We have talked a lot in the past about the significance of the betting odds and especially of their ups and downs. We have come to the conclusion that effective, profitable in the long run bets are considered when odds shorten afterwards. That’s why I quite often show betting charts with declining odds.

That doesn’t mean, though, that we can’t bet effectively when betting odds are drifting!

Today we’ll have a look at such an example on the occasion of Italian Serie B clash between Cagliari and Perugia. The away team managed to upset the market and score a surprise win (0-2). How did their odds move pregame?

To check that, the chart below shows the odds behaviour for all three possible outcomes, as recorded at PinnacleSports.


At first glance, someone would say that Perugia’s odds drifted while Cagliari’s shortened. Given what we’ve said in the past, the correct action would have been to back Cagliari, despite that turning out a losing bet in the end. Bet correctly even if that results in a loss, I often say.

Yet, upon examining the chart a bit more closely, we find out that the bet we should have made, in other words the value bet, should have been on Perugia! The conditions for such a bet came up only during the fixture’s day since early morning till the last hour before the kick-off.

Let’s discuss more thoroughly Perugia’s odds dynamics in order of appearance:

  • Pinnacle’s opening odds were 5.68 a week ago.
  • Soon they drifted a bit up to 5.80 and remained there for the next three days.
  • The highest odds recorded were 7.41, following a two-day uptrend.


  • By the time the game was set to begin, Perugia’s odds have dropped back to 5.87.


According to the above, Pinnacle’s initial estimate was, in fact, correct. If punters bet on either the opening or closing line, they would lose money in the long run. That is because odds are always somewhat lower than their fair price. In other words, sportsbooks offer 1.95 on a coin flip wager, whereas the fair price should be 2.00, of course.

On Monday, though, the day that Cagliari hosted Perugia, the market seemed to favor the home team. The disproportionate big betting volume on Cagliari pushed their odds lower since early morning. As a side effect, Perugia’s odds drifted more.

So, from 7 AM to 7 PM Perugia’s odds fluctuated between 6.80 to 7.40. That’s significantly higher that Pinnacle’s original estimate. If I came across the specific chart at that time, I would probably recommend backing Cagliari myself, due to the data I’d have at hand.

In the last thirty minutes before kickoff time, however, things turned upside down. Between 19:00 and 19:11 the visitors’ line declined from 7.04…


… to 6.26 and from 19:20 to 19:30 (official KO time), the line declined a bit further and closed at 5.87 as I mentioned earlier.


According to the analysis above, we conclude that:

  • The value bet was on Perugia the whole time on the day of the event.
  • Opening and closing odds are pretty similar, proving the correct estimate made by the betting operator.
  • It was wrong to bet on the favourite team, Cagliari. A bigger mistake would have been to back Cagliari on Monday when their odds were shorter.
  • Smart money is betting close to the kickoff time. This event is yet another proof from the myriad reported of this phenomenon.
  • Sharp bettors are more competent to move the line and their smart bets are what the sportsbooks are mostly afraid of. Odds remained almost unaffected during the day, despite regular punters undoubtedly placing their bets.

Charts courtesy of OddsArchive. Use JIMMAKOS coupon to get 15% off when opening an account.