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SPORTSBOOK LINE MOVES

It's not surprising that most gamblers find it difficult to beat the closing line when you consider that they are betting into a very efficient market. Sometimes a bet isn't lost because it was made on the wrong team but because it was made at the wrong time.

There are many variables to consider before making a wager and one of these is line movement. Is there more value found in the opening or closing line? The obvious answer is that the closing line is harder to beat, having the benefit of sharp money and the wisdom of the crowd.

To verify this we analyzed ten years of NFL, NCAA football and NBA data as well as five years of NCAA basketball data. Are conclusion, without a doubt there is more value found in the opening line.

LINE MOVEMENT VERSUS THE OPENING POINT SPREAD

Correctly predicting the direction the line will move and betting the opener will result in a winning record against the spread.

NFL 53.03%
NCAA Football 53.71%
NBA 53.54%
NCAA Basketball 53.75%

LINE MOVEMENT VERSUS THE CLOSING POINT SPREAD

By the time many gamblers place their wagers much of the value has been bet out of the line. Using line movement as the only predictor and betting the closing line will result in a losing record against the spread.

NFL 48.78%
NCAA Football 49.26%
NBA 49.86%
NCAA Basketball 49.39%

DECREASING ODDS ON FAVORITES BUT NOT FOR THE NFL

Opening odds on favorites dropped a majority of the time for the NBA, NCAA basketball and NCAA football. This is an indicator that early and possibly sharp money is betting these opening line favorites. The opposite was true in the NFL where the data showed opening odds increased on the favorite and dropped on the underdog.

NFL 47.18%
NCAA Football 52.89%
NBA 55.78%
NCAA Basketball 52.64%

Sports bettors who have been successful against the closing line should be able to increase their edge if they bet earlier and seek out sportsbooks that are slow to move their opening line.

A slight edge can be gained betting favorites early but waiting until there are better prices on underdogs for the NBA, NCAA basketball and NCAA football. Conversely betting NFL underdogs early and favorites late is frequently the right strategy.


5Dimes Sportsbook