May 22, 2024

From Betting Tips to Industry Red Tape — 7 Insights from Novig’s Head of Trading, Henry Kerins

Jacob, CEO (Image)
Jacob Fortinsky

On the latest episode of Linecraft, I picked the brain of Henry Kerins, the Head of Trading here at Novig. With a treasure trove of experience as a bettor and his background in tech from his Bloomberg days, he came with plenty to share on the state of the sports betting world and even some tips on being a better bettor.

As someone who has sat on both sides of the table, Henry brings a unique perspective to the conversation. He not only knows all the ins and outs of what it takes to be a sharp bettor but also has a front-row seat to how sportsbooks operate on a day-to-day basis. That combo of experiences allows him to speak confidently on exploiting inefficiencies in the market and why books must be so careful about managing their risk.

In this conversation, Henry and I dove into the cat-and-mouse game between bettors and bookmakers. We explored how the market evolves in real-time as information hits the wire and how the most successful players stay a step ahead. For anyone out there trying to turn a profit as a bettor, it was a masterclass in the kind of thinking and strategies you need to employ.

You definitely don't want to miss a minute of my conversation with Henry.  Catch the full episode right here:

In the meantime, here are 7 golden nuggets to chew on.

1. Sharpen your skills on opening lines

Henry's #1 piece of advice for bettors looking to get to the next level? It's all about betting opening lines and seeing how you fare against the closing number.

"The lowest hanging fruit, if your goal is just to get better, is to start by betting openers and then seeing how your bets perform against the close and ignoring results. For a long time, that's all you're really going to need to be focused on."

Why are opening lines key? They tend to be softer targets compared to the razor-sharp lines right before game time. By throwing down on openers and tracking how often you're on the right side of the line moves, you can hone your skills without getting caught up in the day-to-day swings. It's all about trusting the process.

2. Know your teams inside and out

According to Henry, one of the top ways to sniff out a solid bet is to go deep on the quirks and trends of specific teams and leagues. He used a great example from the Colts last season:

"The Colts were a big over team in the second half of last season, partly because of the way Steichen was coaching. You saw that they were doing a ton of design runs with and you realize, ‘Oh, these games are eating up clock in a way that maybe wasn't expected.’"

When you really immerse yourself in the nitty-gritty of how teams are operating – stuff like coaching tendencies and player usage – you can identify spots where the betting market is a step behind. That's how you find your edge.

3. Go in on high-volume markets

For all the ambitious bettors out there shooting to make this a career, Henry broke down what it takes to make consistent profits.

"The longer you go on doing this, the more you land on trying to be sustainable. You have to bet late into major markets. There's nobody really who is making a career of picking off all player prop lines.”

While it's tempting to get cute chasing soft lines in less popular markets, the reality is that the edges there are usually too thin and don't scale well. To make it long-term, you have to roll with the big dogs and beat the closing line in the sharpest, highest-volume markets.

4. Keep an eye out for early sharp action

Wanna know how to stay one step ahead of the masses? Henry spoke to me about the power of spotting steam moves before they pop off market-wide:

"If I saw sharp bets leaking on a specific book overnight and the next day after limits go up the whole market moves that direction - as a bettor, I might start thinking about copying that or trying to get to the bottom of it."

When you see a bunch of limit bets pounding a line at a few sharp books, especially overnight, that's often a telltale sign that the wise guys are on the scent of something. If you're quick, you can tag along for the ride before the broader market catches wind. Just remember, the books have to be careful about following suit too quickly to avoid getting taken to the woodshed.

5. Don't fall for pick-selling snake oil

In the wild west of sports betting Twitter, there's no shortage of people hawking hot picks. Henry sounded the alarm on services that promise the moon without giving you the full picture:

"I do think some people will fork up a lot of money for services like those without realizing how quickly their account is going to get limited and that there may not actually be a net positive return.”

Before you pay for a pick service or betting tool, ensure they're not just blathering about insane win rates and nonstop profits. If they're not upfront about the very real chance of your accounts getting jammed from following their plays, run for the hills.

6. Too much red tape drives folks to the black market

Legal sports betting has been a game-changer, but Henry flagged how operators can end up making it a headache for bettors to get in on the action:

"One of the upsides of regulated sports betting is bringing it out into the open, right? Keeping people off of offshores, cracking down on PPH, and human bookies. But, the more obstacles you create for people to be able to bet on regulated apps, how much they have to expose about themselves, and the bank details they have to send. That’s all friction that drives people back into black market and gray market betting."

No one's saying books should let anyone and everyone run wild, but there has to be a middle ground where you can protect folks without making them jump through a million hoops. Every unnecessary step is just another reason for average Joes to stick with their local bookie, who lets them bet with no questions asked.

7. Most bettors want the total package, not just tight lines

A lot of operators get caught up in a race to the bottom on odds, but Henry laid out why that alone isn't enough to really hook most folks:

"Ultimately, people are betting primarily for fun, not to maximize their returns. And that's why I think it's important for us to prioritize building things like same game parlays and player props and really build out a robust product that can rival some of the larger recreational books."

At the end of the day, having slightly better prices is great, but it's just one piece of the puzzle. Most bettors, sharps, and squares alike want the whole package – tons of markets, cool promos, a slick app, and all the bells and whistles. It takes the total package to really build something that can compete with the industry giants.

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Questions?
We have answers

What will be available when Novig launches in CO?

Exchange wagering is not currently approved. Until it is, Novig will operate as an Internet Sports Betting Operator. We’ll then transition to offering our full platform as soon as we get the green light from the regulators.

How will Novig make money without charging fees on trades?

We plan to shift the fundamental business model of the industry away from charging users indiscriminately to only charging the greatest winners on the platform. Until the new Exchange Regulations are passed we will primarily generate revenue by operating as an Internal Market Maker, but when we launch our full exchange, we plan to implement with regulatory approval a fee structure for users whose lifetime profits exceed $10,000 and we will begin to productize and monetize our proprietary research and trading models. This business model allows us to provide commission-free betting for the overwhelming majority of our users, while ensuring that our exchange is sufficiently liquid and sustainable.

When will Novig be available?

The best way to stay informed about our upcoming launch is to sign up for our waitlist here.

What types of bets will be available on Novig?

Initially, Novig will support Moneyline, Spread, and Totals markets for MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAAF, and NCAAB matches, and Player Props for professional sports. We’re actively working to begin offering markets for NHL, soccer, tennis, golf, and other sports, as well as other types of bets in the sports we currently support. If there are certain markets you would like to see on Novig, please feel free to reach out at hi@novig.co.