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Line Shopping Made Easy
by Bovada Sportsbook

When shopping for a Jag or Harley, you don't just go to one dealer and automatically pay what he's asking. You shop around; you compare prices. The same approach holds true when sports betting.

It may sound like common sense, but if you only use one sportsbook, you have no choice but to accept the line they offer (or to not bet). If you use two sportsbooks, you can compare lines and wager on the one that provides you with the best opportunity to win.

Example: The total for Game X is 43.5 at Sportsbook A and 42.5 at Sportsbook B. To bet the over, use Sportsbook B. To bet the under, use Sportsbook A.

Does a single point really matter? Yes. Estimates vary, but getting an extra half-point betters your chance of winning a wager by about 2 percent.

When is it most important to shop for a line? You should always make the effort to get the best line, but especially when you're dealing with the key numbers in football - 3 and 7 - and smaller numbers in general. In other words, the difference between a 2 and a 2.5-point line is more significant than the difference between a 22 and a 22.5-point line.

How many sportsbooks should you use? The magic number is probably somewhere between three and five books, but if you only have one account, even getting two more sets of lines to look at for every game should make a big difference to your bottom line at the end of the season.

Another factor in beating the number and boosting your win percentage is timing. Pay close attention to opening lines and which way they move before making any plays.

Example: If a line opens at -6.5 and moves to -6, you know sportsbooks are likely getting action on the underdog. If you like the favorite in that particular game, you may be better served by waiting to see if the line moves from -6 to -5.5 to -5 over the course of the day or the week.

Generally, the public prefers favorites and the over so the lines tend to move in that direction (but not all the time or books would simply raise those opening lines). Thus, the rule-of-thumb is to play favorites and overs early; underdogs and unders late.

5Dimes Sportsbook