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Dooleys Believe in Trap Games; Sharps Use Them to Their Advantage
Jun 2nd, 2022

I hear it all the time from squares and even people who used to sell picks for a living such as retired tout Oscar Dooley, widely accepted as the quintessential tyro handicapper in this history of the trade. “Seems like the oddsmakers are baiting you to bet” a certain side. Dunces like this keep the books subsidized for the rest of us. Assuredly, the bookies never try to decoy gamblers into betting a side. If they did, we sharp would swoop in on our prey and exploit the over-corrected line. Then again, in reality we do pounce on lines that appear “fishy” to the great unwashed bettor.

My adage, if it doesn’t make sense, it makes dollars. Straight up records and rankings are lag indicators. The odds are lead indicators. I have countless examples of counterintuitive systems that win in my database, most up 80-200 plus units and with z-scores of 4.5 or higher.

Though the below aren’t instances of my most lethal systems, they are representative of occurrences in which I hear are “trap” games.

In college football, when the oddsmakers tell you the lower ranked team is the superior team, weaponize that knowledge against them. If a lower ranked road team is not getting at least three points to the higher ranked team, betting on the lower ranked squad is 12-2 SU and ATS since 2015. 

Remember, home field advantage is three points. So if a road team is not getting at least that much, the strongly implied statement by the oddsmakers is that the visitor is better, despite the polls. But that’s not how the neophyte brain functions. Joey Bag o’ Donuts notices the “better” team is somehow a home dog and asserts, “It’s like they bookies want you to bet” the superior puppy. Fake news. The lead indictor wins out again. 

How about win a team is an NFL favorite even though they have at least four fewer wins than their opponent? Trap, trap, trap…right? Not so fast. A favorite, despite at least a four-win deficit is 40-22 ATS, 44-21 outright.

But surely fading NBA favorites with inferior records must be a great go-against. Seems like a trap though… Away favorites in said situation are 314-235-7 for 57 percent. In fact, the bigger the favorite the winning percentage goes up as a general rule of thumb.

If a game looks like a trap, there is a reason behind it. Go with the statement the oddsmakers are making. There are plenty of Spider Dooleys feeding the bookies.

The author, Joe Duffy is CEO of and has been winning for you since the scorephone days of the 1980s.



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Joe Duffy is founder of featuring the world’s top sports service selections.
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