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 29 October
FT Atlanta Hawks 92 - 113 Philadelphia 76ers +600 -714
FT Blazers 103 - 93 Indiana Pacers +151 -167
FT Brooklyn Nets 96 - 115 New York Knicks +102 -106
FT Sacramento Kings 123 - 113 Miami Heat +390 -417
FT L.A. Lakers 120 - 124 Wolves -120 +105
FT Warriors 149 - 124 Chicago Bulls -714 +610
FT Toronto Raptors 109 - 124 Milwaukee Bucks -132 +121
AOT Dallas Mavericks 108 - 113 San Antonio Spurs +260 -286
FT Pelicans 111 - 116 Denver Nuggets +445 -455
Tuesday 30 October
Sacramento Kings 19:00 Orlando Magic +160 -167
Atlanta Hawks 19:00 Cleveland Cavaliers +155 -159
Miami Heat 19:00 Charlotte Hornets +155 -167
Detroit Pistons 19:30 Boston Celtics +350 -400
Philadelphia 76ers 19:30 Toronto Raptors +228 -294
L.A. Clippers 20:00 Thunder +125 -141
Washington Wizards 20:00 Memphis Grizzlies +115 -123
Blazers 20:00 Houston Rockets +142 -161
Wednesday 31 October
Detroit Pistons 19:30 Brooklyn Nets
Indiana Pacers 20:00 New York Knicks
Denver Nuggets 20:00 Chicago Bulls
Utah Jazz 20:00 Wolves
San Antonio Spurs 22:30 Phoenix Suns
Dallas Mavericks 22:30 L.A. Lakers
Pelicans 22:30 Warriors
Thursday 01 November
L.A. Clippers 19:00 Philadelphia 76ers
Denver Nuggets 19:00 Cleveland Cavaliers
Thunder 19:00 Charlotte Hornets
Sacramento Kings 19:30 Atlanta Hawks
Milwaukee Bucks 20:00 Boston Celtics
Pelicans 22:30 Blazers
Friday 02 November
L.A. Clippers 19:00 Orlando Magic
Houston Rockets 19:30 Brooklyn Nets
Indiana Pacers 20:00 Chicago Bulls
Thunder 20:00 Washington Wizards
New York Knicks 20:30 Dallas Mavericks
Memphis Grizzlies 21:00 Utah Jazz
Toronto Raptors 22:00 Phoenix Suns
Wolves 22:30 Warriors
Saturday 03 November
Detroit Pistons 13:00 Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics 19:00 Indiana Pacers
Cleveland Cavaliers 19:00 Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat 19:30 Atlanta Hawks
Houston Rockets 20:00 Chicago Bulls
Pelicans 20:30 San Antonio Spurs
Utah Jazz 21:00 Denver Nuggets
L.A. Lakers 22:00 Blazers
Sunday 04 November
Sacramento Kings 15:30 Milwaukee Bucks
New York Knicks 18:00 Washington Wizards
Philadelphia 76ers 18:00 Brooklyn Nets
Orlando Magic 19:00 San Antonio Spurs
Memphis Grizzlies 20:00 Phoenix Suns
Wolves 21:00 Blazers
Toronto Raptors 21:30 L.A. Lakers

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.