Betting Strategy

What is Reverse Line Movement in Sports Betting?

It is very well known that Vegas sportsbooks, as well as online sportsbooks, want to have as close to even money being wagered on both sides of a bet as they can. When the oddsmakers set the opening line, it’s a line to entice gamblers to wager both sides of the bet. When they are getting more action on one side than the other, they simply move the line in an attempt to get more wagers on the other side, thus evening up the action. This is and always has been standard practice in the sports gambling industry and it allows gamblers to keep track of where the action is. This is regular line movement.

Reverse Line Movement

Reverse line movement is just what it sounds like it is, the reverse of regular line movement. It’s when the lines move the opposite direction of what you’d expect based on the one-sided action. Sportsbooks have a built-in profit margin in the vig or juice of every wager. If both sides of a point spread is even at -110, that 10 is the juice that the house collects. Take money from the losers and shortchange the winners. It’s a wonderful business strategy. However, sometimes a wager is unbalanced with much more action on one side than the other. Here, there is a risk of the house taking a loss.

The number of wagers and amount of money coming through a sportsbook is important. However, the sportsbooks also keep track of who is making the wagers. There are professional gamblers and gambling syndicates that beat lines for a living. If these are the people making heavy wagers, you can bet the sportsbooks notice. Some sportsbooks have confidence in their lines and will let the wagers stand, however, some will try to stop the action and this is when they use the reverse line movement.

How Do You Identify Reverse Line Movement

In order to know when you are seeing a reverse line movement, you have to know where the action is going and which way the line is moving. Many online sportsbooks will have this information. There are also site dedicated solely to action. Be sure to look into these sports handicapping sites for plenty of information on any wager.

It’s important to remember the percentages you will see are the number of wagers made and not the amount of money. Sportsbooks will never disclose how much money is being wagered on one side or the other. You have to make the judgement call using some common sense.

Remember, the general public loves to wager on favorites and overs. Favorites because good teams win and betting otherwise is tough to do. Overs because everyone loves points being scored so they bet accordingly. These factors, as well as where the action is, will help you identify reverse line movements.

Spotting Reverse Line Movement

Just because a team is receiving 65% of the action, doesn’t necessarily mean they are getting the majority of the money. It’s the money that anyone is worried about after all. The spread on the team that is getting the most action is going to get better. If there were -3, the oddsmakers are going to lower that number to -2.5 or maybe even 2 and get more action coming in on the favorite. Study the line movements and betting percentages. If a team is getting over 60% of the wagers and the line moves the other direction, this is reverse line movement.

Most of the money coming in on any wager is coming from the general gambling public. The sharp money is not on every game. Determining when a line move is based on sharp money, general public money, or simply new information is difficult for everyone. It takes some time and study.

For instance, you are going to want to consider the size of the market. A line movement on an NFL game usually means that new information has been discovered (like an injury to a starter) or a large amount of money has been wagered. To move a line in a mid-major college basketball game, I could be as easy as a few hundred dollars.

Is It Smart to Bet

In short, yes. Betting on the reverse line movement means you are betting with the sharp money. These are the professionals after all. These are the gambling syndicates that make one huge wager a day. These are the whales. They send a lot of time and money to do the hard work of breaking down games, odds, and payouts. When you bet with the pros, you’re going to do well for yourself. It takes time and some study to find these reverse line movements, but it is worth your while as making smart wagers is the only way to win.

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