What Does Ticket Count Mean in Sports Betting?

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The Cincinnati Bengals mascot walks the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Cincinnati, OH.
(AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Dec 13, 2023, 9:16 AM

In online sports betting, ticket count generally refers to publicly available data that describes how popular each side of a betting market is. 

Here’s an example. If the Chiefs are playing the Bengals, BetMGM might share that 65% of all point-spread bets are backing the Chiefs, while only 35% are on the Bengals. That would be a ticket count that dramatically favors Kansas City.

Ticket count is sometimes used as a key data point in sports betting because of the general truism that public bets tend to lose over time. Some bettors prefer to align their bets against the public, while others believe in the wisdom of the crowd.

In reality, basic statistical knowledge will tell you that you can’t draw conclusions about individual games from macro trends. Every game is its own data point with unique handicapping factors. 

How Do I Find Out What the Public Is Betting?

The best way to find out public betting splits like ticket count is to get them directly from online sportsbooks. BetMGM will often share data like this on social media sites. 

There are also third-party sites and apps (like Action Network) that will share similar data. However, the trouble with the data provided by sites like this is that you can never tell how the data is prepared. Which online sportsbooks have provided data for third parties? Which have not? How were these different datasets integrated? 

It’s impossible to know for sure, and so it’s difficult to know how to digest such data and factor it into a handicap. 

In my opinion, it’s better to go off specific sportsbook data. Even if the sample size is limited to one sportsbook, there is still some degree of simplicity in understanding what that data is conveying.

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.