While this page lists the odds on today’s matchups we also have several pages of futures for those of you interested.
I know you have to wait a long time to get your money on these wagers, but futures can be profitable if you know what you are doing.
How Sportsbooks Set the Lines
There is no doubt that the odds makers at the top online sportsbooks have great jobs, but it’s also a stressful career. They have to make sure that their betting lines are an accurate reflection of the public’s perception or else they could quickly find themselves out on the street. There are still people out there who think that the bookie’s job is to pull the wool over players’ eyes and try to win their money. However, the books just want to grind away their profit with the juice. Let’s take a look at how they do that when setting the odds.
Las Vegas sportsbooks and online shops alike pay close attention to the opening numbers released by the Las Vegas Sports Consultants. LVSC is a private company that provides a service of setting the odds for casinos.
However, the books will also take into account their customers’ habits as well. If the client base is full of recreational bettors you will see the totals shaded towards the over and the point spreads towards the favorites. That means if a total is set at 48, a recreational book might set their total at 49.
Why the Lines Move
Once the lines are released the odds makers job is not over. Injuries and changes in coaching strategies can cause the numbers to be updated. The book has to adapt as new information comes forward.
The book wants balance action on the game. This way the winners get paid by the losers and the sportsbook collects their profit from the vig. This rarely works out perfectly, but a decent sized book will get enough action on both sides where they won’t take a beating if one side beats the other.
If the action gets unbalanced enough, the lines maker will move the line. This can mean moving the spread or total by a half a point, or the money line is adjusted. Some places even change the juice on the point spread, so if a favorite at -3 -110 is taking a lot of money the book will adjust to -3 -120.
Profiting From Movement in the Odds
You can use these line movements to increase your profits. It’s easier to do when you have a lot of time between the release of the line and start of the game. In football, the betting public tends to pile money in on their favorite teams once they get off work on Fridays so if you anticipate the line moves coming at these times you can take advantage.
Another way to use line movements to your advantage is through middling. Let’s say it’s Tournament time and the first round has LSU taking on Arizona. LSU is an early 6-point favorite and the line moves to -8 later in the week. Well now you can take Arizona +8 and hope that the game ends with LSU winning between six and eight points. If it’s six or eight, you get a win and a push, but if it’s by seven, you win both of your bets. Any other result only creates a loss of the vig.
Understanding Money Line Bets
Money line bets are typically misunderstood by the beginner, but they are not that tough to get a hold of. Instead of having to pick a winner against the spread, you simply pick the winner of the game.
Boxing, tennis, baseball, auto racing, hockey and soccer are the six biggest money line sports. While there are margins of victory in baseball, hockey and soccer, they are so small that it would be too difficult to come up with a point spread for every game. That’s why run lines and puck lines might adjust the score by 1.5, but there is still a money line that goes with those numbers.
Let’s just take a look at an example of a baseball money line to show you how it works.
- New York Yankees +120
- Los Angeles Dodgers -130
The Dodgers are the favorites and the Yankees are the underdogs in this example. The favorite is signified by the – (minus) written in front of the 130, while the underdog is given a + (plus) sign in front of the 120. If you are wanting to bet the Dodgers, then you will be risking $130 for every $100 you win. If you want to bet the Yankees, then you will be wagering $100 to get back $120.
The money line is usually pretty small in baseball, but it can be much bigger in other sports such as boxing and Tennis. Floyd Mayweather, who has yet to lose a fight in his career, is going to be a massive favorite over almost anyone he faces. Let’s just give an example of how a boxing money line would work in a Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao battle.
- Floyd Mayweather (-500)
- Manny Pacquiao (+375)
In this instance, you would be betting $500 to win $100 on Mayweather. If you like Pacquiao, then you will be betting $100 to win $375 on him, which is meant to entice action on the underdog because of the much bigger return.
Oddsmakers understand that the general public is going to want to bet the favorite more times than not. That makes it imperative for them to set the price on the favorite as high as possible to try and draw equal action on both sides. If they have $5,000 wagered on Mayweather, then that means they need to have at least $1,000 wagered on Pacquiao to make sure that they don’t lose money. If Mayweather wins, then the books would only be paying out $1,000 since it’s 1/5 odds.
Football & Basketball Money Lines
While money line wagers aren’t as big in football and basketball, they can still be a good bet if you don’t like the point spread. The best money line bets are those on small underdogs you believe will win outright. That’s because you don’t have to pay juice on money line underdogs, so in the long run you’re likely going to save money.
This is especially the case on underdogs of +2.5 or less in football. Most football games are decided by a field goal or more, so most of the time the +1, +1.5, +2 and +2.5 don’t even come into play. Instead of paying -110 juice on the spread, you can forgo the points and get a better return if you win by taking the moneyline.
So, instead of betting $110 to win $100 on the Patriots +2.5, you could bet $100 to win $120 on the Patriots money line (+120). The only way you would win with the +2.5 and lose on the money line is if the Patriots lost by 1 or 2. Obviously, the chances of that happening are very slim, and over the long haul it’s proven that taking the money line on these small underdogs in football are good bets.
Percentage Needed to Break Even in Betting
If you have ever done any sports betting, then you know that consistently beating the books for a profit is no easy task. But have you ever wondered just what the percentage is that you have to win in order to break even?
There are many handicappers who claim to win 70% of their bets. Whenever you see this, just ignore these touts completely. Even the ones who claim to hit 60 to 65 percent lifetime are likely lying to you. That’s because it is simply too difficult to hit that high of a percentage over the long term.
The best handicappers in the world hit anywhere from 55 to 60 percent. While that doesn’t sound like much, if you hit that kind of a percentage over time, you are going to make some serious bank. So, what percentage do you need to hit to break even? Well, let’s take a look.
Most point spreads are listed at -110 juice. In that case you to win 52.38% of your bets to break even. You can calculate the percentage by taking amount risked divided by the amount returned. In this case it’s 110/210 for 52.38%.
That means if you pick 52 right out of 100, you are going to lose a little, and if you pick 53 right, you’ll win a little. So, the house edge is essentially 2.38%. That’s because a bettor has to bet $110 for every $100 they win, so that $10 in juice or ‘vig” is the edge that goes to the house.
If we bet $100 on 100 games and win half and lose half, we would be left with a net loss of $500. That’s because we lose $110 each time we choose the wrong team. If we can get that 50-50 record to 55-45, which would be 55% winners, then we would net a profit of $550. We would win $5,500 on the 55 winners and lose $4,950 on our 45 losing wagers.
The difference between a $500 loss and a $550 profit is $1,050, which is the difference between being a 50 percent handicapper and a 55 percent handicapper. While 5 percent does not sound like much, it is astronomical in sports betting. I hit 55% of my picks in 2014. If you bet $100 per game that year, you would have won $7,900. If you bet $1,000 per game, you would have won $79,000.
Winning % Needed to Beat Moneylines
That winning percentage is pretty easy to follow if you were to only bet the spread at -110 in football and basketball, but not every bet you make is going to have a standard juice of -110. Figuring out what percentage of bets you need to win in this case can become even more complicated.
To give you a better understanding of what percentage of bets you would need to profit, I’ve put together a table at the bottom of this article that list the winning percentages needed for a favorite of -110 to -250 and underdog of +110 to +250. One of the first things that should jump out to you is that you don’t have to hit at a high percentage to profit with large underdogs.
Remember, BetFirm is the only site that you need to help you win this season!