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Line Movement Explained

Training Camp: From the linesmaker

I can’t deny the fact that I’ve got a great job. But it’s not like I spend all day sipping mai-tais and browsing the swimsuit issue. I have to make sure that the betting lines I put up are an accurate reflection of the betting marketplace – one half-point in the wrong direction could take food off my plate.

Some people still think my job is to pull the wool over our customers’ eyes and take their cash. I think the informative articles you’ll find on this website prove otherwise. We want our customers to make educated bets so nobody loses his shirt – us included. So let me play the Answer Man for a moment and give you an insight into the nature of what we do around here.

How are game totals set?

It’s common knowledge among bettors that the online gambling industry pays close attention to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, a private company that handles the odds for casinos and newspapers. But the totals I set have to reflect our customers’ preferences for betting the over or under on certain teams in certain situations. Also, because LVSC lines are published early, I have to keep on top of injuries and potential changes in coaching strategy leading up to the game in question before I release any totals. This is doubly important in basketball, where pace determines how many shots will be taken in 48 minutes.

Why do lines move?

Ideally, the lines I release will balance the action equally, so that the winners get paid out from the pockets of the losers and we take the vigorish. That’s an ideal that rarely happens – especially in sports without a pointspread, like NASCAR and golf. If Team A is getting too much action, I’ll move the line toward Team B to try to achieve that balance. My personal preference is to tweak the vig from –110 to –105 or +100 before taking the bigger step of moving the spread a half-point or more.

Are there ways to make money from line movements?

Absolutely. When the lines go up for the NFL, or for the first game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, there are several days in between the open and the game itself where movement can take place.Sports Betting at the Sportsbook You’ll find that the betting public tends to pile in on their favorite teams once they get home from work on Friday. You can anticipate these line movements and time your bet accordingly to take advantage.

Sometimes a line will move far enough to create a “middle” opportunity. Say the Texas Longhorns end up facing the Wisconsin Badgers in the first round of March Madness. If you have Texas early as a 5-point favorite, and I move the line to Texas –7 later in the week, then you can also place a bet on Wisconsin +7. If Texas happens to win by six points, both your bets cash in. Texas winning by either five or seven gives you a win and a push. Any other result creates a win and a loss, so you’re only risking the vigorish.

What type of betting statistics do you recommend?

If you want to predict what will happen when Team A meets Team B, your best stats to analyze are those generated in their most recent head-to-head matchups at the same venue. The habits of the betting public are fairly constant, so ATS results in general have a longer shelf life, but don’t bother going too far back in time. The 2009 New York Yankees are going to look a lot different than the 2008 Yankees or the 2000 Yankees.

Do multiple deposits count toward special promotion offers?

Yes. If you receive a special offer from our marketing team, and you make several deposits adding up to X dollars before the expiry date, it qualifies the same as one big deposit of X dollars. We remind you, though, to be aware of our deposit method fees and take those into account.

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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.



  1. This was a very informative article providing some good insight into how and why lines move. Everyone understands about lines moving to even out the bets, but it is the subtle factors that I find the most interesting. I do agree about going back in time to study head to head match ups as trends do exist and can be capitalized on.