Learn the difference between soft and sharp bookmakers


Soft and sharp bookmakers – Learn the difference

Have you ever come across the terms ‘soft’ and ‘sharp’ bookmakers? In this article, we’ll explain what this means, and why the sports betting industry is split into these two groups of bookmakers.

Some bookmakers determine their odds based on mathematical models. These are called sharp bookmakers and they adjust their odds automatically.  For instance, if an important player gets injured right before a game,  a sharp bookmaker would automatically adjust the odds for that game in seconds according to this new information.

Due to odds constantly changing, sharp bookmakers usually operates under a different business model than the rest. It is called  ‘reduced margin pricing’ and it is based on a high volume of bets at a low margin. The low margin for error allows sharp bookmakers to offer better odds than soft bookmakers.
Using sharp bookmakers for arbitrage betting purpose is great since they allow high stakes and won’t limit you.  One of the most renowned sharp bookmakers is Pinnacle, which openly welcome arbitrage players.

The other category is the soft bookmakers. These bookmakers change odds much slower due to manual odds movement. They are often less accurate in determining the correct odds and it could take minutes or even hours before their odds get adjusted according to market changes.
Unlike sharp’s, soft bookmakers will eventually limit you if they find out that you are a smart bettor or arber. You should use them for as long as possible, and when (or if) you get limited just move on to another one. RebelBetting supports plenty of bookmakers to benefit from.

Why you should use both soft and sharp bookmakers

An arbitrage opportunity arises when bookmakers present different but sufficiently high odds on each side of an event. These golden opportunities often happen between a soft and a sharp bookmaker – this is why you need them both. Using only sharp bookmakers can be tempting, but it is almost impossible to place arbs between two sharp’s due to the simple fact that they are very fast at changing odds.

Below is a list of characteristics  to help you tell soft and sharp bookmakers apart:

Sharp bookmakers:

  •  Automatic odds movements
  •  Convergent odds movements between sharp bookmakers
  •  Odds changes fast in response to news and market changes
  •  Profit based on high turnover and low margin
  •  Players won’t get limited
  •  Examples of sharp bookmakers are Pinnacle, SBO, 12Bet and betting exchanges like Smarkets, Matchbook, Betfair along with Asian bookmakers like Singbet, IBCbet and BetISN.

Soft bookmakers:

  • Manual odds movement
  • Slow odds correction in response to market changes
  • Profit based on casual players and gamblers
  • Don’t like winners and may limit sharp bettors and arbers
  • Example of soft bookmakers are Bwin, William Hill, Coral, Bet365 and Ladbrokes



18 October 2017