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What is a Middle in Sports Betting?

by January 2, 2022
Week 1 Preseason NFL

Sports betting is all about picking which side you think is going to win or cover the spread and the entertainment of watching to see if your bet is going to hit. However, the strategy of middling provides a way to not just bet on one side in a game, but to win by betting both.

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What is a middle?

A middle is a betting strategy where the bettor places a bet on both sides of a match at different lines. This ensures that at least one of the bettor’s wagers will hit while providing the opportunity for both to hit. For example, let’s say you bet a team at +6.5. Then, let’s say the line moves down to +3.5 and you bet the other side. Having a bet on one team to cover +6.5 and the other to cover -3.5 give you the opportunity for a middle. At least one bet is guaranteed to hit and if the favored team wins by four, five, or six points, both your bets hit and you’ve gotten a middle.

How to find middle opportunities?

The best way to find opportunities to middle games is to odds shop and bet games days or weeks before they happen. When odds shopping, you can find some variance in the line of the game and potentially find an opportunity to middle. For example, one sportsbook may have a team listed as 2 point favorites while another sportsbook may have that same team listed as 3.5 point favorites. Betting both sides of that line gives you a middle opportunity. Another way to find middles is through line movement. This is when a line starts at a certain number or price and then moves because of injury news, weather, and/or people heavily betting one side. For example, let’s say you bet on a football team early in the week at +7.5. During the week that line can move a lot and by the time Sunday comes around, you may be able to be the other side of that line at -2.5 for example. That gives you a nice middle.

Possible outcomes of a middle

Let’s use the example from above to go over the possible outcomes of a middle. In a hypothetical Raiders vs Browns game,  a bettor places a wager on the Raiders at +7.5 on Monday morning. Throughout the week, news breaks of the Browns’ starting quarterback being out for the game. That news causes the line to move five points. You now bet the Browns at -2.5 so you have wagers on the Raiders at +7.5 and Browns at -2.5. Assuming -110 prices on these bets, if the Browns by eight or more points, you will lose 0.09 units. If the Raiders win, or lose by less than three points, you lose 0.09 units. However, if the Browns win by three to seven points, the middle hits and you win 1.82 units. No matter what happens in the game, middles allow you to either lose a minimal amount, or win both bets.

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Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our How To Bet and Sports Betting Strategy and Advice pages are for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including How to Bet on Sports — or head to more advanced strategy — like 10 Tips to Become a Sharper Sports Bettor — to learn more.

Jack O’Brien is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Jack, check out his archive and follow him @JackOBrienNFL.

Betting 101, How-To