A trend is something that has previously occurred, generally taken with a specific sample size. Trends are generally seen as a situation that is likely to happen again. Betting on trends can be useful, although they have to be used in the correct situation.
Trends can be about a multitude of aspects in sports betting. For example, a team's ATS record on the road in a single season is an extremely specific trend. Other trends can be based around more specific situations. Ralph Michaels recently outlined one of these types of trends on Twitter. NBA teams that trailed by 19+ points after the third quarter and won the game are 11-7-1 ATS in their next contest.
Betting on trends often leads to a lot of bets. If you’re solely looking to bet on a specific trend, you must bet that trend any time a game fits that criteria to meet the expectations. For example, if the under in college basketball games hits at a 58% rate when the total has dropped four or more points over the last five seasons, you would have to bet every under that meets this criteria throughout the entire season.
If you’re picking and choosing which games you want to bet, the trend somewhat goes out the window, which brings us to the second case in which betting on trends makes sense. Bet on trends when back a play you’re already looking to bet. If the data suggests the Kentucky Wildcats should cover a -5 spread and they have covered 10 consecutive games with a -5 spread or better, make the bet. The trend can be used to mount extra evidence as to why you like a play, but shouldn’t be the sole reason you like a play.
Betting trends is a difficult proposition overall. If the trend doesn’t have a large enough sample size to feel comfortable with, it shouldn’t serve as the sole purpose for a bet. Often times small sample sizes can be skewed, and don’t represent the true data of the situation.
Trends are also difficult to trust when factors of the situation have changed. College sports have so much turnover that it’s difficult to trust trends based on previous years. Teams change so much from one year to the next that it’s almost as if it’s an entirely new team playing. Coaching changes are also a major factor when determining trends. Coaches each utilize a distinct style of play, making a coaching staff change a crucial factor in eliminating trends.
Never bet one game based around a trend. Does a large sample size trend give you better odds of hitting? Certainly. But you’re not putting yourself in a +EV situation because it’s still only one game, which fails to eliminate the variance.
Trends are an extremely fun aspect to look at when sports betting. They’re innovative, cool, and generally unique. That doesn’t make them the most profitable, though. Trends should be used to solidify bets that you like for other reasons rather than putting you on a bet.
For example, if all of the data suggests the Sacramento Kings game should hit the over, but they have hit the under in each of their last five games, that shouldn’t be enough to play the under.
This type of situation can be used to take you off of a play, though. If the trend has a reasonable sample size, but you like the other side of the game, simply don’t play it. Often times it’s better to bet safe in these types of situations.