The Difference Between Sharp & Soft Books

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Sharp bookies or sportsbook are generally smaller companies or corporations that cannot run large promotional offers.

These are the ones that will also generally offer you better odds for a number of events.

Soft bookies are generally easier to get better prices on specific events once in a while, but generally speaking will have larger spreads.

For example, a soft book is usually the large companies and sites that don’t specialise in a number of sports but still offer the markets.

In the UK we see this all the time with ridiculous spreads for some markets on American sports.

I’m writing this post is so people can understand the difference and profit from it if you move quickly, for example, if the prices on a sharp book and a soft book are the same for a specific event.

To keep things simple let’s say it’s +100 for a team to win and let’s use a hockey game as an example.

Here they are the underdogs but it’s pretty close.

Now imagine that the goalie assumed or announced to start for the opposition is ill or injured and the reverse will be in; let’s say a Carey Price vs Montreal’s reverse, whoever that might be.

So now our price is going to move drastically, probably by .2 or .3 to -120 or -130.

Imagine if we could get on this before the move happened? We would be getting a really good price and essentially be ahead before the game even starts.

Well, sharp book’s prices will move as soon as the announcement is released, meaning you won’t be able to get the better price.

But the soft books are very slow to move their prices.

For example, Pinnacle will move as soon as the announcement is made, but a bookie such as Coral or Bwin will be very slow, especially for sports such as ice hockey.

They do have lower maximum plays (you’ll probably have issues placing bets bigger than £300 at once) but when you can get a .3 better price, you have to place some of your stake here, even if you cannot place the entire amount.

Below is an image from this post showing examples and explaining exactly what sharp and soft bookies are.

Sharp vs Soft sportsbooks

The major points and issues generally seen are the following:

  • Sharp bookies do not limit people’s accounts. (Good thing)
  • Soft bookies give you better prices and move slowly (Great thing)

So if you have units above $1,000+ then you’ll almost always have to use sharp bookies.

This can be a pain when you see such a good price movement, but you’ll just get limited very quickly if you win too many big bets on a soft bookie.

There’s another good post on sharp and soft bookmakers here.

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