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What Moves The Sports Betting Lines?

by July 11, 2019
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Throughout the day, sports betting lines will shift around a little bit. They might open at a number, move up a bit, move down and eventually close at a number that is distant from where it started.

What moves the sports betting lines? Is it just supply and demand, or is there more to the story? Here’s are the most common reasons for the numbers moving.

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Sharps Move The Lines

The first thing you’ll want to note when you’re looking at the lines is what type of sportsbook are you examining. Most sportsbooks only like to book the public and squares, and shun sharp action. Other sportsbooks do welcome sharp money – the professional bettors – so they’ll move the lines differently.

Sportsbooks who focus on the public and squares will move the lines in order to split up the action to have as close to even money on each side of the game. Think of it as a supply and demand equation. That way they will have as few liabilities as possible and just aim to take the juice from each game.

As far as sharp sportsbooks are concerned, they’ll move the lines based on what the pros are doing. They already know ahead of time how the squares will bet; their main concern is not to get beat by the sharps. The pros bet more, know more and win more, so they can actually hurt the sportsbook. Those types of books will respect the sharp money and move the money based on their bets.

Injuries, Roster News Can Move The Lines

It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of various news as that is another big reason for the betting lines to move.

In sports like the NFL, player can be questionable throughout the week and their status can make a huge change in the line. For example, if Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a concussion and he gets cleared to play the day before the game or if he’s reported to be out, that will have a huge impact on the line.

In sports like baseball, pitching changes or even day’s off for regulars in the lineup can have a sizable impact on the lines. Of course, a last-minute pitching change is usually the biggest roster-type of move that will have the biggest impact on the line. However, a day off for a star player can also move the line a little bit.

In basketball, it’s become a trend where teams engage in “load management” for their star players to save them for the postseason. That can have a significant impact on the line if Kawhi Leonard is out for the game. And in sports like the NHL, having the lead goaltender in net versus having the backup is a big difference.

You have to keep eye on these types of personnel moves as each will have a sizable impact on the betting line.


One other key factor that can move the betting line is the weather. Of course, weather has no impact on sports like baseball or hockey, but it can make a significant effect on football and baseball games.

In baseball, we often see wind play a role in Chicago Cubs’ games and the totals will change drastically depending on which way the wind is blowing. In football, teams can go from playing games on a clear, warm day to play games in the snow, sleet, hail, rain or mud. Depending on what is forecast for that day, the betting line will shift around.

Check the local weather forecasts before you place your bets as that’s an important factor to consider when you’re handicapping the lines.

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Dave Golokhov is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Dave, check out his archive and follow him @davegolokhov.

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