What is a push pull spot?
A push and pull spot is one my preferred angles when handicapping sports. The main difference between a “buy low, sell high” and a push and pull is that a push and pull is a buy low and sell high going directly against each other. The market situation sets up when the market is heavily buying one team and selling the other.
The “pushing” of the value up and “pulling” of the value down stretches the market above and below the true price. Bettors who can spot the difference are able to squeeze out considerable value in their wagers.
Push and pull spots are most frequently created by accumulating perception. It is not a stretch to say that teams performing above average and winning will draw more money and attention than teams performing below average and losing, but the important thing to evaluate in push and pull spots is the odds movements in prior games.
Many bettors will only look at recent win/loss trends instead of identifying teams that are attracting money in the market. The “recency bias” exists in almost every sports betting market as bettors love to overreact to what they saw last, while market makers do not make short term adjustments. This is why teams being pushed are often overvalued, and why teams being pulled are offered at a discount.
Existing market precedence
Evaluating existing market precedence is an often ignored tactic by bettors. As mentioned above, understanding if a team is being bought or sold by the market is important. Equally important is finding a baseline for the market price.
A good place to start looking for market precedence is in recent matchups between the two teams during the same season. Each price in a betting market is initially set based off of a bookmakers’ rating.
Unless there are critical injuries or major adjustments within the team, the odds between two matchups of the same team should be the same price with the difference of venue change and home field advantage.
If a bettor can calculate home field advantage, they can often see the true bookmaker rating and adjustment for recent performance in the initial odds.
Looking at all of the games available to bet on for a single day can be overwhelming. If bettors do not have enough time to maintain a regression model, a good starting point for finding push and pull spots is comparing opening prices equal to current prices in games featuring a team performing well.
When odds remain static and do not move in games involving an over-performing team, it is often an indicator that a tug-of-war scenario is taking place – with money pushing and pulling the over-performing team in conjunction with the under-performing team.
How to bet on push and pull spots
Bettors should start by seeking out static prices in the betting market. An evaluation of the past five to seven matches should be done to see if one team is producing winning results while the other is producing losing results – remember to look for extreme streaks only.
If contradicting perception exists, begin to look for market precedence. Has the over-performing team been bet up or down in the recent matches? Has the under-performing team been bet up or down in the recent matches? If there is a contrast in the betting market, look for recent meetings between the two teams.
Adjust for home field and evaluate the difference in price. If the price is higher or lower, that is the market adjustment for recent performance. The handicap to determine value is then comparing the market adjustment for recent performance to the true market value. If it is too high, there is almost certainly value betting the team being pulled in the market.