How to Read Line Movements

Betting lines rarely close at the same number as they open with, this makes knowing how to read line movements very important. The betting public often pushes the line in varying directions.

With sports like the NFL, it’s not uncommon for lines to completely change by Sunday. That’s because there are so many days to bet on the outcome before the game kicks off.

The fluctuation and movement are important to understand when preparing to place a wager. Timing is everything, but that can be tough to get right, whether you want to bet on the favorite or the underdog.

Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons line movement occurs and when to act.


Timing When to Place a Bet – How to Read Line Movements

Lines will usually move throughout the week. It’s important that you time your bets to the best of your ability.

If you like a favorite, and the opening line is more reasonable than you expected, place that bet. If hype grows for the favorite throughout the week, the line could move a couple of points by the time kickoff occurs. Getting your bet in early can be advantageous in this situation.

Due to this line movement, it is very important to use multiple sportsbooks. Did you know that line shopping is the easiest way to increase your winning percentage? It is the easiest and most effective strategy to become a better bettor.

What is ‘Smart Money’ and How Does it Move the Line?

Sometimes a line opens with one team as a favorite, and quickly, it’s a bigger favorite. The movement can likely be attributed to sharp money coming in heavily for the favorite. Your new knowledge how to read line movements will get your mind right.

Sharp money comes from experienced bettors and handicappers. They noticed a discrepancy from the first line with their expected spread. That caused them to jump at the opening line and shift the spread.

Be aware of a quick movement like this. The bettors causing the line to move like this are usually experienced and know what they’re doing. This is also worth noting if you are a bookie. The right PPH service will move lines for you to help minimize losses and provide risk management.

You should always trust your own research when making a bet. But there’s reason to believe the favorite may be the best bet if the sharp money is also betting on it.

Public Money Causing Line Movement

The public causing line movement would probably be a more gradual change compared to smart money. If a large majority of the betting public begins betting one side, eventually, the spread will move because of it. Some large capper sites will offer free picks just to get the line moving in the direction that will benefit them.

It likely takes a few days. Say an NFL favorite opened Monday morning as three-point favorites. If the line rises gradually through the week, you can attribute the changes to public money.

Oddsmakers have to adjust their initial lines based on the public’s perception. The public influence goes back to our previous point about timing.

If you like an underdog pick knowing the majority of the public is likely going to back the favorite, you should wait to place your bet.

If you can get your underdog pick at +5 instead of +3. That is obviously stronger value and increases your odds to cover the spread and win your bet.

Keep tabs on the public’s preferences for a bet before placing a wager.