In sports betting the term fade implies betting against something. It is most commonly used when wagering against a particular team regardless of their opponent. It is additionally used to describe betting against the public or the picks of an individual handicapper.
Fading the public
A common misconception is that fading the public is a profitable betting strategy. The public is a general term used to describe casual sports bettors who place emotional uninformed bets without considering a wager's market advantage. Someone who is fading the public is betting against lines that seem too obvious with the reasoning that oddsmakers are trying to trick weaker bettors. An example of this might be a small point spread on a popular favorite. While many self-proclaimed experts will state otherwise, fading the public is in fact not a sound strategy for long term success. High limit sportsbooks have the largest market influence. These bookmaker will not set their lines in anticipation to receiving bets from the public. Sharper sports bettors with larger bankrolls would take advantage of the incorrectly priced lines. This would expose the sportsbook to an undesirable situation where the majority of action on a given market is placed with positive expected value.
The exception to this would be betting against public line inflation seen at square sportsbooks. Low limit betting sites that cater to recreational bettors are known to modify widely available lines in order to make the public side worse to bet on. This in turn yields a better price on the opposing side. Taking advantage of square lines is often not sustainable as sportsbooks that practice this have been known to limit bettors found capitalizing on it.
Fading a handicapper
To fade a handicapper implies betting the opposite side of their picks. Handicappers and touts perceived as career losers might find themselves getting faded. It is a misconception that betting against a losing bettor produces winning picks. In reality even the weakest of sports bettors do not lose enough to out-gain the bookmaker's commission when taking the other side. To make a profit one needs to win more than 52.38% of their bets at -110 odds. Given the efficiency of popular betting markets near game time an overwhelming majority of sports bettors' success rates fall between 49-51%. Fading a gambler even at the lower end of the bell curve with a success rate around 48% would still not win enough to overcome the vig. The reason for sports betting failure often lies in poor bankroll management.