Becoming a profitable sports bettor is an incredibly difficult task. Many of the smartest minds in sports can’t turn a profit regularly.
With how difficult it is to get even half of your bets right, you need to take advantage where you can. You can guarantee yourself the best possible payouts through line shopping, which is what this guide will teach you all about.
What is line shopping?
Line shopping is simply searching across multiple online sportsbooks to find the best odds. You can easily compare odds across all sports betting sites either by manually checking yourself or using our Texas sportsbook odds table to see live results.
To put this in motion, you must sign up for an account at multiple sportsbooks. When you are ready to place a bet, check every book at which you have an account for the best possible return. Even the difference between -115 odds and -105 odds is worth it to you.
It seems like a small difference, but a $100 bet at -115 means winnings of $86.96. Then, a $100 winning bet at -105 would give you $95.24. That’s a 9.5% increase in your winnings. This can make a significant difference in your bankroll.
Is line shopping worth it?
For bettors who are taking this seriously, odds shopping is absolutely worth it. Even if you are just a casual bettor and not risking large sums of money, why not receive the best return possible?
There is no downside to line shopping, and those who are in this business for a living may have eyes on the odds as their full-time job. They’ll wait for lines to hit a certain spot and then go after that particular wager.
For example, with a sport like football where key numbers are incredibly important, shopping for odds is essential. By “key numbers,” we mean the numbers by which teams are likely to win. They are incredibly valuable in whether you win or lose a bet.
When you’re betting NFL point spreads, many games are won or lost by seven or three points based on how football’s scoring system works. Therefore, if you see a team is a three-point underdog with one operator and a 3.5-point underdog at another, that extra half-point is extremely valuable. It is oftentimes the difference between winning and losing bets.
What’s the best way to shop for sportsbook lines?
First, download the various Texas sportsbook apps (once legal) and register for an account with each of them. With regulated sports betting, it has become incredibly easy to sign up for such accounts. But customer service reps should be available if you have any questions during that process.
From there, this is a great page to bookmark, as you can watch the odds moving in real-time, and compare sports lines before deciding on your bet.
What’s the most important bet type to shop for?
All three main bet types—moneylines, spreads, and totals—are important to shop for. With all of them, get yourself the best possible numbers and payouts. However, many people believe the key numbers (three and seven) in football are where you want to take advantage of line shopping the most.
A basketball team favored by 2.5 points is nowhere near as valuable as a football team favored by 2.5 points because of how the scoring works in both sports. Tons of games end with a three-point deficit, so if your side wins by a field goal, your bet is a winner.
This is also the case with point totals. You would be surprised how often the total number of points scored lands on specific numbers. These are not always as reliable as betting key numbers on point spreads, but 41 is an especially important number in football totals because of the different combinations of ways two teams can land at that point total.
If you want to take the under in a game with the point total set at 41, it might make sense to shop the lines and wait for the number to move to 41.5 potentially. That way, when the total number of points in the game finishes at 41, you have a winning bet.
Line shopping for futures
Line shopping in sports betting is valuable for futures bets as well. There could be significant variance across the sportsbooks for outcomes that could be months away.
Bettors may have their strategies for betting which team will win the upcoming Super Bowl, but many believe it is best to wait for the last possible second to place that wager. If you place that bet too early, so much can happen (injuries and trades) that can make your Super Bowl bet far less valuable.
When you have as much information as possible available to you, that is when you can take a look across the various sportsbooks available and place your wager at the book that is offering you the greatest return on your investment.
Can I get a better line on a bet I’ve already made?
Unfortunately, no. When you lock in a bet, you are stuck with that number. Doing your own research before the lines are released can be extremely valuable. When the numbers are released, you can jump on that number immediately before the market adjusts. This is where a lot of the best sports bettors in the world can find an advantage over the rest of the betting public.
If you missed the initial rush when the lines were released, you could wait and see if the number gets back to where you could’ve gotten it initially. If it fails to get there, it might be best to stay away from that wager.
How do I find the best lines?
You can find the best lines by visiting our site and checking out the various odds feeds that will be available 24/7. Here, you can monitor the lines from several different sportsbooks all in one place. Watching the odds move at the right time could play a significant role in whether you win or lose a bet.
Can I set my own lines at some sportsbooks?
There are certain scenarios where you will be able to set your own lines, but it will come at a cost. For example, if the Dallas Cowboys are seven-point favorites in an upcoming matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, you may want to get that line down to 6.5 because of the importance of that extra half-point in football. There’s always that likelihood of the deficit finishing at seven points.
You can go into the app of an operator like BetMGM Sportsbook and find alternate lines too. This is referred to as “buying points.” While you have a greater chance at picking a winner, the amount of money you would receive with a winning bet is smaller. It is up to you to determine whether utilizing that strategy is worth the change in payout.
How do sportsbooks set odds?
Sportsbook odds are set by people who put together advanced mathematical line-setting formulas. Just about any statistic you can think of is accounted for. This is a big reason why sportsbooks have a tremendous advantage over the bettors. They have tons and tons of data at their disposal and can identify betting trends with their sports betting models.
What’s the difference between Vegas odds and Texas odds?
Even if you are relatively new to sports betting, you’ve probably still heard of “Vegas odds.” That is because Las Vegas, Nevada, was one of the few locations where sports betting was legal until 2018 when the federal government left the matter up to the states.
In the current landscape, Vegas odds are no longer so central. With the number of states that offer sports betting legally now, Vegas odds are synonymous with Texas odds because top-of-the-line odds can be generated in any state that offers legalized sports betting.
Regardless of where the odds are coming from, you should be shopping for the best betting lines and maximizing your payouts every time you place a wager.
Are all sportsbooks’ odds equal?
No, and that’s the point of line shopping. Though the lines at major sportsbooks will be similar, they can vary slightly. And why? The oddsmakers at each operation could be seeing the outcome of the game slightly differently, or the book is reacting to what the betting public is doing with its wagers.
Why and how often do lines move?
For many sporting events, the initial numbers will change by game time. This is especially the case in NFL betting. Pro football is king in United States sports betting, and sportsbooks need to react to what the bettors are doing with their action.
Bettor behavior is one of the significant reasons lines move leading up to game time. The sportsbooks put a tremendous amount of research into setting the numbers for point spreads and totals to induce equal action on each side.
Having said that, when lines are released and bettors are hammering one side of the wager at a 90% rate, that is when oddsmakers will adjust their numbers. The goal is to entice bettors to take the side that is only getting 10% of the bets placed on it. Sportsbooks do not want to be in a position of high liability if the outcome does not go their way. Moving the numbers around is a fantastic way for them to minimize risk.
The odds and lines may change for other reasons too. For example, if the star quarterback is ruled out for the game after suffering an injury during practice, sportsbooks will certainly adjust their lines. Even weather could play a significant role in adjusting odds and lines.