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· It is a common strategy of profitable bettors to place their wagers early in the week: the closer a game gets to kickoff, the more accurate the game line.

· The Closing Line refers to the line offered immediately prior to kickoff. This line will be the most finely tuned, and is quite difficult to find an edge versus. 

· If a line has not moved despite a majority of bets being placed on one team, be reluctant in backing the public side. 

• New users who bet $10 or more at BetMGM will receive a free year’s subscription to PFF+ — a $79.99 value.

Estimated reading time: 5 mins


In the latest chapter of PFF’s NFL Betting 101 series, we explain a number of red flags that might indicate a bettor is making a bad wager, and conversely, highlight a few signs that bettors can look for that can help them be profitable over the long haul.

Understanding Line Movement

· In the lead-up to a game’s kickoff, lines on the game are fluid. Oddsmakers reserve the right to alter any offering on a game as they see fit. Any change to the line on a game is referred to as Line Movement.

There are two main reasons why a sportsbook will move a line:

There is a disproportionate amount of money on one side 

· In an effort to mitigate risk of their own, oddsmakers often alter a game’s spread or total when one side is being bet more than another. Line movement, however, is not a linear function to percentage of bets/money on either side. Sportsbooks are usually cognizant of action taken by professional bettors, and such action is typically more influential in oddsmaker’s decisions to shift lines on a contest. 

· Information regarding the proportion of bets on any side are made available by sportsbooks. Subsequently, we can glean information as to what professional bettors have wagered on.

New information has been made available

· The influence of information is crucial in determining what a game’s line should be. Oddsmakers discern a value to all key players in football, and a surprise absence to such players will necessitate a reevaluation as to what the line on a game should be. 

· Additionally, an unlikely weather forecast will tend to alter the over-under line of a game. For example, an impending blizzard would project for fewer points to be scored. 

Key Terms Regarding Line Movement

Closing Line

· The Closing Line refers to the line offered immediately prior to kickoff. This line will be the most finely tuned, and is quite difficult to find an edge versus. 

Bet Up vs. Bet Down

· When a line is Bet Upit means that a team is now favored by more than the initial offering, or that the total for the game has increased. A game’s line being referred to as Bet Down suggests the opposite of this. 

Reverse Line Movement

· Reverse line movement is when a line moves away from the side receiving the majority of bets. Such line movement indicates that professional bettors have contrarily invested on the less popular pick, and typically indicates an error in public perception as to how a game will play out. 

Closing Line Value (CLV)

· Closing Line Value is the difference between the closing line and the line taken by a sports bettor. Positive CLV refers to when an individual gets a better number on a game than the line just prior to kickoff, and should be interpreted as an advantage gained over the sportsbooks. 

Losing Betting Strategies

· It is necessary to preface this section by stating that oddsmakers know what they are doing, and there is no such thing as a ‘lock’ when it comes to sports betting. Casual bettors often trick themselves into believing they can beat the system, and the sportsbooks prey on such foolishness.

Poor Timing

· It is a common strategy of profitable bettors to place their wagers early in the week. As mentioned, the closer a game gets to kickoff, the more accurate the line of the game will be.

· Consequently, it is bad practice to place wagers minutes before kickoff. It is unreasonable to assume that one would have an advantage versus the closing line, and over the long term the bettor will not profit.

Betting with The Public

· It is not uncommon to have the most frequently bet and most heavily bet sides of a game differ. This phenomenon leads to the previously discussed Reverse Line Movement, and is typically an indication that professionals have bet in opposition of the public.

· Sportsbooks usually release data regarding how a game is being bet. Such information can assist keen bettors in anticipating line movement, and in identifying which side professional bettors are backing.

· If a line has not moved despite a majority of bets being placed on one team, be reluctant in backing the public side. 

Chasing Lost CLV

· Be cautious in betting on a game because of prior line movement. Knowing that a line has moved because of professional money is useful, but backing the professional side after the line change is not a profitable strategy. 

· Just because bettors identified value in one number, it does not mean that the closing line is still the ‘sharp’ side. 

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