Line Movement – Read It and Win


If you have some patience and discipline, understanding line movement will carry you a long way in the world of sports betting. For too many sports bettors out there, it’s just open the sportsbook and blindly place some bets on popular games or on teams you like. That is a recipe for disaster. Then, you wonder why you’re constantly making deposits to your sportsbook.

Line Movement - Read It and Win
Reading line movement has its advantages.

The ability to spot line movement and then dissect why it happened is a skill that takes time to develop. It’s not easy, but when you learn what to look for and the why behind the line movement, you’ll notice that you’ll win more bets than you lose. So, what is line movement and how can you use it to your advantage?

Line Movement – The Basics

Betting line movement can take a few different forms. A change in either the moneyline odds or an actual point spread is often referred to as line movement. Let’s look at an example.

  • New Orleans +700
  • Oklahoma City -1200

These are the moneyline odds for tonight’s NBA playoff game. Let’s say that the Pelicans announced that Zion Williamson would be playing tonight. New Orleans would stand a much better chance of winning. Oddsmakers shift the odds to the following.

  • New Orleans +185
  • Oklahoma City -175

This is an example of line movement. Something happened and oddsmakers and sportsbooks were forced to move the line on the game. The same can happen with a point spread. We’ll stick with the same game for an example.

  • New Orleans +7.5 (-110)
  • Oklahoma City -7.5 (-110)

Tonight’s Pelicans-Thunder game actually opened with a point spread of 8.5. We have seen line movement already which has brought the spread down to 7.5. There could be even more line movement prior to tonight’s game. What causes that line movement?

Causes of Line Movement

Oddsmakers play a key role in the operation of a sportsbook. They attempt to set odds and lines so that they get an equal amount wagered on both sides of a bet. Then, they are guaranteed to make money. It is up to the individual sportsbook (and oddsmakers if they employ them) to take care of any line movement. 

A number of factors can influence either a point spread shift, moneyline shift, or odds shift on a given game. Injuries always play a huge role. A few years ago, QB Deshaun Watson suffered a serious knee injury in a practice during the week. There was huge line movement in the betting markets for that game as a result.

Line Movement - Read It and Win
Injuries are one of the big things that influence betting line changes.

Weather can also play a role. Look up the Patriots-Bill “wind game” which was played on a Monday night a few years ago. There were 40 mph winds in the forecast and oddsmakers were right on top of the odds and betting lines. There was significant line movement in the game total. It closed under 40 and the final score was 14-10 with the Patriots picking up the win.

Too much money on one side of a bet will also cause line movement. Oddsmakers will try to encourage bettors to wager on the other side by shifting the betting lines. 

Our Cappers Understand Line Movement

Ask any of Sports Hub’s elite handicappers and they will tell you that reading line movement is a key to their successes. Yesterday, Scott’s Picks was back in the thick of the action and ended up our top dog with $351 in profits. Scott’s Picks won five of seven picks and you can bet reading line movement played a role in at least one of those predictions.

Let’s look at the rest of our top cappers from yesterday.

  • Beam Scotty up: Scott’s Picks is back again. This time, he takes the top spot on the board with a 5-2 record and $351 in winnings. Keep an eye on Scott’s Picks if you’re betting the NBA this week. Over the last five days, Scott is 7-1 with $590 in profits on his NBA picks.
  • Ack, Ack, Ack: Yes, he’s b-Ack again! James Acker put together another 3-0 day and won $305 this time. Over the last three days, James now has $585 in profits. He is our No. 1 basketball handicapper over the last seven days. He’s earned $480 on his basketball picks this week.
Line Movement - Read It and Win
Top 3 basketball handicappers at Sports Hub over the last three days.
  • Big Dickelman: Randall Dickelman hit five of his seven picks yesterday and won $300 to claim the third spot on yesterday’s leaderboard. He’s also earned $585 in profits over the last three days.
  • Knup Sports: The boys at Knup Sports put 16 picks into the database yesterday. They were correct on 10 of them and collected $293 in profits as a result.
  • Experts tie: Three of our Sports Hub experts each went 3-1 yesterday. Robert Jones ended up with $220 in winnings and Robert Ferguson and Sean Kuchman each cleared $205. Robert Ferguson is one to watch for NBA picks. He’s up $485 over the last seven days and $615 overall over the last week. Sean is in our Top 3 on the 7-day hockey leaderboard. He’s earned $520 on NHL picks.

It’s Playoff Time!

It’s an exciting time of year. We’ve got the NBA playoffs and the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs going on right now. The NFL draft is a couple days away and baseball is ready to take us into the summer. 

What’s great about this time of year is that it gives us plenty of trending news. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Mavs win: Luka Doncic had 32 points to lead Dallas to a 96-93 win over the LA Clippers last night. The win evened up the series at 1-1. Game 3 is in Dallas on Friday night. Kawhi Leonard did play for the Clippers. He had just 15 points in 35 minutes.
  • Daniels over Maye: It appears that Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels has overtaken Drake Maye in the race for the No. 2 pick in Thursday night’s NFL draft. The Washington Commanders hold the second pick and for months it was thought they would select Maye, the former North Carolina QB. Now, it looks like the Commanders are going to go with Daniels who threw for 3,812 yards and 40 TDs for LSU last year.
  • Speaking of the Heisman: Guess who is getting his Heisman Trophy back? That’s right. Reggie Bush. The Heisman Trust announced on Wednesday that Bush will be reinstated as the winner of the 2005 Heisman Trophy.
  • No-vechkin: Alexander Ovechkin does not have a point and the Washington Capitals are now trailing in their opening playoff series against the New York Rangers. The Rangers won 4-3 last night to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Ovechkin, who scored 30-plus goals for the 18th time this season, has been held scoreless so far.

More Playoff Basketball and Hockey Tonight

Tonight’s schedule is heavy on the NBA and NHL playoffs. There is a full lineup of MLB games for bettors to choose from. There is actually some pretty good Premier League soccer today and the Madrid Open (tennis) continues today in Spain. There’s enough out there to keep even the casual bettor busy.

Here’s what’s on the sports schedule today.

  1. NBA twin bill: There are just two games tonight in the NBA playoffs. The Miami Heat get another crack at the Boston Celtics and New Orleans will try to steal a game on the road against Oklahoma City. The home teams won Game 1 and both are favored to win Game 2. Checking line movement could help you find tonight’s best bet. Or you just go to the Sports Hub members area and tail our best NBA cappers.
  2. Stanley Cup playoffs: There are three NHL playoff games tonight. ESPN has a doubleheader with Boston-Toronto and Vegas-Dallas. The Kings-Oilers game is on TBS at 10:00 p.m.
  1. Another day at the park: All 30 MLB teams play again today. We kick it off in the afternoon with Arizona at St. Louis. San Diego-Colorado at 8:40 p.m. ends the day’s play. Cleveland hosts Boston as the Guardians try to win their sixth game in a row.
  2. Weekday soccer: There are four Premier League matches today in England. There are also three Ligue 1 matches in France. The Columbus Crew host Monterrey in a CONCACAF Champions Cup match. Check the Sports Hub members area for soccer picks. Geovanny Araya is our top soccer capper and you can search for others.
  3. Tennis: Round 1 of the Mutua Madrid Open is today for both the men and the women. 

Look for Line Movement Tonight

Hopefully, you looked at lines last night and got a jump on today’s picks. When you look again today, look for line movement and then try and determine why the line shifted. Doing so could help you capitalize on a huge bet tonight. 

As always, you can visit the Sports Hub members area and search through our picks database to find the best picks for tonight’s games. Remember, James Acker has been hot these past few days and he’s our No. 1 basketball handicapper over the last week. Check him out before you bet on tonight’s NBA playoff games.