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 19 April
FT Cleveland Cavaliers 105 - 109 Detroit Pistons
FT Warriors 107 - 96 Philadelphia 76ers
FT Chicago Bulls 102 - 96 Boston Celtics +165 -185
FT San Antonio Spurs 109 - 94 Indiana Pacers -154 +145
FT Houston Rockets 91 - 113 Miami Heat
FT Thunder 107 - 119 Washington Wizards
AOT Phoenix Suns 128 - 127 Milwaukee Bucks +125 -145
AOT Memphis Grizzlies 137 - 139 Denver Nuggets
FT Utah Jazz 111 - 97 L.A. Lakers
Tuesday 20 April
FT Brooklyn Nets 134 - 129 Pelicans +135 -143
FT Charlotte Hornets 97 - 109 New York Knicks +195 -200
FT Orlando Magic 96 - 112 Atlanta Hawks +600 -769
FT Wolves 134 - 120 Sacramento Kings +145 -152
FT L.A. Clippers 113 - 112 Blazers -192 +185
Wednesday 21 April
FT Phoenix Suns 116 - 113 Philadelphia 76ers -141 +130
FT Thunder 116 - 122 Indiana Pacers +320 -370
FT Chicago Bulls 105 - 121 Cleveland Cavaliers -128 +115
FT Warriors 114 - 118 Washington Wizards -120 +110
FT Brooklyn Nets 103 - 114 Toronto Raptors +165 -179
AOT Atlanta Hawks 127 - 137 New York Knicks -118 +105
FT Utah Jazz 112 - 89 Houston Rockets -714 +550
FT Detroit Pistons 117 - 127 Dallas Mavericks +485 -625
FT Miami Heat 107 - 87 San Antonio Spurs -120 +110
FT Wolves 125 - 128 Sacramento Kings +141 -137
FT Denver Nuggets 106 - 105 Blazers -125 +115
FT Memphis Grizzlies 105 - 117 L.A. Clippers -175 +165
Thursday 22 April
FT Philadelphia 76ers 117 - 124 Milwaukee Bucks +230 -238
FT Pelicans 135 - 100 Orlando Magic -500 +425
FT Phoenix Suns 86 - 99 Boston Celtics -118 +106
FT Detroit Pistons 91 - 106 San Antonio Spurs +250 -278
FT Charlotte Hornets 91 - 108 Chicago Bulls +100 -111
FT L.A. Lakers 110 - 115 Dallas Mavericks +145 -154
Friday 23 April
FT Miami Heat 103 - 118 Atlanta Hawks -250 +230
FT Boston Celtics 104 - 109 Brooklyn Nets +140 -154
FT Cleveland Cavaliers 102 - 108 Charlotte Hornets +105 -118
FT L.A. Clippers 109 - 104 Houston Rockets -417 +370
FT Washington Wizards 129 - 109 Thunder -455 +370
FT Memphis Grizzlies 130 - 128 Blazers +165 -172
FT Denver Nuggets 97 - 118 Warriors -135 +120
Saturday 24 April
FT Toronto Raptors 103 - 120 New York Knicks -106 +100
FT Philadelphia 76ers 94 - 132 Milwaukee Bucks +350 -400
FT Detroit Pistons 109 - 115 Indiana Pacers +165 -175
FT San Antonio Spurs 110 - 108 Pelicans +132 -135
FT Chicago Bulls 101 - 106 Miami Heat +170 -189
FT L.A. Lakers 93 - 108 Dallas Mavericks +115 -123
FT Wolves 101 - 96 Utah Jazz +615 -833
FT Houston Rockets 116 - 129 Denver Nuggets +900 -1250
Sunday 25 April
FT Boston Celtics 104 - 125 Charlotte Hornets -333 +285
240' Phoenix Suns 106 - 119 Brooklyn Nets +105 -112
60' Memphis Grizzlies 87 - 76 Blazers +142 -103
Cleveland Cavaliers 19:00 Washington Wizards +240 -278
Milwaukee Bucks 19:30 Atlanta Hawks -244 +215
Indiana Pacers 20:00 Orlando Magic -208 +190
Sacramento Kings 22:00 Warriors +278 -303

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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