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
Tuesday 25 December
FT Milwaukee Bucks 109 - 95 New York Knicks -500 +435
FT Thunder 109 - 113 Houston Rockets -112 +102
AOT Philadelphia 76ers 114 - 121 Boston Celtics +199 -204
300' L.A. Lakers 109 - 92 Warriors +370 -417
Blazers 22:30 Utah Jazz +235 -263
Wednesday 26 December
Washington Wizards 19:00 Detroit Pistons +175 -200
Phoenix Suns 19:00 Orlando Magic +155 -175
Charlotte Hornets 19:30 Brooklyn Nets +110 -123
Indiana Pacers 19:30 Atlanta Hawks -333 +280
Toronto Raptors 19:30 Miami Heat -208 +174
Cleveland Cavaliers 20:00 Memphis Grizzlies +460 -588
Wolves 20:00 Chicago Bulls -233 +194
Denver Nuggets 20:30 San Antonio Spurs +135 -149
Pelicans 20:30 Dallas Mavericks +116 -130
Sacramento Kings 22:30 L.A. Clippers +183 -217
Thursday 27 December
New York Knicks 20:00 Milwaukee Bucks
Boston Celtics 20:00 Houston Rockets
L.A. Lakers 22:00 Sacramento Kings
Blazers 22:30 Warriors
Philadelphia 76ers 22:30 Utah Jazz
Friday 28 December
Chicago Bulls 19:00 Washington Wizards
Detroit Pistons 19:00 Indiana Pacers
Toronto Raptors 19:00 Orlando Magic
Brooklyn Nets 19:00 Charlotte Hornets
Dallas Mavericks 20:00 Pelicans
Atlanta Hawks 20:00 Wolves
Cleveland Cavaliers 20:00 Miami Heat
Thunder 21:00 Phoenix Suns
San Antonio Spurs 21:00 Denver Nuggets
L.A. Clippers 22:30 L.A. Lakers
Saturday 29 December
Brooklyn Nets 17:00 Milwaukee Bucks
Charlotte Hornets 19:00 Washington Wizards
Houston Rockets 19:00 Pelicans
Cleveland Cavaliers 19:30 Atlanta Hawks
New York Knicks 20:00 Utah Jazz
Boston Celtics 20:00 Memphis Grizzlies
Denver Nuggets 21:00 Phoenix Suns
Warriors 22:00 Blazers
San Antonio Spurs 22:30 L.A. Clippers
Sunday 30 December
Detroit Pistons 15:30 Orlando Magic
Wolves 18:00 Miami Heat
Chicago Bulls 18:00 Toronto Raptors
Thunder 19:00 Dallas Mavericks
Philadelphia 76ers 21:00 Blazers
Sacramento Kings 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.

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