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Betting Strategy: What Is Reverse Line Movement?

Sports betting has taken off in the last few years with more and more states legalizing the hobby. 

With that said, more and more mobile sportsbooks are being created to accommodate every new state that is entering the sports betting market. The global market is supposedly worth over $500 billion in 2022. 

Some bettors are looking for the best sports betting strategy for them and specific things that they need to follow. Well, one thing that you should keep an eye on as a bettor is the reverse line movement. 

But, what is reverse line movement? How does it help you have more successful bets? This is your guide. 

What Is the Reverse Line Movement?

Reverse line movement is essentially when a point spread moves in the opposite direction of the majority of the bets. Typically, a line moves up or down if there is a clear majority of bets on that side because the goal of sportsbooks is to try to have as much action on both sides of the betting as possible. 

For example, let’s say that the Buffalo Bills start out as a 14-point favorite against the Houston Texans. Last year, the Texans were one of the worst teams in the NFL, so public bettors were very likely to back Buffalo in that spot. 

If let’s say 60% of the public was backing Buffalo in this spot, sportsbooks would be likely to move the line up a point or two to try to get more bettors on the Texans’ side of the line. 

With reverse line movement, the line either does not move at all or goes the opposite of the majority. This is typically because “sharp” bettors are heavily backing the unpopular side. Sharp bettors are professional sports bettors that tend to make a profit on games, so sportsbooks tend to take notice when this happens. 

One big example was the 2021 SEC Championship. Georgia was 6.5-point favorites vs. Alabama and had 94% of the handle. Despite having 94% of the bets, the line never moved. In the end, Alabama won the game. 

How to Act 

So, how do you act on reverse line movement? The first thing that you need to do is pay attention to the opening lines. Take note of these numbers as soon as they come out, as that is your guide to where the action is going. 

Then, wait a day or two and see if the line shifts significantly. There are plenty of resources that allow you to see which side is getting more action on the betting line. 

If you notice that a line that has not moved yet has a very high percentage of bets on one side (think 70%+), then that could be the sign of reverse line movement. However, try not to wait too long because if the line goes up or down with this already, it may not be good value anymore at the new line.

See More Sports Betting Advice 

Reverse line movement is just one sports betting strategy that you can use to get ahead of the curve. If you know how to recognize it, you can see yourself getting handsomely rewarded. 

Do you want more sports betting advice? Sign up for this free course today. 

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