How Does Line Movement Work?

Understanding how line movement works is critical for anyone looking to achieve long-term success betting sports. In the simplest of terms, betting lines move when “enough” money has been bet on one side to force the odds makers to either move the number up or down depending on which side is getting hit. “Enough” is relative to what each sportsbook believes is sufficient to get a 50/50 action on both sides of a play and scoop up the vigorish regardless of the outcome.

Tracking Line Movements

Line moves happen because the sportsbooks are too heavily skewed away from that 50/50 split and attempt to force action for later bettors to make the margin as close to even as they can get.

Now, there is much more that goes into it and any novice sports bettor should spend at least a few days tracking line movements to further understand and grasp how exactly the process works. Ideally, bettors have a good general idea which way a particular line will move and will either jump on that side as quick as possible (if they believe it will move against their selection) or wait until as late as possible to get a better number on a play they figure the majority won’t support. Either way, tracking line movements is a key cog in predicting winners.

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Away Score Home Money Line
Monday 13 January
FT Philadelphia 76ers 95 - 101 Indiana Pacers +145 -161
AOT Pelicans 117 - 110 Detroit Pistons +175 -182
FT Chicago Bulls 101 - 113 Boston Celtics +425 -476
FT Thunder 117 - 104 Wolves -127 +117
FT Orlando Magic 114 - 112 Sacramento Kings -102 -110
FT Charlotte Hornets 112 - 115 Blazers +380 -435
FT Cleveland Cavaliers 99 - 128 L.A. Lakers +800 -1111
Tuesday 14 January
FT Phoenix Suns 110 - 123 Atlanta Hawks -115 +145
FT Utah Jazz 118 - 107 Brooklyn Nets -145 +140
FT New York Knicks 102 - 128 Milwaukee Bucks +1250 -2000
FT Houston Rockets 110 - 121 Memphis Grizzlies -182 +175
FT Dallas Mavericks 124 - 97 Warriors -345 +300
FT Cleveland Cavaliers 103 - 128 L.A. Clippers +1300 -1667
Wednesday 15 January
FT Brooklyn Nets 106 - 117 Philadelphia 76ers +230 -263
FT Detroit Pistons 116 - 103 Boston Celtics +425 -435
FT San Antonio Spurs 100 - 106 Miami Heat +190 -217
FT Indiana Pacers 104 - 99 Wolves -167 +160
FT Washington Wizards 106 - 115 Chicago Bulls +165 -175
FT Toronto Raptors 130 - 121 Thunder -102 -105
FT Charlotte Hornets 86 - 100 Denver Nuggets +550 -714
FT Blazers 117 - 107 Houston Rockets +325 -370
FT Dallas Mavericks 127 - 123 Sacramento Kings -164 +155
FT Orlando Magic 119 - 118 L.A. Lakers +450 -556
Thursday 16 January
Phoenix Suns 19:30 New York Knicks -145 +130
Utah Jazz 20:00 Pelicans -208 +190
Boston Celtics 20:00 Milwaukee Bucks +520 -667
Orlando Magic 22:30 L.A. Clippers +500 -667
Denver Nuggets 22:30 Warriors -161 +145
Friday 17 January
Chicago Bulls 19:00 Philadelphia 76ers +270 -313
Wolves 19:00 Indiana Pacers
Washington Wizards 19:00 Toronto Raptors +425 -526
Cleveland Cavaliers 20:00 Memphis Grizzlies +290 -345
Miami Heat 20:00 Thunder
Atlanta Hawks 20:30 San Antonio Spurs +320 -357
Blazers 21:30 Dallas Mavericks
Saturday 18 January
L.A. Clippers 15:30 Pelicans
Milwaukee Bucks 18:00 Brooklyn Nets
Phoenix Suns 19:00 Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers 19:30 New York Knicks
Detroit Pistons 19:30 Atlanta Hawks
Cleveland Cavaliers 20:00 Chicago Bulls
Toronto Raptors 20:00 Wolves
Orlando Magic 20:30 Warriors
L.A. Lakers 20:30 Houston Rockets
Sacramento Kings 21:00 Utah Jazz
Blazers 21:00 Thunder
Sunday 19 January
Miami Heat 15:00 San Antonio Spurs
Indiana Pacers 20:00 Denver Nuggets

Why Do Betting Lines Move?

As touched on earlier, betting lines move mainly because the majority of money has come in one way and sportsbooks are attempting to even out the action. Imagine having two friends who were willing to bet on a coin flip and pay $6 to win $5 on their selection, and you (the sportsbook) only have to flip the coin to collect your $1 from the loser – while paying the winner their $5. That’s the goal of every oddsmaker out there and it’s how sportsbooks stay in business and profit handsomely long term. Now if others come in and continually bet ‘heads’ and it’s a 75/25 split, you’d have to bump up the price on ‘heads’ to minimize losses should that be the result – hence moving the line.

Money bet isn’t the only reason betting lines move though as key injuries on a team, coaches deciding to rest players, or good/bad scheduling spots can also impact a betting line. In those spots, there are fewer edges to be found from a betting perspective as all of that information is built into the betting line by the time the game starts.

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