Sports Betting Principles - Beating The Closing Line
By: SBRforum.com Staff
Whilst many people will place bets wholly dependent upon statistical data for a team or individual, crunching as many angles as possible, one of the most powerful betting tools out there involves line shopping and most importantly beating the closing line.
The closing line refers to the final, widely available line at the books before they stop taking wagers. This line is actually the most accurate representation of the ‘real value’ of the predicted outcome and it can be said that market forces have moved the line to where it should be.
Now, this movement can be attributed to a number of things. There are simple factors that are time dependent that will help read the “market movements”. The closer we are to an event the more accurately we can predict the outcome as there are either less variables involved or we know the impact of these variable. Injured players, the weather, did the star QB really send those pics etc. This makes the line move depending upon information that is important to and becomes available to the predictive model.
However, just as in the stock market, sports betting lines can be moved by investors (bettors)through the amount of money being wagered on a particular line. Just like in the stock market, bettors are seeing value in a line that they believe to be mispriced and are looking to take advantage of the opportunity while the sportsbooks are compensating and moving the line to ‘balance out the book’ and to make the price more accurately reflect the reality.
This concept is crucial to beating the closing line, what is happening here is that sportsbooks are seeing sharps or large amounts of the public (who will often follow sharps or key investors) betting a line and it is telling them something is wrong and they need to change the odds.
The sharps and the public see value in the line; they think the books have mispriced it. Their prediction gives them a different probability and therefore price on an outcome and the chance to make a winning at the expense of the books, who are just like bad investors, paying for getting it wrong.
Remember that in the world of sports betting, the books often rely on either following other line makers or on their own models (which are only ever as good as the mathematical equations) that are both subject to the information fed into them and the people running them. If they are following then their line is always behind who they are following.
For instance a professional handicapper may have predicted a probability for the specific outcome of a game and so he or she has assigned a value to that outcome (e.g. +105). Now if he or she sees that the book has assigned a different value to the line (e.g. +140) the sharp will bet this line until the book moves it to the position where their model has predicted (+105).
It is this predicted probability of an outcome that is so essential to sports betting, if you can predict outcomes with greater accuracy than the books then you can find value earlier and more confidently place money where it will win.
You can also take advantage of slowness within the market between different books, it is possible to watch a line at a book that moves faster and then use that movement to bet at a book that is slower in moving its line. In financial markets this is known as “arbitrage trading” and is known as line shopping in the sports betting world.
Sometimes of course a line will not move, the books are so happy with it that they will take action on both sides, but line volatility offers the greatest opportunity for those of you that can beat the closing line.
There are a number of ways to try to beat the closing line, you can bet the line you expect will see most action by the masses and get in early, or you can bide your time and watch which way it goes and then jump on board. Both methods, whilst they can work, are not the most effective. Of course using tools on SBR like the historic line movement of a game will maximize your chances.
The best method for beating the closing line is to create a more accurate model than the books and use your own predictions to see where the opportunity exists in the market to exploit a profit.
Not easy, but then nothing worth it in life ever is!