Tracking NFL Betting Line Movements
There is no doubt that when it comes to betting on sports the NFL is at the top of the list when it comes to the total amount of action it generates for sportsbooks as well as independent sports bookmakers. Most of this action is in the form a straight bets on one side of a matchup with the use of a betting line or pointspread.
What makes betting on football pointspreads so unique is that fact that they are often released well before the actual kickoff so there is plenty of time for the betting public (or insider sharps) to create movement of the actual spread based on the early action coming in.
If Dallas is favored by three points at home against Philadelphia and all the early money pours in on the Cowboys, you will probably see the betting line move to 3.5 points to help draw in some action on the Eagles. This goes on all week at every major online sportsbook out there and savvy bettors who have learned how to track these movements can often times find a book where the line has moved in their favor.
A half a point on any particular NFL game’s betting line in one direction or another can add up to millions of dollars being won or lost depending on the actual outcome of that contest. This is especially true when the pointspread centers around a common unit of scoring in football such as three points for a field goal, seven points for a touchdown or a combination of the two in a 10-point spread. In those cases, the likelihood that the actual margin of victory matches an exact spread increases dramatically.
Sometimes you need to jump on a betting line as soon as it is released if you believe in to be too high or too low, but when it comes to betting on the NFL, the professional Oddsmakers that actually set these initial pointspread know how to make them extremely sharp. You might be able to find a bad line for a Mid-Major matchup at the college level, but not when it comes to the pros given the sheer amount of volume that is wagered on each and every game.
Tracking movements across a wide selection of sportsbooks is a viable betting strategy that should be employed by anyone who is serious about betting on the games. This is not to say that you should have a betting account with 10 or 15 different books, it is more about getting a better understanding of where the betting public’s money is going and why.
It is pretty obvious to the sportsbooks that favorites on the betting line and “over” on the total line are going to bring in most of the action. So the actual edge that every bettor is looking for often times lies with the underdog and the “under” simply because it goes against the betting public’s predetermined betting rational.
The rare exception is when you see a line jump a point or more in favor of the underdog or the “under” all at once as this could signal some heavy action coming in on a favorite and/or the “over” from some sharps or other betting syndicates. Once again, this is where getting into the habit of tracking betting line movements throughout the days leading up to the games themselves should be incorporated into all of your other handicapping efforts.
The biggest benefit of tracking betting line movement is looking for the games that move in your direction. Why bet Philly plus three points if you believe by waiting you can get the extra half point. As mentioned above, this half point could easily mean all the difference in the world between cashing in on your bet or having it end up as a PUSH.