What Are Sports Betting Syndicates?

There are a lot of tactical decisions in sports betting. One such choice for bettors at some point is whether to stay solo or team up with like-minded gamblers in their betting pursuits.

A majority of sports bettors opt for an individual approach, choosing to do everything by themselves. They carry out the necessary research, analyze games, chase lines, make decisions and fund their operations, all through their individual efforts.

Some do most of the above in extremely hushed voices, fearing that any exposure of their methods could lead to the exploitation and destruction of such systems.

Others, however, recognize the benefits of working with other bettors. Because of these benefits, they come together to form groups known as betting syndicates.

What is a betting syndicate?

Despite the sinister connotation of the word syndicate, with reference to sports betting, syndicates have nothing to do with shadowy organizations or anything that you might see in a “Mission: Impossible” sequel. Instead, sports betting syndicates employ more of a legal and tactical approach to sports betting.

Simply put, a sports betting syndicate is several bettors who come together and combine their resources to work as a group, all with the aim of profiting from the sportsbooks long-term.

Such syndicates can be as small as two or three members or company-like organizations. Ultimately, syndicates, regardless of their size, aim to have an increased bankroll that allows them to place larger wagers — something that would be almost impossible for the members if they were betting with their own limited bankrolls.

Are betting syndicates legal in New York?

If you are in New York state and wondering whether you can join a sports betting syndicate, that largely depends upon the legality of the activities in which the syndicate is partaking. For the most part, as long as the syndicate abides by a sportsbook’s terms and conditions and the betting laws of the state, you are freely allowed to join a betting syndicate.

However, certain activities within a syndicate can make it illegal to join one. Syndicates that take part in game-fixing activities not only break the rules and regulations of sportsbooks, but legal ramifications may eventually follow members of that syndicate.

It’s also important to note that since members of a syndicate have split duties, the person placing bets on behalf of the others is not allowed to make a profit. That is, the winnings must be shared equally among all the group’s members after that member collects them.

Those are just a few things that you need to keep in mind if you want to join a sports betting syndicate in New York.

How do betting syndicates work?

Most syndicates aim to capitalize on value by chasing the slimmest of line movements or by searching for mispriced odds from sportsbooks. Obviously, this is harder to do when one is working alone, but in a group setting, such lines can be easier to spot, especially when you’re working with other detail-oriented and like-minded bettors.

To spot this value, syndicates work tirelessly by conducting a number of different activities:

Market research

Research always seems to be the backbone of any good betting strategy. So it’s no surprise to learn that syndicates spend a large amount of their time focusing on market analysis and research.

Such research aims to show them the most likely betting options, which they then end up analyzing to ensure that they’re getting the best odds and lines available in the market. For syndicates, getting such value on lines and odds — whether it’s half a point or marginally better odds — makes all that analysis worth the time.

Market analysis also helps syndicates know how to react in certain situations. This can be concerning price movements or other variables in the market that individuals may struggle with. Such research also helps build the foresight of members within the syndicate, helping them to predict trends in the market.

Use data to create their own models

In addition to the research that syndicates undertake, they also study large amounts of sports and market-related data that then factor heavily into their statistical models. This is why syndicates are known for crunching numbers and spending countless hours drafting numerous Excel sheets for statistical models. The syndicates will tweak these models depending on their success rates.

Syndicates may not be too focused on the normal handicapping side of betting that other bettors focus on, but data and statistical models play a huge part in defining their success.

Focus on margins

With pooled bankrolls, syndicates are able to not only have an increased volume of bets that they place but also to focus on margins that would have been impossible if the members were operating alone.

This doesn’t mean that the syndicates bet $100,000 on events with odds of -700 or -1000. Most syndicates are aware of the risk of doing so and wouldn’t risk large amounts of cash to make a measly return. Any professional gambler, whether in a syndicate or not, always ensures that the risk is worth the return.

Instead, margins for syndicates can be in the number of bets that they win vs. the number of bets placed. This can also be in the form of capitalizing on shifts in lines or by ensuring that they are getting more than enough value on a given wager. Activities like buying a hook can, therefore, prove to be extremely profitable for such syndicates.

Larger syndicates operate like hedge funds

The more members of a syndicate there are, the harder it can be to manage such a syndicate. For the more successful syndicates, when they grow, they ensure that the program grows with them. Such syndicates turn into company-like businesses.

To ensure this continued success, they then treat the operation like a hedge fund, with every bet placed seen as an investment option. They also focus on placing bets as often as they can, with some placing multiple wagers a day all year round.

Operations within a betting syndicate

For syndicates to be successful, roles need to be set and defined for every member. For smaller syndicates, one member may perform multiple tasks. As the operation grows, such tasks may go to other members as they join.

For the most part, these tasks are delegated according to a member’s specific skill set. Here are a few examples of tasks that members within a syndicate might end up carrying out. Some of these will depend on the size and the goals of the syndicate.

  • Placing bets and collecting money from the books.
  • Analyzing games.
  • Writing up games that they’ve analyzed.
  • Accounting duties.
  • Data interpretation and formulation of various statistical models.
  • Software creation and maintenance. Larger syndicates ensure that they have their own encrypted software, which helps in easing some of the above duties.

Benefits of forming a betting syndicate

There are plenty of benefits from being involved in a syndicate. The most important benefits appear below.

Members thrive doing what they’re best at

Every member of the syndicate brings something different to the table. One may be good at handicapping games while another may be extremely proficient at crunching numbers. If they were working alone, it would be hard for them to thrive since they’d have to do other tasks that would take away from their areas of expertise.

However, in a group setting, they can focus on what they’re best at, meaning that they can thrive in their specific fields and accomplish even more for the syndicate.

An increased bankroll

One of the main reasons that people join syndicates is to pool their available resources. This means that the syndicate has an increased bankroll to play with as opposed to a limited bankroll that one would have to deal with if one were working alone.

A bigger bankroll ensures that the syndicate can place larger or more bets. Additionally, a larger bankroll translates to more profits for the members of the group than if they were to fly solo. Another advantage of a large bankroll is that it offers a cushion when the eventual losing streak rears its ugly head.

Avoid mistakes that one would make when working alone

When working alone, gamblers can make mistakes every now and then. Such mistakes can be things like disregarding bankroll management or placing an angry bet when one of your wagers loses.

Members of a syndicate will help keep your emotions in check in such situations, especially if you’re working with strict professionals.

Additionally, when working alone, you’re more likely to miss a line or a certain movement in the lines. When working in a group, you have more eyes on the sportsbooks, meaning that if one member fails to spot something, someone else in the syndicate probably will.

Can be easier to skirt betting limits

A lot of sportsbooks place betting limits as a way of safeguarding themselves from savvy bettors. A syndicate can easily bypass such limits. This can be through either splitting the amount to be wagered among the various members or by placing the same bet at different sportsbooks.

What to know before joining a betting syndicate

All of the above can seem really enticing and make you want to start or join a syndicate immediately. However, there are several things that you must know and consider before doing so.

One of them is that it will take a while to get things right. Don’t expect to just join a syndicate and start cleaning up from day one. Figuring out who’s good at what may also take some time. You may come in with a certain strength but realize that another member is better in that field than you, forcing you to adapt to something else.

Tension among members is also possible, especially at the start when you don’t have a clear plan set out. You may also clash because of seemingly trivial things like a member believing that one pick is better than another, so keep such things in mind.

Trust may also be another cause of problems among the group members. This is why it’s advisable to build trust or work with people whom you know very well. There are a number of cases of people running away with a syndicate’s bankroll when in charge of accounting duties.

Lastly, always ensure that all your activities abide by the law and adhere to sportsbook rules and regulations. If you’re working with people from different jurisdictions, ensure that it is legal to do so. This will prevent scenarios where sportsbooks refuse to pay out based on loopholes.

How to start a betting syndicate

Starting a syndicate isn’t hard. It’s even more advisable to start a syndicate than to join an already established syndicate simply because you’ll be fully aware of all the operations.

To start a syndicate, all you need to do is look for two or three people with a similar interest in joining a syndicate who can bring some value to the table. From there, you can set a location that the syndicate will be operating in, outline goals, define your starting bankroll and how the syndicate is going to fund it, and finally delegate specific tasks to each member.

Most syndicates aim to make a living through sports betting, which requires a lot of hours from each of the members of the group. Depending on your initial targets, the number of hours will vary, but expect to put a lot of hours into this venture, especially at the start.

Once everything is set up, you can focus on the main goal of the syndicate: to study the market and make money betting on sports. Some syndicates eventually transition to working online, but, again, this will depend.

Final take on betting syndicates

Though this may not be a viable betting route for everyone, being involved in a syndicate has some benefits. This does not mean that success is guaranteed after joining a syndicate. Like many other betting strategies, it requires a lot of research, analysis and constant tweaking for it to eventually be a viable long-term option.

Ultimately, however, the success of a syndicate will depend on the effort and tactics that the members employ. Syndicates that put in the work and find the most suitable tactics are the ones that end up ahead of the sportsbooks.