What's a Betting Whale and How to Become One?
The world of sports betting is awash with terminology and phrases that can be confusing.
If you’ve spent much time in the world of sports betting, then you may have come across the notion of a ‘Betting Whale’.
Perhaps you’ve heard someone referred to as a ‘Betting Whale’ and wondered to yourself, “what’s that?”.
What is a Betting Whale?
In sports betting, a whale, often referred to as a betting whale, is somebody who places rather sizable bets. Not only do they place sizable bets, but they place bets that cause the lines to move, often considerably.
What does it mean to move the lines? Well, when bookmakers take plenty of money on a selection, they move the lines. For example, let’s say that the Toronto Maple Leafs were priced at +100 to beat the Montreal Canadiens. Lots of money starts to come in for the Maple Leafs, so the bookmakers will shorten the price, say from +100 to -120.
Typically when there is plenty of market support for something, bookmakers will shorten the odds. When a bookmaker shortens the odds, they’re merely adjusting them to reflect the weight of money placed, in this case, making the Maple Leafs bigger favourites than they already were.
A betting whale places bets so significant that they end up shortening the odds of the selection with their money alone.
Here’s another example:
Let’s assume that the Vancouver Canucks are priced at +150 to beat the Calgary Flames.
If you place $10 on the Canucks to win the game, then the odds aren’t going to move. However, if a betting whale comes along and places $10,000 on the Canucks to emerge victorious from their match-up with the Flames, the odds will shorten.
Betting Whales, are they profitable?
There’s often a misconception in the sports betting world that bettors consistently staking large sums must be successful punters. This is by no means the case.
Just because a bettor throws bundles of cash at sports betting, it does not mean that they’re a winning player. In many cases, that is far from the truth.
Just because ‘Betting Whales’ are known for placing large bets and moving the lines, that doesn’t mean that they’re all winners. In fact, as a general rule, if high-staking players are having bets accepted at sportsbooks, then they’re probably not winning in the long run. Many high-staking players do win, but those players tend to have trouble getting their bets on, and have to rely on betting exchanges like Betfair Canada or other methods.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that all high-rolling players make a success of their betting ventures, as many simply do not. It just so happens that there are plenty of people with access to vast amounts of cash who like to gamble.
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Betting Whales & VIP Treatment
Betting Whales are generally considered to be VIP customers at both sportsbooks and casinos. Why? Because they bet in such large amounts.
Casinos, in particular, will roll out the red carpet for many whales, as they want to encourage such high-rollers to keep playing. This ties in nicely with the above, as casinos aren’t generally in the business of losing money, so they’re unlikely to entice whales that will on a regular basis.
This goes for sports betting too. Many whales will move the odds, but that is just because they’re placing such large wagers, and the weight of that money is enough to shift the lines. That’s just basic supply and demand. The more money for a selection, the shorter the odds become.
Again, sportsbooks will have lots of high-rollers or ‘Betting Whales’ as VIP customers. This means that they’ll give such players extra incentives to play, such as special promotions, free bets, event tickets and so on. Why do sportsbooks do this? Because they want big players playing with them, particularly if they’re in the habit of losing in the long run, which many big players are.
Betting Whale vs Pro Sports Bettor
As touched on above, there’s a general misconception that betting whales are profitable bettors. This is not the case by definition. Some betting whales are profitable, but there are many who are not, they are merely just high rollers in that they stake very sizable amounts.
We shouldn’t confuse a betting whale with a professional sports bettor. There is a difference. Some betting whales may be considered professional bettors, but to be a betting whale is not necessarily to be a pro. Pro sports bettors make a living from betting on sports. Therefore, in the long run, they make a profit. In contrast, many betting whales do not make a living from sports betting. They tend to have successful careers away from gambling, while some are just born wealthy. Either way, this is why they can afford to place such large bets.
Former professional boxer Floyd Mayweather is a perfect example of a whale. The man nicknamed “Money” made a name for himself as not only a hugely successful boxer, who won multiple titles over many years, retiring undefeated, but he also made headlines on several occasions for his betting activities, staking huge sums on sports bets.
Sometimes, the “Money” has got it right and won huge amounts, but on other occasions, he has lost and lost heavily. Famously, back in 2014, Mayweather staked an eye-watering, if not strange, $626,923 on the Denver Broncos to beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the one-time Olympic Silver medalist saw his cash disappear as the Seahawks emerged victorious on the field.
How to become a Betting Whale?
Betting Whales get lots of credit, mainly because it appears as if they’re living a lavish lifestyle, and many are, which is why they receive a lot of envy. However, their lavish lifestyle is often not because of their sports betting or gambling exploits. That’s important to remember.
What do you really want?
Many people want to become betting whales, but what they really mean is they want to become successful bettors, and as touched on above, the two things are not mutually exclusive.
You should ask yourself what it is you want? Do you want to become a successful bettor and make a profit in the long run? Or do you merely want to be somebody who places large bets, big enough to make the lines move?
If all you’re searching for is to become a high-roller in terms of placing very large bets, then assuming you have the bankroll, all you need to do is just that. Simply bet big. Unfortunately, if you want to be somebody who places typical “Betting Whale” bets and doesn’t have access to piles and piles of cash, which, let’s face it, most people do not, then you’re out of luck.
You may be searching for a way to get to a point where you can place wagers like a typical “Betting Whale”, but unfortunately, you’re unlikely to reach that point by placing sports bets.
Finding any sort of success as a sports bettor is incredibly difficult, which is why the vast majority of sports wagerers lose, both in the short term and the long term.
However, that doesn’t mean sports betting success is impossible. It isn’t. There are some very shrewd sports bettors out there who make a profit in the long run, some of which make an awful lot of money from wagering on sports.
If your goal is to become a successful sports bettor rather than simply being somebody who places very large bets, then this is something that you can work towards, but it isn’t for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure.
If you want to stand a chance of becoming a profitable sports bettor, who makes a profit over time, not just in the short term, then there are a few things that you must do.
They are as follows:
- Specialize – you cannot focus on everything. Narrow your approach. Focus on one sport. Within that sport, focus on a certain area, and become an expert. You should also specialize in terms of the type of bets that you’re trying to identify – Moneyline, Point Spreads, whatever it is.
- Be disciplined – discipline is key, so much so that you could say it’s the lifeblood of the serious punter. You must always remain disciplined. Stick to the plan.
- Identify value – a successful bettor must be able to identify value. This means compiling your own odds and examining them against those of the sportsbooks.
- Exploit value – profitable bettors also exploit value. So, when they feel that the odds of a certain bet should be lower than what they are, they take the bet. Why? Because they believe that the chances of success are greater than the odds suggest.
- Record your profit & loss – Serious bettors keep a record of their profit and loss. Take it seriously, and don’t leave out any losses.
- Track your progress – also track your results as well as just the financial profit and loss. Break it down and categorize things by sport, competition, bet type, etc., etc. This will help you to see where it is that you’re doing well and where you’re not doing so well and have a clear understanding of your money management.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that, but by implementing each of the above, you’ll give yourself a solid basis from which to work from.