If you have been betting on sports for long you have seen betting lines change. This is especially true in the NFL when lines are set early in the week and close just before kickoff on Sunday, or whenever the game is being played.

Is there any way to take advantage of changing betting lines?

## Why Do Lines Move?

There are two main reasons betting lines move. The first reason is personnel changes. The second reason is there has been too much action on one side of the game and the sports books are trying to even out how much is wagered on both sides.

When a star player gets hurt or isn’t going to play for any other reason it can change the line on a game. The problem with this is you may not know about an injury or other issues. So you may see a line change but not know why until the opening kickoff when you learn a player is out.

Sports books like to have roughly the same amount of money wagered on both sides of a game so they have a certain amount of profit locked in. In a perfect world for the sports book the amount of money bet on each side of every game would be exactly equal.

For example, if you bet \$220 to win \$200 on team abc and I bet \$220 to win \$200 on their opponent, team xyz, the sports book will win \$20 no matter who wins. When you win you collect your original \$220 and my \$200, but the book keeps my \$20. The same is true when I win, with the book keeping your \$20.

## Betting Both Sides

Sometimes a betting line will move so much that you have the opportunity to bet on both sides of the same game. On the surface this seems like a sure way to make money, but let’s take a closer look and see if this is a betting tactic that you should consider.

For example, you place a \$110 to win \$100 bet on Monday on the Colts who are getting 6 points from the Bills. On Saturday the line has moved to the Colts getting 3 points. So you bet on the Bills on Saturday, giving 3 points, also at \$110 to win \$100. If the Bills win by 4 or 5 you will win both sides of the bet and collect \$200 profit.

That sounds pretty good. But what happens when the Bills lose, or win by a different amount? If the Bills lose, you win \$100 on the Colts bet but lose \$110 on the Bills bet, for a total loss of \$10.

The question you have to answer is if the Bills will win by 4 or 5 enough times to make up for all of the times they don’t. I usually do bet both sides when I have the opportunity for two reasons. The first reason is that the sports books are pretty good at setting lines and these games often end up close to where they are supposed to. I expect the example above to end up with the Bills winning by 3 to 6 points enough of the time for it to be profitable in the long run.

The other reason is because something has happened for the line to move that much and by taking the other side I have limited my exposure. In other words, I have hedged my bet.

Many professional sports bettors don’t place bets early in the week like I described in the example. They don’t want to place any wagers until they have as much information as they can possibly gather. Then they place their bets just before the game starts.

This is a smart way to bet on sports, but you should also look for early week lines that can offer value. It shouldn’t matter to you when the bets are placed, as long as they offer a positive betting opportunity.

You can also shop lines from different sports books to find lines that may offer a chance to bet on both sides. When you do find these opportunities they usually only offer a single point in the middle, like moving from 4.5 to 5.5. This makes it hard to profit from them in the long run.

## Conclusion

Learning why sports betting lines move is the first step in finding ways to use them to make more money. Keep an eye out for opportunities to bet both sides on games that look like they will provide long term profits.

But remember that your ultimate goal is to turn a long term profit. Don’t fall into the trap of placing too many early week (or otherwise advanced) wagers just to try to find more opportunities to bet both sides of a game. Unless you can turn a consistent profit placing early bets without betting both sides of games you shouldn’t place early wagers.

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