What is reverse line movement?
So what is reverse line movement? This is the best way I can explain it. In the sports betting world, there are really two kinds of books, market making books (BetCris, Pinnacle, 5Dimes) and nonsense books (Bovada, MyBookie, William Hill). The market makers generally take high limits from anyone on the planet and the nonsense books take bets from guys like you. Once you have proven you can beat the nonsense book, you will be severely limited or banned all together. This is important because you need to know what books to look at for movement.
The market makers are the ones that actually set the lines and let their customers hammer the lines into shape by price discovery. They set low limits on the opening lines and then move them based on what they think of the customers that bet the games. For example, let’s say you see the NFL lines for the next week come up at BetCris on Sunday Night, and you see the Dallas Cowboys opened at -7. Then Monday morning you open your BetCris app and see the Cowboys are -7.5. That is a good indication that somebody, or a few somebodies, BetCris respects took the Cowboys because they adjusted their line. After the price discovery is done, the nonsense books come out with their lines which are exact copies of the market makers.
So what is reverse line movement?
You should really only monitor the market makers for reverse line movement. When you do that you will sometimes notice that the lines move the opposite way you think they would. For instance, let’s say the Dallas Cowboys are playing the Detroit Lions and the Cowboys are favored by 7 points. You see that 75% of the bets have come in on the Cowboys but the line has moved from them being favored by 7 points to now only 6. That move makes no sense. It can mean that a highly respected bettor (“sharp”) took the Lions at +7 since the book adjusted. That is basically what reverse line movement is.
Is reverse line movement a foolproof sports betting strategy?
Short answer, God no. There is no foolproof betting strategy. No matter what strategy you employ, you are going to lose bets. That’s a fact. Here are just a couple disadvantages to using Reverse Line Movement as a sports betting strategy:
- Fees – In order to get the betting data you need, you will have to pay for it and the fees at some of these providers are extremely high. If you are a recreational bettor (pretty much everybody), then you are already operating on tight margins as it is. You simply can’t afford to spend $500 a month on line monitoring services.
- Head Fakes – Since there are lower limits on the opening lines, you may see cases where the line moves one way early in the week and then the other way later in the week. That’s called a “head fake”. For example, in the Cowboys/Lions example from earlier, a Dallas Cowboys move from -7 to -7.5 on Monday could mean that the bettor wants the Lions at +7.5 or higher. He bets a low limit bet on the Cowboys on Monday, only to bet a higher limit bet on the Lions later in the week at a better number. As some jabroni following lines moves, you don’t know the difference.
How do you use reverse line movement?
Reverse line movement is not foolproof but it is also not worthless. The first thing I do in the mornings is check to see if there are any cases at market making books. When I find a case of reverse line movement, I simply put that game at the top of my list to handicap. I google the teams to see if there is any news that might affect the line and then I go through my routine of handicapping the game. I am basically looking for any red flags that might alert me to why the line would move in the first place. Once I figure out what is going on, I determine whether it is worth betting on. Most of the time, there is nothing but in sports like the NFL, there are times where reverse line movement alerted me to a good bet.