Sports gambling lines will rarely stay the same from the time they open to the time the game starts. Bookmakers try to post their opening line as soon as possible to get as many bets as possible. Often time, important information will come out after the opening line. This will cause line movements. Some movements may be substantial, others insignificant.
What can Cause a Line Movement?
Injuries, weather, and public bet percentages are the most common reasons for line movements. For example, players that are injured may be a game time decision and not get ruled out until an hour before the game starts. This causes Bookmakers to adjust the line accordingly. Weather is the same way as bookmakers will often set lines before they know what the weather may be like. For example, if the wind is blowing out in baseball, the total could increase by a couple of points compared to the opening line. The most common reason for line movements is bet percentages. Remember, in an ideal world for Sportsbooks, there is 50% of the money on each side of the matchup, and they just collect the juice risk free. As money comes in, oddsmakers and algorithms will decide if the line needs adjusted. If one side of a bet is getting a majority of the bets, they will try to make that side less attractive by moving the line away from them. This will make that side of the bet less attractive and lead to more bets on the other side. Just because there is a large amount of money on one side does not mean that they will for sure move the line. We will dig deeper into this theory in the coming articles.
Understanding Line Movements to Know When to Place a Bet
Line movements will add value to one side of the bet. By understanding what way lines will most likely move, you can potentially get a better line depending on when you place the bet. The first thing you need to determine is who you think the public is going to be on. This will tell you what side will most likely have the majority of the money on it. There are a couple of ways you can guess who the public will be on.
The public typically favors the favorite. This will not always be the case, but it’s a good rule of thumb to start with in trying to understand which way the line will move. If the public is on the favorite, the line will typically move towards that side. Very popular teams like the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, Duke Basketball, and the Los Angeles Lakers will be public bets more often than not. Let’s use this years NFL season for an example.
This year, the Detroit Lions are the worst team in the league, not winning a game until Week 13. The Packers are a very good team. Let’s say the line opens at Packers -7.5. From this match up and line, you can immediately guess that the public is going to be on the Packers, which means that the Packers line will most likely increase up until kickoff. So, if you see that line and want to bet the Packers, you would be best off betting the Packers right away. If you like the Lions, you would be better off waiting until closer to kickoff to get the best possible line.
Another way you can tell if a line is about to move by a point or half point is by the juice. As mentioned in previous articles, the juice on spread bets is typically between -100 and -120. If a spread has a juice of -118, that means that the spread is close to moving towards that side. If the juice on a spread is -105, it could be close to gaining points in that sides favor.
Sometimes, though, the line moves against the public even without an injury, weather, or other factors that could affect it. Why would this be? Read on to the next lesson to learn about Sharp Bets.