As a sports gambler its often second nature to look at lines and wonder where the money is going for a particular card or game. We have tons of sports going now with the NHL in full swing, the NBA and College hoops keeping the hardwood action moving and the NFL and NCAAF winding down their seasons as they rapidly approach postseason play. This is the time of year most gamblers love to be around as the action can almost seem nonstop.
And while the abundance of choices to wager on daily is great, veteran punters are still looking at lines and wondering where the "smart" money is going. People want to bet with those perceived as sharp and so determining where their money is going assists many players in daily and weekly choices.
How Do I Follow The Lines?
If you are looking to track lines and see where the money is moving there are various ways this can be achieved and you are oftentimes looking for different things depending on the sport you are watching. The easiest method I use is to follow some of the lines is taking advantage of available odds sites. They can be paid or free depending on what you are looking for but you are comparing where the line opened at versus where it is sitting currently and everything in between.
Should You Only Bet One Sport?
For example, Ball State (#326) is taking on Miami (OH) on Friday. The game opened with Ball State as a -2.5 point favorite earlier in the week. The number currently sits at between -3 at Bovada and -3.5 at other offshore shops. So something is moving the needle toward Ball State and can't imagine its an overwhelming public push that's doing it. This example also highlights the importance of line shopping for the best available number.
What's Moving The Line?
Generally, the line is moved due to the money backing a particular wager. Now, this is not to be confused with the number of bets as 10 small guys could come in and wager $100 each and be smashed by some whale that comes in and fires a $50k bomb the other way. This money can, of course, come from a slew of homer fans deciding to hammer the local college or pro team and thus eventually moving the line or it can come from smaller groups playing larger amounts. The line can also move on bets from respected individuals known as sharps. Sharps can move a line solely on their opinions that are of course backed by wagers.
What Else To Look For When Following the Money?
All line moves are not created equal. Moving the line a half-point from -42 to -42.5 when Alabama hosts Cowtown U is not nearly as significant as some other line moves. Look at the example above where the line goes from -2.5 through a key number at -3. That is a noteworthy move that is being pushed through a key number in 3. This moves means much more than a small move off of a huge number.
Big And Small: Choosing A Sportsbook
You also have to know the sport you are tracking. It's pretty easy to move a total in some small market college basketball league while it takes some serious push to move a number for a prime time NFL showdown. Take notes on what you are tracking and know your market and its flexibility.