Full Steam Ahead – January 24


The steam move. The Baltimore Ravens opened as a 2.5-point favorite over the visiting Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game this Sunday. The line is now up to 3.5. What could have caused a full point move of the point spread in such a short time? Steam, that’s what.

Full Steam Ahead - January 24
Baltimore is now a 3.5-point favorite over Kansas City in the AFC title game

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a steam move in sports betting occurs when sharps, i.e. professional bettors, place a large bet or series of large bets that results in the drastic shift in a betting line. In our example, the line on the Chiefs-Ravens game only moved a point, but considering it moved a point just after opening, it’s likely the move was the result of steam.

Chasing Steam Moves

Steam moves are often done by betting syndicates. A betting syndicate is an organization of bettors that pool their resources and work together to identify advantageous betting situations in the market. These groups will often place extremely large bets. Think $50,000 and $100,000 wagers. 

A handful of $100 or even $1000 bets on a certain game won’t move the needle that much. A number of $1000 wagers on the Ravens at -2.5 isn’t enough to alert oddsmakers to shift the line or the odds. When a couple $50,000 bets come in, the alarm bells go off and oddsmakers start making changes. The steam move – the $50,000 wagers – forces the oddsmakers to adjust the line by a full point. In some cases, they may have to adjust the line even more. Remember, the goal at a sportsbook is to attract an equal amount of action on both sides of a bet.

Full Steam Ahead - January 24
Chasing steam is all about access and timing

Bettors can chase steam moves, if they are fast enough. In our example, if bettors had access to information about steam moves, they could attempt to get in line right behind the pros. If the sharps are taking the Ravens at -2.5, then the average bettor would want to follow suit and get Baltimore at -2.5. The problem is that most casual bettors don’t have access to that information and won’t be able to make that bet before the line shifts to -3.5. Timing is everything when it comes to chasing steam.

Big Day on the Leaderboard

It was a huge day at the top of my daily leaderboard yesterday. The top-3 handicappers combined to go 24-5 and earn over $1800. One of those three was our very own Sal Lombardi. Sal has been burning down the competition over the last few weeks and sits at the top of several of our leaderboards. Is he chasing steam? 

Let’s find out.

Full Steam Ahead - January 24
Was Sal chasing steam?
  • Scott’s Picks: It looks like Scott’s Picks was listening to us yesterday when we talked about the decision to take the points. Scott’s Picks took the points on a few underdogs yesterday and came up with nine wins out of ten picks. With $790 in winnings, Scott’s Picks was our daily leader yesterday.
  • Sal: Good ‘ole Sal Lombardi is beating up the books. Yesterday, Sal went 9-3 and earned $605. Here’s how hot Sal is. Whether he’s chasing steam or not…who knows? For the last seven days, Sal is up a ridiculous $2265! He tops the 7-day leaderboard, the 14-day leaderboard, the 7-day NBA leaderboard, and he’s third on the overall 30-day leaderboard. Damn Sal!
  • Sports Central: Did Sports Central see a steam move on Missouri-Texas A&M? SC took the 11.5 points for the win, which was one of six yesterday. SC went 6-1 and took home $410.
  • Sports Hub guys: Rounding out the top-5 were two Sports Hub expert handicappers – Mike Kelly and Jimmy Liu. Both went 3-0 and won $300. Jimmy is 29-16 over the last two weeks and has added $1030 to his bankroll.

You’re Fired! Bucks Coach Out

Imagine being the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. You’ve taken over a team that has won five consecutive division titles and is currently 30-13. Your team is in second place in the Eastern Conference and getting ready to play Cleveland tonight. But wait, you won’t be coaching. That’s because the Bucks fired you!

Yep, Adrian Griffin is out after less than a year with Milwaukee. He took over for Mike Budenholzer, who was given the boot after Milwaukee took a quick exit out of last year’s playoffs. Griffin’s firing is the big trending news.

But wait, there’s more.

  • Bucks: Reportedly, the Bucks are eyeing Doc Rivers as a potential replacement for Griffin. Rivers, who has 25 years of NBA head coaching experience, has one NBA title to his name. He was the Sixers head coach the last three seasons. Philly lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals three years in a row.
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Voting for this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame class took place yesterday and three of the best ever will be inducted. Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer, and Todd Helton will join manager Jim Leyland as inductees in 2024.
  • Hoskins to Brewers: Rhys Hoskins, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, has signed with Milwaukee. Hoskins played his entire six-year MLB career in Philadelphia. 
  • Protest: The Portland Trail Blazers will protest their 111-109 loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. Portland head coach Chauncey Billups called a timeout prior to Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon being called for a double dribble. The timeout was not awarded and Billups ended up receiving two technical fouls.

Any Steam Moves Tonight?

If you’re checking the action for tonight, it’s possible you could find a steam move. If you can make the bet fast enough, it might be worth a shot to chase it. Regardless, there is plenty to bet on tonight. There’s a full slate of college basketball games to choose from. With all the NBA and NHL props in addition to the traditional bets, betting boards will be full.

Here’s a look at what you might find tonight.

  1. NHL: There are seven games on the ice tonight. Edmonton is off after winning its 14th straight game last night. The Oilers beat Columbus 4-1. 
  2. NBA: Look for steam among the eight NBA games tonight. It’s an ABC/ESPN doubleheader. Phoenix is at Dallas on ABC at 8:30 p.m. and Oklahoma City is at San Antonio at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.
  3. NCAAB: It’s another big night in college basketball. Oklahoma and Kentucky were the ranked teams that got beat last night. Seven ranked teams play tonight, including No. 8 Auburn which is on the road against in-state rival Alabama.
  1. Soccer: None of the world’s top leagues play today, but there are several matches all over the globe. There are numerous matches in the South American pro leagues today.
  2. Tennis: The Australian Open continues. A men’s quarterfinal featuring Carlos Alcaraz is being played right now. The women’s semifinals are set and start tomorrow.
  3. Golf: The Farmers Insurance Open starts today at Torrey Pines in LaJolla, California. Max Homa won the event last year.

If you can figure out how to chase steam and pull the trigger fast enough, by all means do so. If you can’t figure it out, stay right here at Sports Hub and chase our expert handicappers. All they do is win! Search the picks database throughout the day and tail some of the best sports handicappers in the world. Who needs steam when you’ve got the experts at Sports Hub?!