What Is Reverse Line Movement?
Reverse line movement is a fairly self-explanatory phenomenon: it refers to instances where the betting line moves contrary from whichever side is receiving the most bets. Oftentimes, this mainly happens due to two reasons:
Sharp bettors are putting more wagers down on the unpopular side, organically evening the line.
The house is biased toward keeping the line as neutral as possible.
Sharp bettors (AKA “sharps”) are bettors who are known for being notably successful at what they do. After all, sharp minds with sharp intuition are bound to make sharp wagers. The opinion of these sharps is weighted far more than the opinion of the average bettor, and sportsbook operators/oddsmakers may adjust their betting lines in accordance with these opinions.
Additionally, it’s within the house’s best interest to keep the betting line as close to being as neutral as possible, to ensure that they’re able to net plenty of money off both sides of it. While these betting lines between both teams are rarely completely equal (the seldom unique cases that are known as “pick ‘ems
”), and more bettors are inclined to wager on the favorite, the house will want to attain the best of both worlds.
But is it in your best interest to follow reverse betting line movements? Learn more about reverse line movements through this overview.
What Does Reverse Line Movement Mean?
We’ve already given you a pretty solid gist of what reverse line movements mean and why they happen, but what do they look like in practice? Well, it could generally look like -1 point on the spread, or -10 points on the vig (AKA “juice
”), which is the money you’ll need to put down in order to potentially earn a greater payout.
In the interest of preserving neutrality, most sportsbooks will set the vig on both sides of the betting line as close to -110 as possible. This means that for every $100 a bettor will want to net from their payout, they’ll have to risk $110, or give the house $1 for every $10 they spend on their wager.
That might sound like a pretty low cut of the betting stake, but over time, and over the grand scheme of multiple bettors placing money in this betting pool, it definitely adds up. When you remember the house is a business like any other business, it makes sense that they would want to do everything within their power to protect, preserve, and inflate their bottom line, and maintain a healthy flow of supply and demand.
This supply-and-demand swing is akin to stocks, or any other commodity a consumer can purchase. When the purchase of a commodity increases, the demand for a commodity increases, and subsequently, the demand for said commodity. Betting lines are no different in this instance, but other unique variables may affect where they fall, variables like:
Player injuries, illnesses, and other hindrances
Team track record, in recent history and overall history
The location where the game is being played
The effect weather conditions have on the game
All of the aforementioned complexities can coalesce together to create line movements that don’t line up with popular opinion. But how should you place bets informed by these movements, and is it a wise strategy to do so?
How To Bet Reverse Line Movement
You might see a reverse line movement as a bright, flashing neon sign, a giant surefire bat signal telling you that now is the perfect time to fade the public
. Unfortunately, bets are rarely ever that straightforward.
For one, once the sharps make up their mind on a number, that favored number is unlikely to follow any reversals or follow up movements. Also, unlike the house, you don’t have a behind the scenes picture of the full total money split and how it moves, just the movements of the vig and point spread.
Furthermore, all of the aforementioned things we named as potential causes of reverse line movements are just speculated possibilities, not definitive, salient confirmations. Unless you’re a sharp bettor or someone who could legally have access to all that inside baseball, there’s no real way for a player to definitively verify what’s reversing line movements, just speculations.
Does Reverse Line Movement Work?
All in all, your mileage will vary on whether or not following reverse line movement is a successful strategy. If you play your cards right, it can certainly pay off, as underdogs have lower odds but tend to yield slightly higher payouts.
But in order to have the best bet at following these reverse line movements, the key strategy you should take here is following multiple sources. Of course they can’t disclose all the tricks of the trade, but many sharps, tipsters, handicappers, and betting experts are happy to blog and write about their insights online.
Likewise, you might see really obvious telltale signs that the overall outcome of a betting line is bound to change. A star player getting injured, for instance, might be the thing that contributes to knocking a once-strong over a few pegs down closer to being an underdog.
Beyond following industry experts and major inflection points, you also take the time to follow multiple trusted sportsbooks. This will provide you with the most accurate details pertaining to reverse line movements, as well as line movements in general. Some of the best online sportsbooks
in the business include:
Golden Nugget Online
Fox Bet Sportsbook
The Score Sportsbook
Right now, D.C. and over a dozen states support legal online sports betting
markets like these in the United States, and it’s only a matter of time before they (slowly, but surely) sweep the nation. If (and when) they do, we’ll be more than happy to tell you about it.
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