I am always on the lookout for significant movements of betting odds. That obsession of mine made me a big fan of BetExplorer service recently. Their Odds Movements offering, in particular, are quite helpful, to understand what gamblers think of a game. Until now they have included all changes that sportsbooks made to their odds. I just noticed though, that bookmakers’ opening odds are now showing up.

Now, that’s super useful for all handicappers!

To explain why that is, let me give you a walkthrough of my betting philosophy. This way of thinking also led me to develop this betting system.

What do odds movements show?

Say a sportsbook is offering Team A odds at 2.00. Skilled handicappers believe there’s value at those odds and begin betting aggressively. Their big bets lead the bookmaker to change their betting lines. Now Team A’s win pays 1.90. People notice the drop and decide to go with the flow.

Thus, more betting volume is accumulated on Team A. The sportsbook needs to rebalance their odds, further reducing Team A’s odds. Given the globalization of the sports betting industry, other sportsbooks also have to change their odds.

Online handicappers can now bet on Team A at 1.80 worldwide. The odds seem to have stopped moving.

This odds movement confirms a preference by handicappers to bet on Team A. Initially, sportsbooks expected half of the punters to bet on home win. Given the odds action, more than 55% of them placed a bet on Team A.

My betting philosophy begins and ends with a question

The question is whether 2.00 did offer value to smart gamblers or 1.80 is now so low, that there’s value betting on Team B! If that’s the case, opening odds did not have any value.

In other words, who was wrong? The sportsbook with their generous opening odds for Team A, or the punters who pushed the odds to 1.80 when fair value is 2.00?

I have yet to find a reliable answer. I have read academic studies confirming either of them. For the time being, let’s just assume that sportsbooks were correct. That means, opening odds did not offer any value.

My betting system linked above follows this specific approach.

The value of BetExplorer offering Opening Odds

A year ago I was posting betting tips according to that betting system. I called it the “Betting Against the Trend” system. In brief, I was tipping teams that had their odds increased!

That was in line with my way of thinking. Sportsbooks were right. If odds were drifting, punters were creating value.

If you look at my betting tips of that time (usually shared at my social profiles), I often included a screenshot of BetExplorer. I did that to demonstrate my philosophy. Let’s see an example.

France U21 odds were drifting [check the original Google+ post]

France U21’s odds drifted from 2.25 to 2.63. Thus, I tipped France to beat Portugal in that Under-21 game.

So, what was the problem in that?

The problem lied to the first quoted odds at the bottom. Sportsbooks, specifically BetVictor in this instance, offered 2.25 on the home win a day earlier. But was that the opening odds? I could not be sure. Although a rarity, I could not rule out the possibility that BetVictor offered France’s win at 2.50 or higher at the very beginning!

Should that have happened, 2.63 were quite close to the opening odds. Hence, there was actually no value at those drifting odds! In fact, the market might have just been correcting itself after misguided handicappers strongly favored France’s chances to win the game!

Today’s example

Panthrakikos is hosting Kalloni today in Greek Super League. Yes, I know, you wouldn’t bet that eagerly on anything that featured the word “Greek” nowadays. Nonetheless, it’s the perfect example for this post. Notice the odds movement of Panthrakikos, once again derived from BetVictor sportsbook.


Now, I do have the opening odds’ data that was missing last year. I know for a fact that BetVictor’s line for the home win was at 1.87. Punters did bet aggressively on Panthrakikos win, leading Kalloni’s odds to skyrocket from opening at 4.60!


My betting tip, should I applied my old betting system, would be a Kalloni win tonight. Yet, I won’t bet as I first need to back test the system. Feel free to do so, but even if you aren’t interested, I’m sure your betting performance will improve by checking BetExplorer’s opening odds. It’s one more piece of information to solve the betting puzzle!

Oh, and one more thing: I would trust Pinnacle Sports’ opening odds over any other sportsbook. Just saying.