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Line Shopping In Sports Betting

Line Shopping In Sports Betting

Eric Kithinji
Eric Kithinji
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7 Min
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How Sportsbooks Set Betting Line
Why Should You Line Shop?
Where To Find The Best Betting Lines

Line shopping is one of the most important strategies to deploy in sports betting whether you are a new bettor or a seasoned veteran.

And while the avid sports bettor is already familiar with line shopping, this could be a whole new venture if you are a beginner.

Many believe that lines are more or less universal across all sportsbooks. However, that is far from the truth.

Although some sportsbooks will convey the same lines, others will have minuscule differences and there are some with vast discrepancies.

Line shopping could ultimately be the difference between being a positive or a negative sports bettor.

Whether you are wagering big money units or more modest unit sizes, it all goes not naught if you are not shopping for the best lines.

In this guide, I will review all of the ins and outs of line shopping.

How Does A Sportsbook Decide Its Lines & Odds?

Opening lines and odds are set by the bookmaker at each distinctive sportsbook.

When an oddsmaker sets its lines, there are numerous factors that will come into play.

Recent and historical trends, injuries, previous head-to-head matchups, projections, and analytics are just some of the factors oddsmakers use when setting their lines and odds.

Then, the lines and odds will shift based on factors like public perception, where the money is going, player usage, weather, injuries, and more.

What Are Las Vegas Lines?

Las Vegas is known as the home of betting. Until only the past few years, it was the only place in the United States where you can legally place a sports bet.

Vegas bookmakers would set the lines and odds for games. Thus, we have the term, Vegas Lines.

Now that sports betting is becoming legalized in different states, those states’ legal sportsbooks will open lines very similar to the ones set by Vegas for major sports like NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL.

All bookmakers will use similar handicapping methodologies when setting lines, which is why they are all fairly similar but not exactly the same.

Why Do Betting Lines Move & How Often Will It Happen?

Betting lines and odds will shift for many reasons. The most common reason why they will change pertains to the playing status of players in the game.

If a key player is up in the air to play because of an injury, their injury status could cause a shift in the odds.

What’s more, expected or unexpected inclement weather can also cause the books to react and change the lines and odds in a contest.

For example, if the Los Angeles Rams are favored to defeat the Seattle Seahawks by six points and their starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is ruled out for an injury, the odds will surely shift in Seattle’s favor.

A sharp sports bettor can also cause a sportsbook to change its lines. While sportsbooks view the public as liabilities, sharps have the ability to move lines depending on where their money is going.

Sharps are bettors that sportsbook views as profitable and successful handicappers.

If a sharp bettor wagers in a direction that is not in line with the sportsbook, the book may see this as a sign that their bookmakers are off and change their lines as a result.

Lines can move as often as they need to according to the sportsbooks. As the market fluctuates, the lines and odds will follow.

View sports betting as you would the stock market. One team could be a massive favorite on Tuesday and by the time the game kicks off on Sunday, that same team can be the underdog

Where Does Line Shopping Come Into Play?

Line shopping comes into play when you are ready to place your bet.

Whether you are a new bettor are an avid bettor, you don’t want to put yourself in a hole and give the sportsbook an even greater advantage. Line shopping is a way to give yourself the edge over the book.

While Vegas and sportsbooks are absurdly on point when putting out their lines, you will get your edge at sportsbooks that are trying to attract bettors by putting out an attractive line or if they are trying to even out the money on both sides if there is more money being wagered on one side than the other.

Is it Worth Your Time To Line Shop?

I cannot stress enough how worth it is is to line shop when you are sports betting. If you don’t, then you will surely leave money on the table.

In many cases, line shopping is the difference between winning and losing a wager. It is also the difference between being a winning (profitable) and a losing bettor.

If you believe that the Dallas Cowboys will beat the New York Giants and your research backs up your handicapping, then it would be in your best interest to shop the lines.

While at some sportsbooks, you will find the Cowboys to win by three points (-3) at (-110) odds, you may find an outlier that has Dallas to win with (-2.5) point spread at the same (-110) odds.

What is the difference? Well, if the Cowboys win by exactly three, then your bet will be a push if you took them at (-3). On the other hand, if you bet them at the sportsbooks that had the Cowboys at (-2.5), then you win your bet.

Although you may think that this will not happen and it is not worth your time, then you are dead wrong. I am being blunt for a reason.

As a seasoned sports bettor, I find discrepancies at sportsbooks multiple times a day depending on the sport and markets I am betting on.

I especially find these discrepancies when wagering on player props. You can really bang the sportsbooks by line shopping on player props. This, I promise you.

What Is The Best Way To Shop For The Best Lines?

While there are numerous ways to shop for lines, the very best way is to stay right here at and use our line shopping tools for all professional sports.

Here at BestOdds, we take lines from all of the top sportsbooks for various sports and markets and insert them into an easy-to-read table.

If you want to line shop the old-fashioned way, you can do that too by doing the leg work yourself.

The best way to do this is by visiting the different sportsbooks manually and typing your findings into a spreadsheet for each market you are researching.

Isn’t it easier to just use the tools we provide? is also less time-consuming doing it with our tools as well.

How Do I Line Shop Like A Pro Bettor?

Since there are so many different betting markets, they are all worth shopping for the best lines. This is how the world’s best sports bettors do it.

They don’t just stop at the Points Spread or the Total Points, the best bettors will even shop for Alternative Lines and Props.

If you can bet on it, then you can shop it.

All lines, odds, sports, and markets should be shopped.

You wouldn’t buy a new TV without shopping for the best price right?

Do the same when making every bet and you will be more profitable in the long run.

How Do I Line Shop For Futures Markets?

If you want additional value on futures markets, then line shopping is how you get it. Similar to player props, futures bets have a wide variance from book to book.

Because there is so much competition in the sports betting market, sportsbooks will offer better value in certain markets to attract new bettors.

Betting on futures is all about timing.

The farther the even is away, the greater your odds will be. The reason for this is that the outcome is less certain and a lot can change between the time you place the bet and the eventual outcome that can affect the odds.

For example, if you place a bet on a team to win the World Series during Spring Training, the odds will be at their best because every MLB team is technically still in the race since the season did not begin yet.

In the above scenario, there are so many unknowns and uncertainties. You can not predict which teams will make the playoffs, player personnel movements, or injuries.

And those are just some of the hurdles you deal with when betting on futures markets.

How Do I Find The Best Lines?

If you want to find the best lines, then you must do your homework and put in the work.

You must be checking all of the lines that are posted across aloof the major sportsbooks that you have an account with and even the books that you may have not joined yet.

Right here at, we offer a handy line shopping tool.

Better Line Than The One I Already Placed A Bet On?

The answer to this question is yes and no.

While you may possibly be able to find a better line than the one you had already placed a bet on, you can not change your bet once you have placed it.

If you already placed a wager and find a better line, you can use the cash-out option if your sportsbook has one. But remember, the cash-out price might be less than the bet you made.

You can also place a second bet on the better line if you are especially confident in your handicapping skills.

This is not always recommended, however. Going this route is high-risk/high-reward.


About the author

Placed his first sports wager shortly after high school, and has been involved in this whirlwind of the industry since then. Fan of most of the major ...

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