Monday, April 6, 2009

How Do Sportsbooks Make Money And How Does This Affect The Line? Part II (How To Take Advantage Of This Knowledge)

So, now the question is: knowing what you know about why lines move, how can you use this knowledge to your advantage? Let's examine an example.

Let's say the Steelers are playing against Tampa. The first thing you should know about this match-up is that the Steelers have the largest fan base worldwide and they are the most bet-on team in pro football. Tampa, on the other hand, doesn't have nearly the fan following. They are a younger franchise with an embarrassing past and they compete within their own state between Miami and Jacksonville. So, what does this all mean?

It means that the opening line may anticipate a large number of people betting on the Steelers and so it may be set higher than what the odds makers think the difference in the final score will be (They start the line at Steelers -8 when normally it would be Steelers -6.5). By doing this, they try to entice as much money on Tampa's side as there will be for the Steelers. In other words, the line is incorrectly high and you should put your money on Tampa.

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Other times, the line will start out correctly and move throughout the week (or day depending on when the line is posted relative to the start of the game) to account for the lopsided betting that will take place for the Steelers, as discussed in part one of this article.

So, what you want to do is watch the line. If it seems to start inflated in this type of situation (a large-market team playing a much lesser-market team), it probably won't move much and most of the time the smart money will be on the lesser-market team. When the line starts "correctly," you should wait until the line starts moving. Once it moves in the direction of the large-market team, wait until you know it has stopped moving and put your money on the lesser-market team at this time.

With big movement in the line, there is also the opportunity for you to "double-up." Let's say the point spread starts (correctly) at Pittsburgh -6.5. If you anticipate the line moving up, you should bet on the Steelers at -6.5. This will be the best line for you to get on the Steelers. Now, let's say that by game day the line has moved to Steelers -8.5. At this point you should bet an equal amount of money on the Buccaneers +8.5. This way, if the Steelers win by seven or eight, you win both bets. And, even if the actual point differential doesn't end up between each line you bet on, all you lose is the vig since you are guaranteed to win at least one bet. It's the lowest risk/reward ratio you can get while conventionally betting (straight bets, not parlays).

You should also know that this strategy works bets for sporting events where the lines are posted days before the start of the event, like football.

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