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 22 March
FT Sacramento Kings 119 - 105 Cleveland Cavaliers -175 +165
FT Thunder 112 - 103 Wolves +180 -189
FT Charlotte Hornets 100 - 97 San Antonio Spurs +175 -200
FT Indiana Pacers 113 - 140 Milwaukee Bucks +235 -233
AOT Boston Celtics 126 - 132 Memphis Grizzlies +165 -130
FT Utah Jazz 120 - 95 Chicago Bulls -400 +400
FT Toronto Raptors 99 - 117 Houston Rockets -370 +315
FT Atlanta Hawks 110 - 119 L.A. Clippers +210 -233
Tuesday 23 March
FT Denver Nuggets 110 - 99 Orlando Magic -303 +280
FT Washington Wizards 113 - 131 New York Knicks +130 -139
FT L.A. Lakers 111 - 128 Pelicans +195 -208
FT Phoenix Suns 110 - 100 Miami Heat -123 +110
FT Brooklyn Nets 116 - 112 Blazers +117 -133
FT Philadelphia 76ers 108 - 98 Warriors -167 +165
Wednesday 24 March
FT Detroit Pistons 111 - 116 Indiana Pacers +265 -270
FT Boston Celtics 119 - 121 Milwaukee Bucks +230 -250
FT Denver Nuggets 111 - 135 Toronto Raptors -120 +105
FT Memphis Grizzlies 116 - 107 Thunder -250 +240
FT Dallas Mavericks 128 - 108 Wolves -333 +285
FT Charlotte Hornets 122 - 97 Houston Rockets -164 +150
FT Cleveland Cavaliers 103 - 94 Chicago Bulls +250 -286
FT Phoenix Suns 111 - 112 Orlando Magic -417 +365
FT L.A. Clippers 134 - 101 San Antonio Spurs -233 +205
FT Brooklyn Nets 88 - 118 Utah Jazz +8000 -909
FT Atlanta Hawks 108 - 110 Sacramento Kings -141 +130
Thursday 25 March
FT Blazers 125 - 122 Miami Heat -135 +130
FT Washington Wizards 102 - 106 New York Knicks +130 -141
FT L.A. Clippers 98 - 85 San Antonio Spurs -105 -103
FT Philadelphia 76ers 109 - 101 L.A. Lakers -233 +215
FT Warriors 119 - 141 Sacramento Kings +165 -175
Friday 26 March
FT Brooklyn Nets 113 - 111 Detroit Pistons -263 +230
FT Boston Celtics 122 - 114 Milwaukee Bucks +200 -217
FT Phoenix Suns 104 - 100 Toronto Raptors -154 +145
FT Miami Heat 105 - 110 Charlotte Hornets -123 +115
FT Blazers 112 - 105 Orlando Magic -500 +400
FT Houston Rockets 101 - 107 Wolves +157 -164
FT Denver Nuggets 113 - 108 Pelicans -135 +120
FT Indiana Pacers 109 - 94 Dallas Mavericks -115 +105
FT Memphis Grizzlies 114 - 117 Utah Jazz +440 -526
FT Atlanta Hawks 124 - 108 Warriors -256 +240
FT Cleveland Cavaliers 86 - 100 L.A. Lakers +160 -167
Saturday 27 March
60' Detroit Pistons 92 - 106 Washington Wizards +190 -213
60' New York Knicks 99 - 96 Milwaukee Bucks -133 +120
240' Houston Rockets 125 - 102 Wolves +172 -185
720' Chicago Bulls 75 - 96 San Antonio Spurs +105 -115
HT Memphis Grizzlies 53 - 70 Utah Jazz +360 -417
HT Boston Celtics 47 - 52 Thunder -238 +230
HT Dallas Mavericks 53 - 53 Pelicans +185 -208
660' Cleveland Cavaliers 6 - 2 Sacramento Kings +340 -370
540' Philadelphia 76ers 10 - 4 L.A. Clippers +180 -200
Sunday 28 March
Phoenix Suns 13:00 Charlotte Hornets -238 +210
Blazers 19:00 Toronto Raptors -105 -114
Atlanta Hawks 21:00 Denver Nuggets +165 -179
Orlando Magic 22:00 L.A. Lakers +260 -278

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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