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 03 February
FT Warriors 125 - 117 Washington Wizards +230 -250
FT Orlando Magic 112 - 100 Charlotte Hornets -200 +180
AOT New York Knicks 139 - 134 Cleveland Cavaliers -127 +108
FT Dallas Mavericks 112 - 103 Indiana Pacers +175 -200
FT Phoenix Suns 97 - 119 Brooklyn Nets +108 -127
FT Boston Celtics 123 - 115 Atlanta Hawks -222 +210
FT Philadelphia 76ers 106 - 137 Miami Heat +125 -141
FT Detroit Pistons 82 - 96 Memphis Grizzlies +330 -417
FT Wolves 109 - 113 Sacramento Kings +100 -110
FT San Antonio Spurs 105 - 108 L.A. Clippers +425 -435
Tuesday 04 February
Milwaukee Bucks 19:30 Pelicans -244 +225
Charlotte Hornets 20:00 Houston Rockets
Blazers 21:00 Denver Nuggets
San Antonio Spurs 22:00 L.A. Lakers
Wednesday 05 February
Phoenix Suns 19:00 Detroit Pistons
Warriors 19:30 Brooklyn Nets
Orlando Magic 19:30 Boston Celtics
Indiana Pacers 19:30 Toronto Raptors
Atlanta Hawks 20:00 Wolves
Cleveland Cavaliers 20:00 Thunder
Memphis Grizzlies 20:30 Dallas Mavericks
Denver Nuggets 21:00 Utah Jazz
Miami Heat 22:00 L.A. Clippers
Thursday 06 February
Orlando Magic 19:30 New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers 20:00 Milwaukee Bucks
Pelicans 20:00 Chicago Bulls
San Antonio Spurs 22:00 Blazers
Houston Rockets 22:30 L.A. Lakers
Friday 07 February
Memphis Grizzlies 19:00 Philadelphia 76ers
Dallas Mavericks 19:00 Washington Wizards
Atlanta Hawks 19:30 Boston Celtics
Detroit Pistons 20:00 Thunder
Toronto Raptors 20:00 Indiana Pacers
Houston Rockets 21:00 Phoenix Suns
Miami Heat 22:00 Sacramento Kings
Blazers 22:30 Utah Jazz
Saturday 08 February
Milwaukee Bucks 17:00 Orlando Magic
Dallas Mavericks 19:00 Charlotte Hornets
New York Knicks 19:00 Detroit Pistons
Pelicans 19:30 Indiana Pacers
Brooklyn Nets 19:30 Toronto Raptors
L.A. Clippers 20:00 Wolves
L.A. Lakers 20:30 Warriors
Denver Nuggets 21:00 Phoenix Suns
San Antonio Spurs 22:00 Sacramento Kings
Sunday 09 February
Boston Celtics 15:30 Thunder
New York Knicks 18:00 Atlanta Hawks
Chicago Bulls 18:00 Philadelphia 76ers
Memphis Grizzlies 18:00 Washington Wizards
Utah Jazz 19:00 Houston Rockets
L.A. Clippers 19:30 Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat 21:00 Blazers

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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