When The Line Moves

What To Do When The Betting Line Moves

A question that used to come up often on sports betting forums is “what do I do when the line moves?” with variations there of including “for me” or “against me” in the specific question.

If you were to go back and read the old advice, much of it good at the time, and applied it, it would probably cost you more money than it makes you. The industry has changed a lot, and I’ll cover how so and why in this article, before actually answering the question “what do I do when the line moves?”

If you're not familiar with what a "line" is – sports betting lines.

Before the the Internet and online betting.

Prior to the advancement of online gambling, most sports betting was done with local bookies or by casino gamblers in Las Vegas. The betting limits were often quite small, unless a total whale with good credit and a losing track record wanted to bet more, and it wasn’t hard for the bookies to predict which side they would take the most bets on. Money came in on the favorites or the games that looked most appealing from a fan’s perspective.

Example:

Yankees playing a poor team, most the bets were on Yankees no matter what the price. The bookmaker could afford to hang a bad line, making odds for the popular team worse, while giving away +EV bets to the few who took the opposite side.

Early online betting.

In the early days of online gambling, the market was similar. To profit all you needed to do was blind bet small home underdogs, follow against the spread stats, and go against the big public teams.

If you walked into a sports bar and asked which team will cover a certain spread, anytime there was an overwhelming consensus presented with passion and confidence by the majority, the opposite side was likely a +EV bet. As online gambling matured and smart money became big money, the sports betting industry changed entirely.

Online sports betting today.

Today, betting limits are massive.

  • At Bookmaker.eu from Thursday to Sunday an NFL point spread can be bet up to $50,000 in a single bet
  • At Pinnacle Sports limits are set on an account by account basis, yet most bettors can bet at least $30,000 and most often more on an NFL point spread and if the price changes, they are free to bet the max again.

There are far more educated bettors with big money than there ever was in the past, so these sites no longer can hang out a bad line. When they do they do, their bottom line is violently attacked by sharp bettors with large bankrolls.

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Bookmakers constantly need to adjust their bet offerings, be it the point spread moving from -4 to -4.5 or the bet’s price from -110 to -115, in order to find a middle ground where smart money no longer finds value. In short, what we now have is an efficient market. The closing line, the line betting sites offer the minutes before kickoff, represents the most sophisticated gamblers in the world’s opinion on the true probability of each team winning the game or covering the spread.

A few years ago, as this progression was taking place, even near brain dead gamblers could make money simply comparing the lines Bookmaker.eu and Pinnacle were offering, to the ones at recreational betting sites still trying to get away with shading the lines against casual bettors. It didn’t take long for these sites to wizen up and start setting accurate lines and bet prices, the few who didn’t eventually went out of business, or turned scam.

Once again, to repeat: the closing line more often than not represents the true probability of each team winning the game or covering the spread, with of course juice (vig) applied on each side. Today bookmakers are trying harder than ever to set the lines correctly and then profit from the vig, as that’s their only remaining chance to profit.

What do you do if the line moves after placing a bet?

Getting back to the original question: you’ve made a bet and now the line moves either for or against you, what do you do? If you’re a recreational bettor, do nothing. As a recreational bettor you should understand that most often you’re making –EV (negative expected value) bets.

Betting is fun, you’re looking to get lucky, sometimes the line will move for you, sometimes against you (why check?), keep having fun, be responsible, and leave it at that. After all, profitable sports betting is about as much fun doing calculus or getting a root canal, it’s not at all fun its mind draining, time consuming and only about making money.

If on the other hand you’re an aspiring sharp in training, when the line moves in your favor, pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Winning sports betting in today’s market is about beating the closing line. When the line moves against you, there is work you have to do now to find out why. Yes in some math problems a negative and a negative is a positive, but not true of addition (–EV plus -EV still equals -EV). Unless you discover something that makes the other side of the bet +EV you’ll simply let your bet ride and hope things go your way.

You still however do need to take serious the line movement against you, look and attempt to determine why in order to learn from it and avoid making the same betting mistake in the future. As far as advice about line movement goes that about wraps it up.

A final tip:

Bookmaker.eu uses the slogan “where the line originates”. This is not some catchy marketing hype. For more than 90% of betting markets Bookmaker.com is either the first online betting site to post a line, or they are moments behind the one or two sites that might make an early stab before them.

Winning sports betting is about understanding line movements. If you can bet significantly better than where the line closes you’re close to guaranteed to make significant profit over the long haul. There is no better way to gain an understanding of line movement than to track the opening lines. To do so you’ll need an account at Bookmaker.com, and in time this will end up being the site you make most of your bets with.

If you’re a recreational bettor looking for a safe and secure site to place your bets, make it Bookmaker. This is the company the biggest bettor in the world have been trusting since 1986 as their primary betting out. I honestly and sincerely believe, there is no company in the world a sports bettor is safer with than www.bookmaker.eu.

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