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Sarah J. Phillips: The sharpest bet is a winning bet

Stop worrying about being on the sharp or square side. The winning side is the only one that counts.

The sharp side doesn’t always win and the square doesn’t always lose. It’s one of the most simple ideologies in betting, but it’s still such an abstract idea to a lot of bettors.

I cringe whenever people ask me who the sharps are on, especially when it flips their opinion and ultimately moves their action from a winner to a loser.

Take, for example, the Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts game from last weekend. I had the ultimate square side with action on the Browns (-2.5). I absolutely loved the idea of betting against the Manningless Colts regardless of where the action was. I knew I was being square and I had no problem with it. A win is a win.

For some reason, because I was touting how square of a pick I was making on the Browns, some friends of mine decided to play the Indianapolis Colts +2.5 simply to be on the sharp side.

What baffled me about their logic was the fact that none of them actually felt the Colts were the right side. This is the type of backwards thinking that lands you in a mountain of ill-advised betting losses.

The Browns covered, and with relative ease, in the fourth quarter.

The moral of the story: Get a number you like on the side you like and disregard what others are doing. You’ll feel better about winning and losing under these circumstances.

Statistic of the Week

The Boston Red Sox have given up 6.48 runs per game in the month of September, which explains why their AL Wildcard leads of nine games over the Rays and 10.5 games over the Angels have now evaporated.

Yeah, I know. It’s a football column. But football is whoring itself out and stealing all of the attention from the Red Sox’s epic collapse. Don’t worry Boston, I see you.

Game of the Week

Jon “Bones” Jones VS Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

The UFC is going WWE to buildup this fight and increase PPV buys by exaggerating the drama between Jon Jones and Quinton Jackson. It’s really unnecessary since this fight already pairs the UFC’s past against the UFC’s future.

Even with a diminishing skill set, Rampage still has the power to knock Jones out. “Bones” is set as a -600 favorite at most shops and deservedly so. But, he’s never been hit. It’s difficult to land a punch on Jones due to his build, but anything can happen, and with one lucky punch, Rampage backers could hit a huge payday on massive odds.

This is must see TV.

Tweet of the Week

@HopeSolo: From The View to a Blackberry shoot! Busy day! Maybe fit in some dancing? But really I just can’t wait to see a ball flying at my face again!

You know what she meant to say. Settle down.

Sarah J. Phillips Insult of the Week

“I put my kids to sleep by reading your columns to them.”

Does this count as community service??

Weekly Covers Column Spotlight

Josh Nagel, Poker pro: Full Tilt never intended to pay customers


T.J. Cloutier discusses Black Friday, the Full Tilt ponzi scheme, and his experiences as an online poker player among other topics with Josh Nagel.

"As far as I am concerned, the government is stupid" Cloutier told Covers.com.

This is a must read for all poker players.

Pick of the Week

Arizona Cardinals (-3) at Seattle Seahawks

Record: 1-0

It’s a pretty simple angle: Arizona is trying to win the division, and Seattle is trying to win Andrew Luck.

Til next time, cover the spread

Check out Sarah Phillips weekly ESPN Page 2 column: Lies, Damned Lies And Statistics.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

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Posted by jiveturkey22
3 years ago

Go Ducks!!! And Sheldon!
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Posted by soLegit
3 years ago

Neither side was a square side. That game had balanced action on both sides. almost 50/50. Yes browns obviously was the play but that is a game I wouldnt have touched because of it being so even. Being on the sharp sides will win you money longterm.
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Posted by hoosline
3 years ago

AZ -3 is not a good pick. Both the Seahawk games where on the road and we play completely different at home. Even though we cant move the ball inside the 20 yard line..I think we will win this one or at least cover +3.5 to be safe. The better bet is the Over which is at 42.5. GL
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Posted by JMatthew
3 years ago

Arizona -3 is a good pick. Seattle is not going to win many games when they're only scoring an average of 8.5 pts a game and giving up 28.5
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Posted by JMatthew
3 years ago

I don't follow sharp action for the simple fact that I don't know who is being referenced. Is it Billy Walters? Joe Tout? or some sportsbook manager that is trying to get you to bet the the other side to equal his action out. The best decisions are your own uninfluenced decisions...
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Posted by Josh_Nagel
3 years ago

Thanks for the plug on my poker piece and I agree with the concept of your column. For a while, I was a "sharp" money follower, even when I knew it was the wrong side. There are only two options on every game, and one of them is correct, and a lot of times it's the "public" side. Mumbling "damn squares" under my breath was of little consolation during the times I was left with an empty wallet just because I chased the "sharp" side. These days, I never hesitate to fade a sharp side if I think I have the best of it. You're right, at the end of the day, holding a winning ticket is all that matters. Good luck to you.
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Posted by eliminat0r85
3 years ago

Croupier! good movie.
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Posted by SharpCheddar
3 years ago

Indy was the square side! No squares were going to lay 2.5 points on the road with THE BROWNS. Especially after they lost week 1 to the Bungals! Sharp pick Philly!
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Posted by houseman
3 years ago

Have a fun weekend Sarah....wish they switched the Eagles/Giants to SNF.....
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Posted by Vividjohn
3 years ago

gl. on ur play sarah j. seattle always been tuff at home. upset saints last season in playoffs. maybe so. i'll look this one over ty.
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Posted by lazzybum
3 years ago

'Get a number you like on the side you like and disregard what others are doing.' The bottom line of sportbetting. It's your money, do what you think is best. If you're wrong more than you're right, find a new hobby.
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Posted by wackycracker
3 years ago

what happened to my O'ss ---guess I'm not as sharp as I thought
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Posted by wackycracker
3 years ago

Now that's square thinking--mind if I angle fr sme rm on the bandwagon !!
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Top Response

Posted by Josh_Nagel
3 years ago

"Thanks for the plug on my poker piece and I agree with the concept of your column. For a while, I was a "sharp" money follower, even when I knew it was the wrong side. There are only two options on every game, and one of them is correct, and a lot of..."