What Does Fading the Public Mean?

Texans’ fans look on during the game against the New England Patriots. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

Fading the public gives sharp bettors the opportunity to enjoy unnaturally attractive lines on unpopular teams.

Read on to learn more about fading the public and why it is a popular betting strategy.

How Do You Fade the Betting Public?

The easiest way to explain it is with an example. Let’s say the New Orleans Pelicans are playing a home game against the Detroit Pistons. The sportsbooks have analyzed the relative strengths and weaknesses of both teams in extensive detail and decided that New Orleans should be the 4.5-point favorite.

Now let’s say the vast majority of basketball fans opt to bet on the Pelicans to cover the spread. That sparks a reaction from the sportsbooks, who are keen to balance their risk by encouraging a similar volume of wagers on either side of the bet.

They react by making it less attractive to beat on New Orleans and more attractive to bet on the Pistons. This is called line movement.

As the game approaches, New Orleans might be the 5.5-point favorite, the 6-point favorite or the 6.5-point favorite. At this point, some bettors will swoop in and bet on Detroit +6 or Detroit +6.5.

LEARN MORE: How to Request a Prop Bet?

When you think about it, nothing has actually changed in terms of the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the two teams. They still have the same players, head-to-head records, recent results, injury concerns, and so on.

The only thing that has changed is that public sentiment has caused the line to move, creating artificially inflated terms on the unpopular team.

The oddsmakers are generally pretty astute and they regularly go very close with their lines, so if you have the opportunity to bet on a line that has moved by a couple of points, without having to give up any juice, you might find that an attractive prospect.

This is by no means is a foolproof method, but it is certainly an interesting angle that is worth considering when you are handicapping games.

Fading the Public on Totals

Many savvy bettors also like to fade the public on the total points line. Psychologically, the public likes to bet on “over”.

It is a natural human instinct for many sports fans, who celebrate offensive talent and root for high-quality teams scoring lots of points. After all, nobody wants to watch a drab game that stays under the total points line.

However, the sportsbooks are typically pretty good at setting the initial total points line too. If a large volume of wagers goes on “over”, they will start to increase the line, making it more appealing to bet on “under” and less appealing to bet on “over”.

LEARN MORE: What is a Reduced Juice Sportsbook?

At this point, you can fade the public by betting under on an artificially inflated line. Once again, it is not foolproof, as anything can happen in a game of football or basketball.

But the fact remains that you are enjoying better terms on “under” than anyone that bet when the line opened, and you are enjoying better terms than the sportsbooks initially decided to offer.

It is also worth noting that many experienced bettors will place their wagers as soon as the line opens before the public sentiment has a chance to move it.

That is particularly important if you want to bet on a team that is likely to prove popular with the general public, as the opening line is often the best you will get, or if you want to bet on “over”.