Trap Games: What They Are and How to Bet Them

 We’ve all been there. You wake up after a tough night of losing bets and find a brand new shiny wager that seems to be too good to be true. A bet that doesn’t make sense. A bet you think Vegas created so they would go bankrupt. A bet so enticing you would have to be an idiot not to take it. Then, right when you place the mortgage on this bet because it seems so good, boom, it loses miserably, and you reflect on where it all went wrong. This article will take a look into these specific bets and why they are so tough to bet on.


            Now, we take a lot into one of the more puzzling things to bet in sports gambling—trap games. Trap games are lines where Vegas wants you to take it, so they end up rich in the end. This is because the bet appears like it can’t lose. The theory behind these bets is that casual people will bet on these favorable lines, so they will put a lot of money on them and lose large amounts on a single bet. These are the “Team X couldn’t possibly beat Team Y” games before Team X beats Team Y by 5 runs. These lines usually come in the form of the “better team” being underdogs or two teams that typically score a lot of points having a low over/under. Trap games are like a get-rich-quick scheme created by Vegas to sucker people into betting large amounts so they can cash out and laugh on your gambling grave.


            Let’s take a look into one of the more memorable trap games in recent memory, the Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens Monday night football game. This game was a heavyweight battle for the ages as both teams were throwing haymakers left and right before Lamar Jackson ultimately saved the Ravens season by coming out of the tunnel and throwing a touchdown pass on 4th and 5 with 2:00 minutes left in the game. This game was THE NFL game of the year and had people talking about how exciting it was for the rest of the season. But what doesn’t get talked about is the line set before the game.


The line was -3 Ravens on many sites, including BetMGM Sportsbook, which made no sense if you looked at the context of both teams before the game. The Browns were on a four-game winning streak and had just come off a dominant win against the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans. The Ravens were 2-4 over their previous six games and had looked bad on offense and defense. Most people wrote the Ravens off and thought the Browns were going to win by two touchdowns. Then the game was played, and the Ravens even scored a last-second safety to change the gambling result from a push to a win for anyone that took Ravens -3. This game was the very definition of a trap game because Vegas had the public favorite as an underdog. This made people want to put large amounts on the Browns so they could cash in an easy win. Sharp bettors looked at this line and saw the trap, so they faded the public and took the Ravens.


  Another memorable trap game was the Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz on January 21st, 2021. This game still haunts me to this day because of the trick that Vegas played on me. What seems like a 19 point blowout win by the Jazz over the Mavericks in the middle of the season might seem like a blip on the radar to casual sports fans, but to gamblers, this game stung if you bet on it like me. If you headed over to, you could see that the line before the game was -2 Jazz. The context before this game was that Jazz’s best player, Donovan Mitchell, was missing the game with an ankle injury. The Jazz was not known as a good all-around team even though they were on an 11 game winning streak and one of the top teams in the Western Conference. The public thought they were briefly exceeding their expectations and so bet against them. The Mavericks were thought of as one of the top teams in the West since they have star-scoring threats in Kristaps Prozingis and MVP candidate Luka Doncic. The Mavericks had also lost the previous night to the Jazz, so many people expected the Mavericks to bounce back and avenge the loss they had just received. The conditions were perfect for a blowout Mavericks win, but the exact opposite happened. The Jazz ended up winning by 19, but the game felt more out of reach than that. The Jazz made scoring look easy and contained both Doncic and Porizingis. The Mavericks looked helpless to try and stop the Jazz, and the game was a bloodbath from the opening tip.


Trap games happen across all sports, especially in baseball. With baseball having so many games in its regular season, teams fall into trap games and series all the time. This is why identifying and betting the trap games correctly will help you pay for your trip to Cabo or pay for a round of drinks and make you a hero at your local bar. Baseball teams will often have “look ahead” series against teams that are inferior to them, and so they might take the series off or not try as hard and get ready for the next harder series they will have to play. These series matchups for a team can be as follows, go from playing a good team to a bad team to a different good team. Take, for example, the Red Sox series against the Los Angeles Angels. The Red Sox are in first place of the AL East and had just come off a hard series of playing the Oakland Athletics. The Red Sox had to play the Angeles before playing a solid Toronto Blue Jays team. The Angeles had just been swept by the Houston Astros in their previous series and are in 4th place in the AL West. So on paper, the Red Sox should easily win that series, right? Wrong. The Red Sox actually lost 2 of the 3 games. Is it because the Red Sox are fraudulent and bad? Are the Angels actually good? Did the Red Sox hit a rough patch in their season? Was this a trap series? All of these are great questions and why we should look into why this might have been set up to be a trap series to begin with.


  First is to analyze the teams themselves. The Red Sox are one of the top teams in the AL for a reason as they are led by the superb hitting of Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez. They also have ace pitchers in Garret Whitlock and Jake Pivetta and a solid bullpen to back them up. The Angels have the star power in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and have solid pitching from Jose Quintana and Dylan Bundy. The Angels have similar talent to the Red Sox, and it’s just that their talent doesn’t produce the same result. This is a key aspect of the trap game. Teams with similar talent but differing results in the win-loss columns are the first important thing to highlight in a trap game. This means that these teams are even on paper, so the series should be even, even if the oddsmakers might not agree.


Second is to look at the surrounding schedule for both teams. If one team seems to be red hot because they are winning many games but have narrowly won those games, it might be time to start looking into potential “let down” games. Flip that, and if a team is on a losing skid but has barely lost many of those games, it might be time to look at upcoming teams they are playing and look for “better teams” they can beat. In the case of the Red Sox and Angels, the Red Sox had won very tough games against the Orioles and Athletics while the Angels had battled against the Astros. This is another key aspect of the trap game because it can dictate the third point, motivation, for a team.


Third is the motivation and hunger of both teams. In the case of the Red Sox and Angels, the Red Sox might not be as motivated to win since they had rallied multiple wins against other teams. This means they might not try as hard to win. The Angels, on the other hand, are desperate for wins since they had lost so many games prior and will be trying very hard to win their games against the Red Sox so they can keep up in the playoff hunt. Motivation is a powerful tool to a trap game because if one team is trying harder to win than another, then the team that is trying will most likely win.


You can always visit to stay up to date with the latest odds and movement. Tracking how a bet has moved since its open is one of the best ways to spot value and see where the public and Vegas are leaning. On Lineups, you can also find all the information needed on where to bet. Whether its bonus codes on new Michigan online casinos or the best bonus code for BetMGM Sportsbook, you can head to Lineups for all your betting needs.


Trap games are a tricky thing to bet on. Tricking your brain into betting on the seemingly worse team is a difficult thing to do. But if you think about the talent level, surrounding schedule, and motivation of the two teams playing, then you should have no trouble making money on these bets. 

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