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 13 November
FT Sacramento Kings 92 - 110 Washington Wizards +550 -588 Odds
FT Cleveland Cavaliers 104 - 101 New York Knicks -208 +190
FT Memphis Grizzlies 103 - 110 Milwaukee Bucks +150 -169 Odds
FT Atlanta Hawks 105 - 106 Pelicans +350 -500 Odds
FT L.A. Lakers 100 - 93 Phoenix Suns +102 -110 Odds
FT Wolves 109 - 98 Utah Jazz -143 +135 Odds
FT Denver Nuggets 82 - 99 Blazers +113 -123 Odds
FT Orlando Magic 100 - 110 Warriors +660 -769 Odds
FT Philadelphia 76ers 109 - 105 L.A. Clippers +117 -130 Odds
Tuesday 14 November
Boston Celtics 19:30 Brooklyn Nets -270 +248 Odds
Toronto Raptors 20:00 Houston Rockets +230 -244 Odds
San Antonio Spurs 20:30 Dallas Mavericks -250 +230 Odds
Wednesday 15 November
Sacramento Kings 19:30 Atlanta Hawks
Washington Wizards 19:30 Miami Heat
Utah Jazz 19:30 New York Knicks
Detroit Pistons 20:00 Milwaukee Bucks
Indiana Pacers 20:00 Memphis Grizzlies
Cleveland Cavaliers 20:00 Charlotte Hornets
San Antonio Spurs 20:00 Wolves
Toronto Raptors 20:00 Pelicans
Chicago Bulls 20:00 Thunder
Orlando Magic 22:00 Blazers
Philadelphia 76ers 22:30 L.A. Lakers
Thursday 16 November
Warriors 20:00 Boston Celtics
Houston Rockets 22:30 Phoenix Suns
Friday 17 November
Detroit Pistons 19:00 Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat 19:00 Washington Wizards
Utah Jazz 19:30 Brooklyn Nets
L.A. Clippers 19:30 Cleveland Cavaliers
New York Knicks 19:30 Toronto Raptors
Charlotte Hornets 20:00 Chicago Bulls
Thunder 20:00 San Antonio Spurs
Wolves 20:30 Dallas Mavericks
Blazers 22:00 Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns 22:30 L.A. Lakers
Pelicans 22:30 Denver Nuggets
Saturday 18 November
Utah Jazz 19:00 Orlando Magic
L.A. Clippers 19:00 Charlotte Hornets
Boston Celtics 19:30 Atlanta Hawks
Warriors 19:30 Philadelphia 76ers
Houston Rockets 20:00 Memphis Grizzlies
Milwaukee Bucks 21:00 Dallas Mavericks
Sacramento Kings 22:00 Blazers
Sunday 19 November
Indiana Pacers 15:30 Miami Heat
Washington Wizards 15:30 Toronto Raptors
Warriors 18:00 Brooklyn Nets
Detroit Pistons 19:00 Wolves
Chicago Bulls 20:00 Phoenix Suns
Denver Nuggets 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.