The main purpose of placing a wager on a game or event is to win money. That is what drives the industry and it’s what has both amateur and pro bettors competing amongst themselves to prove who the best handicapper is. If you ever find yourself placing a bet with the expectation of losing, you are in the wrong business. Whether you can believe it or not, sportsbook place bets from time to time with the expectation losing in order to secure a profit. This term is called the “layoff”
What Does Layoff Mean?
If you ever hear the term “layoff” while lingering around a sportsbook, you should consider yourself lucky and find a way to take advantage of the situation. A “layoff” refers to a bookmaker that places a wager with another bookmaker in order to help reduce the liability on a certain game or to simply balance out the action. The easiest way I can help you understand this is with an example. The Monday night football game between the New England Patriots and the host Dallas Cowboys has turned out to be a hot gameand a specific sportsbook has taken a massive amount of action – both number of bets and dollar amount – on the home team. If the home team (Cowboys) were to cover the spread then the book would lose a lot of money on that game. To assure that this isn’t the case, the sportsbook will try to minimize their risk as much as possible by placing a bet at another sportsbook on the Cowboys. That way, if the Cowboys do happen to cover, they will have the winnings from their own bet to cover some of the losses at their own sportsbook. If by chance the Patriots happen to cover the spread, they would profit large from all the action they took at their own facility, which would cover their own lost bet. In short, this is basically a way sportsbook’s cover their butts.
How to Spot the Layoff Spots
Make no mistakes about it. Layoff spots are nearly impossible to spot. The sportsbook will always have the upper hand in terms of sports betting, so they must never act like they are in a vulnerable position to the betting public. A line that books are scared of is a line that bettors should be aware of and take advantage of, but that information is not made public and is very rarely figured out.
What to do When You Find a Layoff Spot
If you happen to be at the right place at the right time and are lucky enough to stumble across this lucky word, I would advise you to double or triple check the source and figure out why this L word is being thrown around. Most games have balanced action which is why the sportsbooks never go broke. If you come across a game where one side is getting all of the play, you may want to take a step back and decide if you want to be part of the public slaughter that usually always happens. Sportsbooks trust their linemakers and they trust them enough to know they won’t ever put out a bad line which would hurt the business. If a sportsbook is scared, the line may be soft enough for you to take advantage of it and turn out a profit, however I recommend using caution when doing so.
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