions. Humans matter in this game and they move around a lot.

Keep a list of who you think is sharp - and evaluate it constantly. This will help you get in ahead of market moves.

Live Betting

In DFS Pick'em, I believe only Underdog and HotStreak offer any type of live betting. Additionally, it's very hard to live bet in DFS Pick'em because you will always be on the lookout for a pair.

Live betting represents a massive opportunity for sportsbooks and they all offer large menus. They offer more than they can effectively keep track of - in the name of customer acquisition. You will find full arbs frequently in the live market - and since you don't have to find a pair, you can quickly bet them before they disappear.

Also, if you have any expertise in the sport, you can find inefficiencies beyond arbs. Models are not advanced enough to judge the likely result of a penalty challenge for example.

When live betting you must be at information par.

This is a phrase coined by Ed Miller and Matthew Davidow in their excellent book "Interception". What this means is that you must make sure the sportsbook doesn't have information you don't.

There is a delay in your feed compared to their feed. You can test it by pulling up FanDuel and watching the odds change on a key play. Then time the difference between when the odds move and when you see the play on your TV.

You want to only bet when nothing will happened during this delay. That might be at commercial breaks, timeouts, penalty discussions etc... Just make sure you aren't betting on a hockey game where the puck is on the ice and everyone is skating.

I hope this gave everyone a little fuel for thought on how to approach sports betting if you are mainly in the DFS Pick'em space. Appreciate you for reading.

If you benefited from this - please forward it to a friend who also would enjoy it.