How and Why the Line Moves: Insight From Professional Bettor Anthony Best

Home » How and Why the Line Moves: Insight From Professional Bettor Anthony Best

When sportsbooks initially release their betting lines, they rely on a mix of secret and sophisticated qualitative and quantitative methods to set both the lines and their associated odds. Yet, what prompts these odds to shift after their release?

Understanding the dynamics behind line movement can be complex.

To shed light on this, we consulted Anthony Best, a seasoned professional handicapper, to gain deeper insights into the methods bookmakers use to set their odds and strategies to outsmart them. Surprisingly, the true drivers behind these changes are not always what one might expect.

Mastering the Basics: How Bookmakers Set and Adjust Lines

Understanding the bookmakers’ objectives in setting lines is crucial before delving deeper. Bookmakers aim for balance, trying to attract equal bets on both sides to minimize risk and secure their profit from the vigorish (vig), typically around 5-10%.

Setting the Perfect Line

In an ideal scenario, bookmakers seek to balance betting on both sides to simply collect the vig without taking any risks. However, achieving this balance is rare, leading bookmakers to employ tactics to encourage equal wagering.

Why Lines Move: The Principles of Supply and Demand

Bookmakers adjust lines based on supply (betting volume) and demand. If one side of a bet is lacking action, they will modify the odds to make it more appealing, thus balancing the betting.

For example, to increase bets on a favorite, they might change the spread from -7.5 to -6.5. Conversely, if there’s too much action, they might shift the spread to make the bet less appealing.

Insider Insights From Pro Bettor Anthony Best

In a detailed discussion edited for clarity, Anthony Best reveals the nuances of how lines are set and manipulated:

SBD Interview with Anthony Best

SBD: Anthony, could you explain how betting lines move and how professionals like you manage to outmaneuver bookmakers?

AB: Initially, bookmakers claim they aim to make a 10% vig by balancing the action. They assert they are neutral to the outcome. However, the reality is more complex, as they do attempt to outsmart bettors when the action isn’t balanced.

The Real Game: Manipulating the Line

According to Best, bookmakers and linesmakers use a mix of statistical analysis and handicapping to set the initial lines. Professional bettors, who often have unique methods and insights, look for value in these lines early on, influencing initial adjustments.

Media and public opinion also play significant roles, swaying the public betting closer to the game day, which in turn, further moves the line.

Final Thoughts: How Professional Bettors Use This Knowledge

Understanding line movement is crucial for advanced betting strategies. Professionals like Best often bet against public sentiment to secure more favorable odds, a tactic that can be likened to strategic investments in the stock market.

Leveraging Line Movement for Betting Success

By understanding the intricacies of how lines are adjusted, bettors can better anticipate changes and strategically place their bets to maximize returns. This knowledge is not only useful for high-level arbitrage betting but also essential for intermediate bettors looking to enhance their betting strategies.

For those interested in a deeper dive into how sports betting parallels financial market strategies, our extended article compares the dynamics of sports betting to stock market movements.

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