It doesn’t matter whether you are a novice bettor just learning the ropes or a serious bettor who has been in the industry for 20+ years, losing a bet by half a point is the most frustrating way to lose. Depending who you talk to, some say that if your bet loses by half a point, it is the bettors fault for not buying points and moving the line. By buying points, you are helping yourself get the best number possible, especially when you are moving the line through key numbers in football or basketball. Doing this can turn a push or loss into a win more often than you can imagine.
What Does Move the Line Mean?
When you hear a bettor talking about “moving the line” they are referring to an action they take in order to secure an extra half point or full point in his favor on the point spread of a particular game. For example, if a bettor wants to bet the Saints on the point spread at -3.5, they may buy a half or full point in order to get the Saints at -3, or -2.5. Of course, the bettor must pay a premium price in return for lowering the spread. The term “move the line” can also be referred to as “buying points”.
Why Would a Bettor Move the Line?
Since you can only move the line on the point spread, this leaves us with two sports that allow such action – basketball and football. Football is the sport that moving the line makes the most sense for because it has three key numbers that are crucial when talking about the most common margin of victory. These numbers are three, four and seven. Let’s use the Saints as an example once again. If they are three-point favorites over the Buccaneers, a three-point win would be a push and you would get your money back. By buying half a point, you would move the line to Saints -2.5 which means that same three-point win would now cash your ticket. The same thing can be done if you like the underdog. Buy a half point up from -3, to -3.5 and three-point Bucs loss would be a winning ticket.
Is Moving the Line Worth It?
When the right opportunity presents itself, then yes moving the line is completely worth it. However, your bankroll must be big enough to accommodate paying the extra juice to get a better number. Typically, point spreads are lined at -110, meaning you need to bet $110 to win $100. By improving the line, you would likely need to risk around $115 or $120 in order to profit $100.
If you are a bettor who is just starting out, I would suggest being cautious when moving the line. Moving the line when the point spread doesn’t involve a key number is the biggest mistake you can make since you will be paying a premium for an uncommon margin victory. Secondly, moving the line should be the last resort. Often times, if you shop around hard enough and have a few different sportsbooks to place a bet at, you will find the line you are looking for.
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