A “steam move” or in sports betting is when there is a large change in the betting market due to new and heavy action. These steam moves are caused when high-volume players or syndicates place large sums of money on a game and thus moving the line or changing the odds. The normal public wagering does have an effect on lines and odds, however, it is these big players that trigger the large line movements throughout the betting industry.
One of the best plays to make with the steam moves is what’s called “Steam chasing.” When steam chasing, the idea is to note when there are steam line moves and then to wager accordingly. If a wager is heavy enough to create a steam move, the person or persons must know what they are doing.
A wager that can cause a steam move is smart money and if you bet with smart money, you’ll win. Smart gamblers are looking for any advantage they can gain over the market and following smart money by steam chasing is just that.
Here’s an example of chasing steam. Let’s say the gamblers notice that the consensus line across the board of several sportsbooks has the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles game with the Eagles as -3 point favorites. After an update, gamblers notice that one of the sportsbooks moved their line to -4. This is a big move, particularly with the 3, which is a significant total in the NFL.
A few seconds after the line moves in one sportsbook, the rest of the market begins to move their line to adjust as well. This is the steam. However, there are a few more sportsbooks that have yet to adjust their odds, and the Eagles at -3 are still available.
Betting the Eagles here is what we call chasing the steam. The gamblers betting here have beaten the market move caused by the smart money and locking in a price that is almost certainly going to be better than the closing number. Sportsbook and oddsmakers don’t like this one bit and you can imagine why.
Sportsbooks and oddsmakers are studying wagering trends just as much or if not more than any steam chaser and they are quick to adjust their lines. Some sportsbooks may be slower than others to move their lines, but, just to give you an idea, in most cases, it’s a matter of only a few minutes. The sports gambling industry is a finely tuned machine so you can count on anything giving you an advantage will be corrected as soon as possible.
A Few Concerns
Chasing steam line moves can be a very profitable betting system, there are a few drawbacks and concerns that gamblers should be sure to consider before employing such a strategy. For one, sportsbooks do not like steam chasers, particularly on a large scale.
There is no way for them to even those odds once the line moves. If the only types of wagers you’re making are steam plays, you’ll find yourself with a frozen account pretty quickly. Chasing steam is much like counting cards, you allowed to do it, but I wouldn’t suggest getting caught doing it.
Gamblers also need to be sure that the sportsbook they use is fair and reputable because many are not. Many sportsbooks will carry a fine print disclaimer allowing them to void your earnings at any moment. Be aware of who you are playing with and where you are wagering.
Sites have been known to pull some shady moves when they find themselves down. There are plenty of sites with solid reputations ready to take your action and allow you to win using all the information you can. Find the good sites, find the steam, and find yourself up.
The Steam Strategy
The best steam strategy to employ is to take it where you can get it. Be sure you know that steam chasing is tough. It takes a lot of time studying a few lines. It takes a large bankroll in order to make all the work worth the while. It takes operating on several open accounts on multiple sportsbooks to be able to see the steam and then place the wager.
In short, as profitable it is, it’s a tough play and shouldn’t be your only sports betting strategy. The more you look for opportunities to chase steam, then you’ll find. Just like anything worth doing, it will take time and practice to use properly.
The best thing you can do to use this strategy is to make it part of your routine. Once you are in your sportsbook/sportsbooks, checking odds and noting line charges, look for games you’d expect a lot of action on. Big games with big fan bases. Make a note of a few and move on to your other plays.
Then, once you’ve decided on all your upcoming action. Revisit some of those early lines. Then, complete your wagering, chasing steam if it presented itself. It’s a good way to practice and really become adept at steam chasing. It’s an important skill and one every successful gambler will need.