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Sports betting and movement of the line

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Sports betting and the movement of the line

Every sports bettor knows what the lines are and how important their movements are as well. Assuming however that not all people reading this article are seasoned sports bettors, here's a brief explanation of the matter: the line basically represents the spread that the bookmaker uses to balance the games he offers. Here's an example: the Cincinnati Bengals are playing the New York Jets on the road. The starting line has the Jets -9 favorites. What this means is that the Jets start with a nine point handicap. In order for wagers placed on the Jets to be declared winners, the Jets need to win the game by a margin of more than nine points. If they do, they'll cover the spread. If they fail to do so, they may still win SU, but they will end up losers ATS, and that will cost all bettors the wagers they placed on them. The current line still has the Jets as favorites, but it's set to -8.5. What that means is that the line moved half a point. Such line movements always happen for specific reasons. Side notes are the most common reasons for line movements. Coaching problems, travel issues, injuries all cause significant swings in the line. If the starting line moves several points, the movement is probably due to side notes. Such movements do not carry any type of value for the bettor. That's because all they do is to reflect an actual change that took place in the economy of the game. Smaller swings, like the half-point one in the above example, may carry value, because they may be caused by events which are not directly related to the power balance on the field.


Every decent handicapper knows that straight handicapping is only one half of the deal. The other half is about reverse handicapping, and this is where the value-carrying swings come into the picture. Such swings in the line are caused by incoming moves. The bookmaker sets his starting line with one goal in mind: to create a perfect 50-50 balance, and thus to suck out every last trace of value from both sides of the proposition. This way, an approximately equal number of bettors will flock onto both sides of the matchup. Why does the bookmaker need to have about the same amount of money on both sides? The reason is as simple as can be: only by establishing a balance which is close to perfection can the bookmaker hope to generate risk-free revenue. If the balance is upset, he will either be forced to move his line, or to cover the surplus of money on one side of the game from his own pocket. Obviously, the second option is not exactly an attractive one for the bookie, therefore whenever possible he will attempt to reestablish the balance by moving his line. Such line movements do not reflect a change in the basic data concerning the matchup, therefore they always induce value that would normally not be there. This value is known as the hidden value, and it gives bettors the opportunity to get their monies into the middle on positive long-term expected value. How can you make sure that you are indeed seeing a line movement that is a byproduct of hidden value? Check the consensus numbers.

Those will clue you in on what side the public is favoring.


Another angle to cover when it comes to line movements is the smart money. Line movements caused by smart money are exceptionally difficult to spot however. By taking your sports betting online, you will take advantage of the extra value offered by the various sign up and loyalty bonuses your bookmaker will give you. The whole thing works a lot like the poker rakeback the more money you wager, the more you get back in loyalty rewards. Of course, in online poker there are loyalty deals unparalleled pretty much anywhere else. These special rakeback deals are known as poker prop deals. In order to enjoy such exceptionally generous rake rebate percentages, you will have to subject yourself to certain restrictions though.

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