Middle Bets Will playing both sides give you a better chance at coming out on top? Find out how middling a bet works, and what exactly middling entails.
✍️ Written by
Apr 3rd 2023
What Are Middle Bets?
A middle bet refers to a wager in which a bettor places a stake on different sides of the same game, attempting to play the odds from multiple angles. This is a particularly useful tactic when the line or odds surrounding a game’s outcome suddenly shifts.
Say that a team’s star quarterback, point guard, or power forward was suddenly injured before the game you’re wagering on, or sidelined by illness, which is still an entirely possible variable in the post-COVID era. That comfortable favorite or “over” team won’t be quite as comfortable a favorite now, will they?
That’s where the efficacy of middle bets comes into play. For example, imagine a hypothetical interstate football clash between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dolphins are favored to beat the Bucs by at least four points, so if they wanted to, a bettor could place a -4 wager in favor of Miami.
But imagine one of Tampa’s key players was sidelined prior to the game, and the point spread doubled in favor of the Dolphins, the bettor could choose to place a second wager on the Bucs +8. In this hypothetical, the four-point difference is the middle.
Even though Tampa Bay has better odds of getting clobbered in this scenario, the bettor has offered themselves better odds of winning out by opening up multiple outcomes down the middle. Through this middle bet, there are three possible non-loss outcomes:
The bettor wins both wagers: If the Dolphins crush the Bucs by 5, 6, or 7 points, covering the middle.
The bettor wins one wager: If the Dolphins win by 9 points or higher, or the Bucs lose by three points or lower.
The bettor pushes both wagers: If the Dolphins win precisely by 4 or 8 points exactly.
Middling is a useful tactic to mitigate monetary risk and potentially double your winnings. If you’re curious about betting the middle, and whether or not it’s a wise wagering decision, then keep reading this in-depth guide to learn more.
How Do You Place A Middle Bet?
As you’ve likely already gathered, middle bets are reliant on seizing an opportunity. So, as such, they are much more situational than standard single-contest bets, spread bets, teaser bets, or parlay bets. Opportunities for a sports betting middle can open up when:
The line/point total shifts up or down, creating a middle
The point spread moves closer to 0, creating a narrower middle
The point spread moves further away from 0, creating a narrower middle
This line may shift based on circumstantial reasons surrounding the game and it’s contenders, or the house may choose to shift the line to encourage more neutral betting.
For instance, if bettors were overwhelmingly placing wagers on a game one way, then a sportsbook might feel compelled to shift the line in a way that would encourage more competition.
Regardless, once that window of opportunity opens to middle a sports bet, you should be mindful of all of the following variables before doing so:
Change: A sportsbook’s point total isn’t hard, definitive, set in stone gospel by any means. This can be a double-edged sword, as what once looked like a promising middle could quickly narrow into ever-shrinking, ever-riskier odds. So if you plan on placing a middle, make sure you follow your sportsbook line movements carefully.
Score Margins: Depending on which sport you’re betting on, you should know that the final score/point total is more likely to end up falling on the multiple of a certain key number. For example, football final score totals are often known to fall on multiples of 3 or 7, whereas basketball is so high-scoring that the most common margins of victory fall between multiples from 1 to 9. Make sure your totals are conducive to these likely score margins.
House Rules: Betting a middle between totals can be a great way to up your winning odds; if the final score falls around the middle, then you’re almost certainly guaranteed to win at least one of your two wagers. However, always make sure that you’re conducting your bet in a way that’s meaningful, productive, and doesn’t violate any sportsbook regulations.
Once you’ve figured out that you want to bet a middle, you should then take the time to figure out where you’d like to place a middle bet. Currently, you can enjoy some of the best legal online sportsbooks in the industry across 13 states, as well as the District of Columbia.
Is Betting The Middle Worth It?
On the face of it, betting the middle seems like an easy, no-brainer win win. After all, if one of your two wagers is almost certain to win, then what do you really have to lose? But slow your roll there.
As we’ve stated before, no line numbers are static. This also applies to line numbers that have already been moved. Middle bets are not a decision you should take lightly, casually, impulsively, or without following line movements closely.
Sometimes, middles are so closely followed, that players have wagered them in real time through live in-game betting. So overall, we would recommend becoming acclimated with house rules, the game you’re wagering on, and following sportsbook line movements carefully before placing a middle bet.
We would also recommend following more than one sportsbook. Your best bet at following the most accurate line movements will be through following the movements logged by a majority of sportsbooks. Some of the best online sportsbooks where you can follow lines include:
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