Sports Betting 101: Sharps And Squares

If you’ve spent any time around sports bettors, then you’ve heard the terms ‘sharps’ and ‘squares’ get thrown around quite a bit. Everyone seemingly wants to avoid squares – and being a square – while everyone is hunting to find these clandestine sharps. So who are these guys and where do you find them? Here’s the breakdown of sharps and squares.

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Who Or What Is A Square?
A square is just your average losing sports bettor. You might hear many synonyms for this as squares can sometimes be known as “the public” or “Joe Q. Public” or a “recreational bettor”. In short, a square is someone who doesn’t really do much research before placing a bet. They’ll wake up on Sunday morning, read a few tweets and then watch ESPN for about five minutes before placing a bet. This type of bettor is the opposite of well-researched and calculated.

Of course, the majority of bettors are in fact squares, although nobody would ever admit to being one. Everyone claims that they’re not a fool but the unfortunate truth is that most people lose in sports betting. The reason Las Vegas has billion-dollar hotels on The Strip and not lousy motels is because the squares far outnumber the sharps.

Tendencies Of A Square

  • Betting the lines right before game time (because they didn’t plan ahead)
  • Betting with emotion instead of betting with logic, such as betting on their “favorite teams”
  • Betting just because a game is on TV
  • Not fully researching a game, the matchup, injuries or other key factors
  • Not shopping around for the best price on a game
  • Betting parlays that have big payouts but small chances of winning
  • Someone who buys picks from professional handicappers

Tendencies Of A Sharp

  • Calculated bettor
  • Pro who does this for a living
  • Has multiple accounts
  • Tracks their betting history to monitor wins, losses and profits
  • Bets the lines early
  • Tracks the line movement very closely
  • Bets bigger amounts than squares
  • Their bets will move the lines
  • Will find value wherever it is – even if it’s a smaller event
  • Many will have formulas or systems that they stick to
  • Are very patient (i.e. waits for an opening rather than betting just to bet)
  • Sticks to a specific betting pattern rather than betting random amounts on random games