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 04 March
FT Atlanta Hawks 113 - 114 Miami Heat +435 -526
FT Dallas Mavericks 88 - 127 Brooklyn Nets +205 -227
FT Denver Nuggets 103 - 104 San Antonio Spurs +108 -115
FT Milwaukee Bucks 105 - 114 Phoenix Suns -1000 +800
FT Pelicans 115 - 112 Utah Jazz +430 -526
FT New York Knicks 108 - 115 Sacramento Kings +540 -625
FT L.A. Clippers 113 - 105 L.A. Lakers +150 -159
Tuesday 05 March
FT Orlando Magic 106 - 114 Philadelphia 76ers +165 -185
FT Chicago Bulls 96 - 105 Indiana Pacers +255 -263
FT Thunder 120 - 131 Wolves -120 +115
FT Blazers 111 - 120 Memphis Grizzlies -227 +195
FT Houston Rockets 107 - 95 Toronto Raptors +145 -154
FT Boston Celtics 128 - 95 Warriors +230 -263
Wednesday 06 March
FT Dallas Mavericks 123 - 132 Washington Wizards +192 -204
FT Wolves 114 - 131 Detroit Pistons +172 -196
FT Miami Heat 91 - 84 Charlotte Hornets +138 -152
FT Cleveland Cavaliers 107 - 113 Brooklyn Nets +415 -455
FT San Antonio Spurs 111 - 104 Atlanta Hawks -217 +205
FT Utah Jazz 114 - 104 Pelicans -189 +178
FT Philadelphia 76ers 107 - 108 Chicago Bulls -167 +156
FT New York Knicks 96 - 107 Phoenix Suns +151 -164
FT Boston Celtics 111 - 109 Sacramento Kings -128 +110
FT Denver Nuggets 115 - 99 L.A. Lakers -200 +190
Thursday 07 March
Indiana Pacers 20:00 Milwaukee Bucks +450 -556
Thunder 22:30 Blazers +156 -164
Friday 08 March
Washington Wizards 19:00 Charlotte Hornets
Dallas Mavericks 19:00 Orlando Magic
Cleveland Cavaliers 20:00 Miami Heat
Detroit Pistons 20:00 Chicago Bulls
Philadelphia 76ers 20:00 Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz 20:00 Memphis Grizzlies
Toronto Raptors 20:00 Pelicans
Denver Nuggets 22:30 Warriors
Thunder 22:30 L.A. Clippers
Saturday 09 March
Sacramento Kings 12:00 New York Knicks
Brooklyn Nets 19:00 Atlanta Hawks
Washington Wizards 20:00 Wolves
Boston Celtics 20:30 L.A. Lakers
Charlotte Hornets 21:00 Milwaukee Bucks
Phoenix Suns 22:00 Blazers
Sunday 10 March
Chicago Bulls 12:00 Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers 15:30 Philadelphia 76ers
Toronto Raptors 15:30 Miami Heat
Pelicans 18:00 Atlanta Hawks
Orlando Magic 18:00 Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets 19:00 Dallas Mavericks
Milwaukee Bucks 20:00 San Antonio Spurs
New York Knicks 20:00 Wolves
Phoenix Suns 20:30 Warriors

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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