TSP Live Education: The Ultimate Guide To Using The Sharp Plays Content

Time to read: 20-22 minutes

There are going to be more than just a few people who “don’t have 20 minutes” to read the following (you don’t have to read it right now). These folks are just too lazy. It is that same laziness that will prevent them from being successful as gamblers. When they fail, and they will, they will blame everyone and everything else but themselves (“sports are rigged”, “the content sucks”, “the universe hates me”, “you can’t win at gambling”, etc.). I didn’t just wake up one day as a winning gambler, I was a loser for a while, but I always felt if others could succeed at gambling, so could I…if I worked for it…and I did. To quote Morpheus (“The Matrix”), “You take the blue pill [stop reading]…the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill…you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Alright, so let’s say I have an algorithm. My algorithm makes selections on every side and total on the board each day across all sports. Oh and let’s assume the way the algorithm makes these selections does not create situations where one side or total is rated higher than another based on some metric. All selections from the algorithm are considered equal in quality/strength. I track the algorithm’s wins, losses, win percentage, unit performance and ROI…overall and by sport on a daily basis. Over three years my hypothetical algorithm had 71,000 bets, won +10,600 units and achieved an ROI of +5%…solid unit total and ROI (most professional bettors achieve a +3-7% ROI). How should you use this algorithm?

Should you bet on every game? It’s probably not possible because the volume is just too immense. Imagine betting the side and total of every game on the board. In an average day this could easily be 200+ selections. How would you do it? Sure there are ways…and a few (<1%) would have the discipline and bankroll capability to be successful too…but most would fall apart. Most would fall apart, not due to the content, but rather because it takes discipline and a lot of effort to bet every side and total every day. Nobody would ever admit the failure was with them or their methods…it must be the content. These same folks likely opened this article when the alert hit…and then took the blue pill and quit before they even got this far. You can bet they will be the first to bitch when something doesn’t work out for them in their betting.

Still the question remains…how should you use the above hypothetical algorithm’s selections? Since you can’t bet every single side and total of every single game, you have to make some decisions on what to bet. However, the way this algorithm works, all bets are valued equally. If some selections were rated higher than others that would make it easy to pick what to bet. Perhaps the best use of a winning algorithm that provides so many wagering angles each day is as a filter instead of a blind follow.

A filter for what? Perhaps your own handicapping or information you get from other sources. Maybe you have a handicapper you like and that handicapper has 5 bets for that day…one of those bets agrees with the algorithm…maybe that is your one bet for the day. Perhaps you handicapped a bunch of games and your handicap of 25 games sees 3 of those bets agree with the algorithm…perhaps those are the three games you bet. Theoretically, even if you randomly select 10 bets out of 300 that the algorithm puts out each day, if the algorithm is hitting 55% then you should expect to win 55% whether you bet 10 random bets from the algorithm per day or the full 300 bets the algorithm put out each day. ALTHOUGH…there will be times the 300 for that day hit 55% and you hit 30% on the 10 random bets you chose…and EQUALLY occasions when the algorithm hits 55% on its 300 and you hit 80% on your 10…getting you to that same 55% average over both days as time smooths the volatility.

As of the date of this article, TSP.Live has a performance of +483 units over a three year period, a +11.6% ROI and a 54.2% win percentage…on over 4,172 logged angles/wagers during that time. I would say 4,172 angles is a pretty good sized data set. Despite this success, the most common problem is people don’t know what to bet, so they bet everything or they constantly jump around between different content to try to ride what’s hot…approaches which rarely work. Having a consistent approach is essential. When content has a +11.6% ROI…it’s not the content that is the reason for a lack of success…it is usually the individual’s strategy, bankroll management (or lack thereof), lack of patience, or lack of effort to put in the time to manage and think through how best to use the content for themselves.

QUESTION: TSP, if the content has an 11.6% ROI, won’t I make money assuming it continues to win in the future if I just bet it all? So, can I just bet everything?

ANSWER: Yes, if you are a robot and don’t have emotions…and thereby can ride the ups and downs without any change to your strategy…every single day. If that’s you, you absolutely could bet everything and grind a profit…assuming the content continues to have a positive ROI. However, there’s a problem…you are not a robot. Don’t overestimate your ability to control your emotions. You can read countless stories of successful veteran gamblers imploding during a cold run. Nobody is immune. Once someone gets “on tilt” in a losing streak, we all know how it can go.

When you are betting quantity the volatility can be wild. You could have a run of 50 angles where you make 25 units…SOLID. You could then have a run of 50 angles where you lose 21 units. It brings you to 100 total wagers and a 4 unit profit. Winning 25 units is easy, losing 21…even after just winning 25 on the previous run…will test 99% of bettors. Once you feel that 25 units in your hands you hate to let it go and when it starts to go you will do anything to get it back immediately. You will press, chase, jump from strategy to strategy and likely lose your discipline. Instead of winning 25 units and losing 21 for a net of 4 units of profit (4% ROI) over the 100 wagers as a robot would do…there is a very high probability that you would win the 25 units, but turn the -21 unit run into a -35 unit run or more through emotion. Our robot is +4 units after 100 selections. Our human is -10 units after the same 100 selections. I cannot emphasize the previous sentence enough! It happens ALL the time! Gambling is just a series of hot and cold runs. Successful gamblers have slightly longer and/or slightly more frequent hot runs than cold runs and that gives them their profit. If you can’t manage the inevitable and FREQUENT cold runs, you are toast…and most cannot.

I would also suggest you give this episode a listen to when you have the chance: Go Fast And Win podcast, Episode 6 on Bankroll Management (click here). I share my own experience in poor bankroll management…from $3,000 to $170,000 to $0.

Before we can talk strategy and content, let’s discuss the issues that prevent gamblers from success before they even bet.

One of the biggest issues for gamblers is laziness. Far too many, and if you are honest many of you reading this would fit the bill (not trying to be rude, just honest), don’t want to think or put in any effort. You want me or someone else to tell you EXACTLY what to bet, you will go bet it and your bookmaker will give you money. Zero effort…new income stream to your life…so long as you pay a small subscription price and spend 2 minutes a day reading the selections. Don’t lie to me or yourself. I get your messages…I know the thoughts…this is a big one for most.

Don’t be embarrassed, I was a lazy gambler for a long-time too. I started betting in high school and I did so because I wanted to make a nice income without working at a job like my friends. I paid handicappers and used money from family chores to fund my gambling in the hope of making a nice weekly income. I had fun at times, but I did not have any consistent income at it…it would take years and a lot of learning to get to that point.

Unfortunately, gambling isn’t easy. Successful gambling and laziness do not go together. You ever try card counting at a blackjack table when the dealer is dealing at a lightning fast pace? Lazy card counters get eaten alive. You ever see a lazy poker player that is successful? I have not. Those guys grind at the tables for hours and hours. Sports gambling is no different. I don’t wake up, deduce three wagers in 10 minutes, put my action in and then go read a book by the pool for the rest of the day…nothing further to do. I spend 3-4 hours each morning just to put together the initial TSP Live morning update (Legal Pad & tables)…and get them out by 10-11am ET most days. All that time ends up providing just 2-3 brief paragraphs on the TSP Legal Pad, an Algorithm Selection or two, and a rated wager or two for the Degenerate Portfolio…plus the Go Fast And Win content…from 3-4 HOURS of time and effort. Yes I minimize the time you as the subscriber/follower need to devote to your wagering…that’s what you get for your subscription payment, but the most successful subscribers take time to further analyze things for themselves instead of just blind following.

The other problem is nobody likes to lose. So, someone might develop a strategy for using the content and then have a losing day or a losing week and then immediately change their strategy entirely. It’s an awful way to operate. By chasing the hot content you will almost always arrive too late…just in time to meet Mr. Regression (that son of a bitch!). Often when you leave cold content is exactly the moment when that cold content gets hot again. It’s the nature of the beast. The time to follow a handicapper that is 24-3 ATS (against the spread) on their L27 selections is not on selection #28. If anything, it’s time to think about fading such a hot handicapper because likely the regression is close. I did a whole article about “Chasing the Dragon” on this topic because so many fall into this trap…or abyss. I would advise checking out the article for a deeper dive on the topic. Don’t get me wrong, it is OK to reassess your strategy all the time. It’s another thing to have a bad weekend, week, or even month and immediately make a hard right turn on your strategy. Maybe it was just a bad month…those are going to happen every year…multiple times. Consistency is key in successful sports betting. Only way to avoid bad months or bad runs is not to gamble. If you have made it this far in the article then not gambling is likely not an option. You’re my kind of person! LOL!

Here’s an exercise…flip a coin and pretend you are always betting on heads. You are going to get a run of 8 tails in a row at some point or get to a point where tails is winning 54% of the time. It doesn’t mean you should switch from heads and ride tails. If anything there is likely tails regression coming (based on probability) and your heads bets will collect a nice chunk back as the tails win percentage slides back to 50% over the long-term.

The same applies if a long-term angle that hits 58% goes 0-8. It’s not time to fade that content because of this short term result…you keep riding it the same way as always and play the progression back to the mean of 58% winners. The progression to the mean could be a 14-2 run for a 14-10 overall record (there is our 58% winning % again). Last year Book Positions had an 0-5 run. I cannot tell you the chaos that ensued on what is a relatively tiny and statistically insignificant cold run. Despite that run, over the long-term, Book Positions are hitting at 62.7% for an incredible +21.7% ROI! If you stopped betting Book Positions after the 0-5 run because it was too painful, you never were there for any progression to cut that loss and get back to profits…or worse you stopped betting after 0-5, Book Positions then went 5-0 without you and you jumped back on to go 0-2. So, in this hypothetical example, everyone else is 5-7 at this point, which is not winning, but it is much better than your 0-7 by jumping on and off.

Let’s discuss optimal usage examples of the content. First and foremost the content is not intended nor designed to be a blind follow, but to educate and inform you of the action in the betting markets and information on the activities of sharps, groups, syndicates, sportsbooks, etc. so you can make more informed betting decisions! Even when I share my exotics or my action in the Degenerate and Go Fast And Win Portfolios…it’s not to get you to follow, but to give you a perspective of how I see the content, what I like, how I am using it, tiered betting, and more to get you to look at the content in different ways too.

So, what should you do when a TSP Live alert or other TSP content comes out? Your first thought should not be immediately to go out and bet what is in that alert or message. Your first thought should be to assess the angle in the alert or whatever I am discussing.

  1. Perhaps the content is a 1 unit KB Consensus alert on Tampa Bay -6 over Las Vegas. Instead of immediately betting TB -6, you check your line service app to see who has the best price available and you notice the line opened -4.5.
    • Maybe you don’t like chasing numbers, so you decide to use this information for in-play purposes…waiting for Tampa -4.5 or getting more aggressive and hoping to get Tampa +3.5 using the In-Play Targets Table (link is on the TSP Live Dashboard menu).
    • Perhaps you liked Las Vegas a lot. So, maybe you decide you can’t bet Tampa but now you will hold off on betting Las Vegas.
    • Maybe you like Tampa -6 a little, and are open to betting Tampa -6, but you prefer to use Tampa Bay in a teaser, drop it to PK and add in another game you like of San Francisco +2.5.
    • Maybe you feel Tampa will win by 15, so you have no problem laying the -6.
    • Maybe you just decide to pass because KB Consensus plays are 0-1 and you want to wait for the next win to then try to ride the next run…or you just pass for whatever reason.
  2. Perhaps I discuss on Twitter that some small sharp money is betting San Francisco +5. What does this mean? Correct, it means bet the farm on San Francisco +4 (because you will chase any price if sharps are on something). Then when San Fran loses by 10 you will become a total mental case because how could sharp money ever lose a bet?!?! Newsflash…public hits 50% over a sample of 100 bets and sharps hit 53-54%. The line between public loser and sharp winner is only 3-4 bets out of every 100 bets.
    • For me, when I report something like #2 here, if I didn’t have any feeling on the game, I likely do NOTHING with the information. I will keep it in my pocket for later. If information comes out before the game, and it favors San Francisco, and the current price feels good maybe I bet it. It will depend on the additional information.
    • Maybe I did nothing pregame, but I remembered this information and now I see San Francisco is down 14 early in the game and I assess they are down because of bad luck and not bad play…knowing sharps like +5 and now I can get +20.5…maybe I’ll take a shot based on the entirety of this setup…pregame sharp action, bad luck setting up a big in-play price compared to what sharps initially targeted, my personal assessment of actual gameplay, etc.
  3. A real life example was yesterday night. For Monday Night Football I reported Ja’Marr Chase OVER 60.5 receiving yards was the big public prop of the night. Thereby the UNDER 60.5 was the Public Prop Fade. Did I blind bet the UNDER? No, here’s what I said…”While the angle will be graded as a Public Prop Fade, I am going to pass on betting Chase UNDER because I hope he has a ton of yards and scores 8 TD’s to get my OVER 39 and 40 tonight! So, instead of using the Public Prop Fade to fade the public, here’s what I am thinking…If the Public Prop Fade does win…and the OVER for the game is to cash…then likely someone else (other than Chase) on Cincinnati has to get yards. Nobody seems to be expecting much from Higgins due to coming back from injury, but I like risk, so I will take a chance here. Instead of taking Chase UNDER, I am going with Higgins OVER 39.5 (-115) Receiving Yards.

    Now in the end Higgins fell short by 4 yards…but Chase had 149 yards. Oh and when the Chase prop was long dead, my Higgins bet was at least still alive. So, at a minimum I got a better sweat for my money.

The point of the above is that in no case am I just blind betting content. I am using the content to educate myself and assess your best course of action to utilize that information OR NOT. Sometimes it will be to follow the information. Sometimes it will be to do something else with the information. Sometimes I will do nothing with the information…pregame or in-play. In examples #1, #2 or #3 you did not blind follow but made an overall situational assessment based on the entirety of the information in front of you (or me).

Another real life example of taking time to think comes from a Book Need alert from this past weekend (12/3/23). New England +4.5 had a Book Need reading of 72 which means it is a medium Book Need. Therefore, an alert went out to let you know that New England +4.5 would be graded as a medium Book Need (which means on a 1 unit basis…logged and recorded). However, to open some minds instead of being an “alert zombie” (someone who just blind follows anything that’s logged & graded), I intentionally noted the price of +4.5 isn’t optimal and perhaps the better strategy, instead of just blind betting Pats +4.5, just because it will be graded for performance tracking at that price, is to maybe use New England in a teaser and bring it to +10.5 with another wager you like…or maybe you hate betting the awful Patriots and you pass altogether. In the end, using the teaser for the reasons outlined was the best course since the Patriots lost by 6…failing to cover the +4.5, but cashing the +10.5 in a teaser. See what a difference thinking through an alert and devising a strategy can do. Yes, it’s good to know New England is a medium Book Need, but it is better to think how best to use that information within your wagering and based on the situation. Whether you win or lose isn’t the point…and there is no right or wrong answer. We only know what was right or wrong after the game. The point is content is not intended to be a blind follow, but to educate you on action so you can make better wagering decisions. Have I said the previous sentence enough yet?!? I personally do not bet 70-80% of the alerts and content that goes out, I do however use 100% of the content/information to assess wagers and decide to bet or pass.

Oh and if you tell me you don’t have the time to assess bets then you are a liar. You know how long it took me to come up with the Higgins idea for MNF…less than 5 minutes. You know how long it took me to come up with the Patriots teaser idea…less than a minute after seeing Patriots move above into being a medium Book Need on the table and seeing the line had dropped from +6 to +4.5.

QUESTION: TSP, why not share your two cents on every bit of content?

ANSWER: While I may be a professional gambler and have been one for almost two decades now, I am not Nostradamus. There are countless times where I do something and one of you will share your bets or how you used the same content and you did it far better! Great example were guys who messaged me and said they liked my idea of not fading the Chase OVER (by betting UNDER) on Monday Night Football, but instead they bet Mixon OVER because they thought if Chase went UNDER (and the fade won) then perhaps Mixon would go OVER because maybe the Bengals would run a lot…and he did! I lost on my Higgins idea, but you won on your Mixon idea using the same content! Perfect example of using the Public Prop Fade not as a follow but to educate you on possible alternate options to use that same information.

I wager based on what feels right for me and what is right for me might not be right for you. I do not want to talk you into a bet you didn’t like…and it loses (like Higgins OVER). Likewise I do not want to talk you out of a bet you liked (Mixon OVER) and it wins, but you followed me instead and took Higgins OVER. However, I will often share educational tidbits like I did in the Book Needs alert or the prop fade on Telegram in the hope it can help you view the content in completely different ways.

The goal of The Sharp Plays is to educate you as much as possible by providing information you otherwise would not know or would not have access so you can make the best decisions for yourself.

One of the causes for people becoming “alert zombies” is that they see the content is rated on a 1 unit basis and they assume it means I am telling them I think they should bet the content for 1 unit. In reality, posting the “1 unit” label is just the way I let you know what is being logged in the content logs and recorded in the records tables for performance tracking.

I have debated removing the unit tracking and instead just doing the ROI tracking (a change that could occur this week pending further thought). Frankly, ROI tracking is much more important than unit tracking. If I tell you that an angle is +50 units, that sounds great…until I tell you those 50 units are based on 15,000 wagers. At the same time if I tell you an angle is +50 units, but it is over 500 wagers, that sounds a lot better. You know why it sounds better…ROI (return on investment)! At 500 wagers, the 50 units is a +10.0% ROI, at 15,000 wagers the 50 units is a +0.3% ROI. Sure, both are winning…but the important part isn’t the units, it is the ROI. Knowing wins and losses gives you the sample size and having the ROI is really all you need to make an assessment on an angle. The unit tracking is redundant to ROI. ROI of 5% means for every dollar you bet on this content you would have made $0.05.

By removing the unit basis of grading, perhaps people would stop reading an alert and see “1 unit” and immediately think that’s what they should bet. Chase UNDER 60.5 was graded on a 1 unit basis for performance tracking…but I did not bet it! New England +4.5 as a medium Book Need was graded on a 1 unit basis for performance tracking…but I did not bet it that way! The only reason for a unit rating was to provide an easy way of letting you know it is a tracked angle. Instead of people seeing that to mean something was tracked, it has become “TSP says I should bet this and for 1 unit”…which is a problem since likely TSP (me) is not betting it that way.

By removing the “1 unit” from alerts, and instead just confirming that something will be logged and tracked for win/loss and ROI might then force people to take the time to assess the information instead of just assuming they should bet 1 unit on it. Not all content and situations are created equal…but a 1 unit note for tracking in content makes people believe that’s what they should be doing and EVERY TIME they see it. Medium Book Needs (+8.5% ROI) and KB Consensus 60-69% angles (+23.9% ROI) are not nearly equal in performance, but saying they are graded on a 1 unit basis makes people believe they are. Sure both are profitable, and worthy of betting, but clearly one has a much greater bang for your wagering buck than the other.

Here’s a better example…TSP Live Radar 65-73 angles are +30.2 units…SOLID! KB Consensus 70-79% are +13.1 units…nice profit. Well, TSP Live Radar 65-73 holds a +3.0% ROI, whereas KB Consensus 70-79% holds a +37.4% ROI. It shows the insignificance of unit tracking except as a means of calculating ROI based on number of selections.

The goal of 1 unit tracking was always just done to build a performance metric for analysis. If I have an idea for an angle, the only way I know if that angle is worthwhile is to track it…the wins, the losses and any profits (i.e. units) which then translate into ROI%. What if I issued an alert today and said there is a “Zebra Level” sharp buy on Tampa -6. What is your first thought? Your first thought is likely “what the fuck is a Zebra Level sharp buy.” Once I explain that part, what is your immediate next thought? “What’s the performance of Zebra Level sharp buys?” Having a performance metric allows that information to always be at your fingertips for assessment.

I have said it many times before and it continues to remain true…the most successful users of TSP Live content are those who use the content within their overall wagering strategy to become more informed bettors…not zombie blind followers of every bit (or most) content.

There is one small caveat regarding units in content. There are occasions when I share my unit rated exotics (parlays/teasers/rollovers), my Degenerate Portfolio or the Go Fast And Win Portfolio action. In those cases unit tracking is essential to show bet sizing within a portfolio. However, in all the other content the goal of listing “1 unit” isn’t to show bet sizing, but confirm something is being logged and recorded.

Oh and remember, when it comes to my shared wagers, I am just sharing my wagers which are sized and setup in a way that works for me, my bankroll, my tolerances, my likes and dislikes, etc….but my tolerances are not your tolerances and so the wagers won’t work for everyone. Some may bet more, some less, some nothing at all…some may even fade because they have such conviction on the other side of the bet. You have to assess each situation for yourself.

Alright my friends, we have come to the end of this thesis. It was long, but if you made it this far I am very proud of you! You definitely have the drive to be successful at sports gambling, and I hope I can assist you to achieve that outcome. The keys to remember out of all of this…

  1. The goal of TSP content is to inform you of things you otherwise would not be aware and educate you, not to direct your wagering.
  2. If there are 10 bits of content/alerts in a given day, and you have 10 wagers, likely you did something wrong.
  3. There will be times the content released wins and the way you used that content to bet loses…don’t sweat those occasions. There will equally be occasions where the content loses and you win because of the way you bet it (i.e. those who bet Mixon OVER instead of the Prop Fade of Chase UNDER).
  4. Unit ratings were intended to be read as “this content is logged and graded” not “TSP says I should bet this”.
  5. Gambling is not free and easy money.
  6. Nothing good in life comes easy!

I am sure there will be another article on this topic (probably much shorter) to further discuss the ideas above. In the meantime, I hope you look at the content in a completely different way after reading this article and I would suspect that way will likely lead to an increase in performance as you use the content more in the way it was intended.

Thank you as always for the support and making everything The Sharp Plays possible! I hope that the time and education I provide in return, along with the content, makes it all worthwhile for you!

Please send any questions and feedback as it could assist the basis for a follow-up article in the future!

Good luck!