How To Identify Public Betting vs Professional Money Down

How To Identify Public Betting vs Professional Money Down

The exercise of identifying whether or not money down is professional or public can be a difficult one to get right. When it comes to sports betting, perhaps the most obvious example of when large of amounts of professional money are put down is in horse racing. Often, when a horse that has started at 8/1 in the morning hardens in the market and eventually ends up at a price nearer even money, you know that either the online bookmakers – or professional bettors – know something.


Notable examples of horses shortening in the market in the past have come from race-fixing. Professional con men would run their horses in races that didn’t suit their animals and then, when the horse ran badly enough and drew a big enough price for his next race, the man would run his horse in a race that did suit him, and from there back his animal off the boards. This is a rather hackneyed example, but the concept is the same: horses that start off at a big price, and whose prices drop dramatically, are likely to have been subject to professional betting.


It is not just the professional gamblers’ money that causes horses to shorten in the market. Indeed, online bookmakers employ "form-readers" whose job it is to interpret a horse's form to put it in a particular place in the market. These form-readers, along with the opinions of those "in the know," talk to the trainers and owners of their respective horses and gauge what kind of a chance their horses have. With this information, online bookmakers can price their horses accordingly, and this is why you sometimes see a horse that hasn’t run for a year at the head of the market, or a horse that hasn’t finished in his last three starts halve in price, for example.

Tipsters' Influence

It is hard, though, to tell the difference between public and professional betting. Tom Segal, the United Kingdom’s most successful tipster, causes markets to fluctuate all by himself, with his tips affecting public money betting in a significant way. If, on the morning of a particular sporting event, you noticed a well-known tipster in a widely-read newspaper urging his readers to go for one outcome over another, you can expect public money betting to respond accordingly, causing a considerable swing in the market.

Staged Gambles

Gambles can also be staged at sporting venues themselves. In particular, as far as greyhounds are concerned, people have been known to favor a specific dog that may not have run particularly well in its last outing, or a dog that is weak in the betting. This is an easy way of spotting the chances the dog may have, and, often, it is wise not to ignore the fluctuations of the market.

Caution Near Event Start

If a horse or dog – or soccer team, for that matter – shortens considerably in the market as an event is about to start, then you know that this is either professional bettors or public money down. This is because online bookmakers usually shorten the odds of a participant long before the occasion, so that it can take as little money as possible – if a horse was at longer odds and the public latched on to the fact that it had a chance, it would render the bookmakers’ form-readers useless.

In essence, it’s wise to follow both public and professional betting, whether or not it has been orchestrated because, if you follow the money, you’re not likely to go far wrong. The same goes for a horse, dog, individual or team on a slide: don’t follow the market that is not being backed.

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Hi, I'm Dean Ryan

"A passionate sports betting broadcaster and journalist with over 15 years spent in the gambling industry."

  • Sports Betting
  • Odds Compiling
  • Horse Racing

Reviewer since June 2016