line movement in sports betting

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Line movement in sports betting

Sharp bettors, known as "sharps" or "wiseguys" for short, are the experts of the sports betting industry. They are the professional bettors who have a long track record of success and win at a high rate. They have decades of experience and typically bet large amounts on games. Unlike public bettors who place wagers for fun as a hobby or source of entertainment, pros have no other day job.

Sports betting is their full-time job and only source of income. Sharps are fearless but disciplined. They don't bet based on gut instinct or bias. They are completely data-driven and value-driven. Pros bet numbers, not teams. They only place a bet if they identify an edge or advantage over the sportsbooks. This means sharps win more often than they lose, which is why you never want to go against sharp action.

Pros have the respect of the sportsbooks. When they get down hard, they move lines. Another characteristic of sharps is that many of them set their own lines. They create their own power ratings and then compare each team to one another to figure out what the line should be. Then they compare their numbers to what the sportsbooks are offering. If they notice a big discrepancy, they get down hard.

For example, if the pros have the Ravens against the Bengals based on their power ratings and the books open Ravens It's important to remember that no one becomes a sharp overnight. It takes time, effort and vast experience. The goal is to get. If you can't set your own lines and aren't considered a pro, the next best thing is to learn how to read and interpret line movement. By learning how to read the market, you can identify where the sharp action is falling.

The first way to spot sharp action is through steam moves. A steam move is when you have a sudden overload of smart money come down quickly, all across the market, causing sudden uniform line movement. The entire market must adjust in a short period of time, not just a few books. You might hear this referred to as "the Chiefs getting steamed" from -6 to The key with steam is that you need to make sure you act quickly enough to identify the swift move and can still bet the line at the triggering sharp number.

So once you see the market moving, you would need to pick off a book still hanging that Once the line is at -7, that means you missed the triggering number and the value is now gone. That would be referred to as chasing steam, which isn't a profitable endeavor. This is when the betting line moves away from the popular side toward the unpopular side.

Think of it as a line move that makes no sense. If the Patriots were heavily favored in light of this new information, they might become the underdogs. Sometimes coaches make the decision to withhold their top players, to mitigate the risk of injury.

If this information is leaked, it will drastically alter the odds or line bookmakers place on the event. Occasionally, a coach will also make a last minute decision to switch out their starting goaltender NHL or starting pitcher MLB. This will drastically alter the odds or line placed on a game, minutes before the action begins. If the Montreal Canadiens decided at the last minute the give Carey Price a night of rest and play Antti Niemi, this would doubtless impact the line or odds sportsbooks assigned to that game.

Online sportsbooks are all privy to all of their bettors betting history. Usually, the sharps have a higher volume of bets as well as a sizeable bankroll to back their accounts up. This can be an advantageous strategy for beginner bettors in say football, who are willing to monitor the NFL Vegas lines closely. Retail investors follow. The same is true with sports betting.

Sportsbooks will never make any public declaration as to why they changed their vegas betting lines. You will always have to make deducements based on your knowledge of sports and sports betting themselves. For example, say the majority of sharps bet on the Pittsburgh Penguins to beat the New York Rangers at This might not seem like a huge difference, but it adds up in a very significant way over the long run.

Read our line shopping article for a deeper dive into this phenomenon. In football, there are key numbers that bookmakers keep in mind when they are setting the spread and totals. The scoring structure in football means that the majority of teams win by either 3, 7, 9, or 10 points. Oddsmakers are privy to this information, and they make every effort to not move a line by too much. Whenever possible, bookmakers will go to great lengths to refrain from moving a line over a key number.

Consequently, when it comes to football point spreads, bookmakers will often instead change the odds instead of the Vegas line as much as they can before they have to move the spread. If throughout this article there have been any terms you are unfamiliar with, or you just want to improve your betting vocabulary, take a look at our complete glossary of sports betting terms for all you need!

Why Betting Lines Move Opening line and closing line are almost always different Sportsbooks adjust their lines to get equal action on both sides of a wager. Read Review. Bet Now.


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Just as the price of any commodity can increase with higher demand, lines can change based on how the market reacts to them, as sportsbooks may attempt to limit their liability on one side of a given bet.

Line movement in sports betting Consequently, when it comes to football point spreads, bookmakers will often instead change the odds instead of the Vegas line as much as they can before they have to move the spread. Using this information to contravene any law or statute is prohibited. It's an absolute nightmare for them as they lose their shirt. Moneyline bets are probably the simplest form of betting. Waste Management Phoenix Open outrights and matchups preview.
Risk free betting facebook home Recover your password. They don't bet based on gut instinct or bias. For example, if an NFL game is set to be played outside, and snow is in the forecast, the game is likely to have fewer points scored. What golf bettors need to know Soon you will start seeing value.
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Line movement in sports betting Weather always plays a role in the outcome of a game. So you can still bet Team A at Occasionally, a coach will also make a last minute decision to switch out their starting goaltender NHL or starting pitcher MLB. In this case, you can bet the movement is due to a few very large bets placed by sharps. What does this mean?
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What is the puck line? How do you bet it? Hedging your bets. Find value hedging in sports betting The ultimate guide to betting on live golf The way that the sportsbook can encourage an even amount of money being bet on both sides is by making the less popular side more attractive. This is done by changing the payout odds or shifting the point spread or total. Basically, any time you notice that the odds, points or totals in a bet have changed, that means the line has been moved. Line movement can occur at any time, and it occurs as a reaction — usually to a majority of money being placed on one side of the bet, but also to external factors such as injuries or suspensions.

Generally, once the betting lines are opened there is a flurry of bets from the public which indicates which side of the bet most people like. After that initial flurry, it is common that the lines will be moved. The Chiefs started out as favorites, with When the line moved they became even greater favorites, moving to -5 points.

Conversely, the Ravens became an even bigger dog. In this case, it is likely that a lot of people bet on the Chiefs when the line opened. This leads the sportsbook to give more points to the Ravens, to entice people to bet on them and balance the action. Another way the line could move is that the odds change on the money line, without the point spread being considered.

That could look like this:. By making one side of the bet more appealing, the sportsbook can entice more people to bet on it. As we have seen, generally lines move because a large majority of money has been placed on one side of a single bet.

In the example above, the Chiefs started out as favorites and attracted a lot of bets. This would have made the sportsbook concerned that they would lose money if the Chiefs won. In response, they gave the Ravens even more points so that more people would bet on them. The most common reason for line movement is that the vast majority of public bettors are betting in one direction.

Generally, the highest number of people betting on one side means that that side has the highest amount of money. Another possibility, particularly when the line moves erratically or unexpectedly, is that a lot of money has been placed by a small number of bettors. This tends to take the form of reverse line movement. Reverse line movement is when the line moves in contradiction to the public betting percentage.

That is, even though most people are betting on one side, the line moves to make that side more attractive. This tends to indicate sharp money. Lines can also move based on external factors separate from the betting. For example, if three key players from one team are suddenly injured a couple of days out from an important game, that is likely to be reflected in the betting lines.

Other factors like this include suspensions, team selection, tactical announcements or weather. Remember, sportsbooks are not always trying to set lines that they think are fair or even. The bottom line is that with the exception of player and team factors, sportsbooks move betting lines because they think it gives them the best chance of making money.

There are lots of different sports betting strategies that let you leverage your knowledge of line movement. Another strategy for using line movement is to observe how the odds change to give you an idea of where the best value is. If you are sure which side you want to back, all you need to worry about is getting the best price or point spread.

One good rule of thumb is that if you want to bet on the favorite you should bet early. Line movement can be erratic, but generally, favorites are more popular with the public, and so the line tends to move against them after the betting line is opened. They simply bet on the favorite as soon as the line is released. Over time, the line tends to move against the favorite, making them a less attractive bet.

Conversely, if you like the road underdog it is often worth waiting a few days after the line is released. Generally, the public bets on favorites which leads to line movement in favor of the underdog. This is known as betting against the favorite, and you can read our guide here. Line movement is also very important for hedging. If you get in early and the line moves so that your side of the bet comes down in odds or points, chances are you can bet on the other side to reduce your risk.

This is only possible when the line moves in your favor. One more technique to use if you know which side you like: decide on a price that works for you and wait to see if the line moves onto your price. Well, line movement can help you pick. Take this example:. This line movement indicates that a lot of money has been placed on the Celtics in a short space of time.

Although movement does tend to go against the favorite, it is often quite gradual. A big jump like this suggests that the smartest bettors with the most money or sharps think that the original line offered by the sportsbook was very good value. If you spot a situation like this, a good move will be to quickly check other sportsbooks to see if the Celtics are available anywhere else at Since sportsbooks react to the bets they receive themselves as opposed to bets received by other sportsbooks lines move at different speeds in different books.

Once you have an idea of the value from the line movement of one book, you should shop around with others to find the best price. As you gain more experience in sports betting, you will become more familiar with the way the lines move. Both the direction of the line movement and the timing of the line movement gives us information.

Dramatic movement over a short period of time indicates big money from clued-in bettors. Gradual movement in one direction indicates public perception. Depending on the kind of bet, line movement will look different. Basically, the sportsbook decides on the most likely margin of victory and gives each side a points handicap accordingly.

If you bet on the Colts, they need to win by four points or more for you to win. Here, the line has moved so that the Colts are even bigger favorites. Now, if you bet on them they will need to win by 5 points or more for you to win your bet. Line movement in point spread betting is all about sportsbooks making the suggested margin of victory more attractive or less attractive.

If you notice the numbers in a point spread bet getting higher over time ie, more points between the teams , it means the majority of money is being placed on the favorite. If the numbers are getting lower, the majority of the money is going on the underdog. Key numbers are significant for moving point spreads. You can read our more comprehensive guide to key numbers here.

If you see a spread moving on or off a key number, it is worth considering how this could affect a bet. Moneyline bets are probably the simplest form of betting. In this case, the sportsbook makes up for the difference in quality between the two teams not with points, but with odds. Betting on the underdog will win more than betting on the favorite. If the values get larger then the majority of money is being placed on the favorite.

If they get smaller, then the majority is going on the underdog. Point total bets involve betting on the total number of points scored in a game. The sportsbook sets a number on which they suggest there is a fifty-fifty shot of the total points being either over or under. The line might look like this:. In this case, if you bet the over you will win if there is a total of points or more scored in the game. If you bet the under, you will win if there is a total of or fewer points scored.

If a lot of bets came in on the Over in this case, the points total might rise to entice more bets on the Under. In this case, if you liked the Over, you would have been better to bet early before the line moved. However, if you liked the Under, you will have gotten a better price by waiting. Of the three types of movement here, totals are the most affected by factors like weather and injuries to creative players, since these can have a major effect on the number of points scored.

All of the above examples are different forms of the same activity from sportsbooks. The books move the lines because they want to make one side of the bet more attractive, whether that is through points, odds or totals. Watching how these numbers change gives you information which you can use to time your bets effectively. One of the classic ways to take advantage of line movement is by using a strategy called betting the middle.

The situation only arises once in a while depending on line movement, and when it does you have the chance to bet on both sides of a game with a chance to win both bets. Now over the course of the next few days, a lot of people bet on the Patriots, so the sportsbook changes the line.

Now it looks like this:. This opens up the possibility of a middle bet for you. This leaves you in a situation where you will win both bets if the Patriots win by 5 or 6 points. If they win by 4 or 7 points you also get one of your bets back as a push, while winning the other. The worst-case scenario, in this case, is you win one of your bets and lose the other.

Successfully betting the middle depends on you getting in on the right side of action early. Key numbers are important to watch out for when looking for middle bets since they can be very influential in the final result. However, middle bets do not require a specific points differential.

They are available any time you get in on the action early, and the team you backed is eventually given fewer points when the line changes. In that game, the Pittsburgh Steelers opened up as 3. Before the game, the spread shifted to 4. Anyone who bet early on the Steelers at When the game finished to the Steelers many sportsbooks had one of the worst days in history as bettors won big on both sides. Live betting is becoming increasingly popular, especially as both betting and mobile technology improve.

As you might expect, depending on the sport and the activity of the game, this can cause a lot of dramatic movement. Points, penalties, suspensions, injuries, goals, home runs — all of these can change the lines in an instant. Line movement in live betting is a lot more unpredictable. However, if you have a combination of bets on the game it can easily present great opportunities to hedge your bets, or bet the middle.

Just like in the previous example, if you bet on the favorite and they take an early lead there will be a lot more points on offer for the underdog.

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