It is important to know what reverse line movement means when you are betting on sports. There are several services out there that show you what percentage of bets are on which sides of games at different sports books. By studying these percentages, you can get a feel for which way the line is likely to move.
Obviously, if 80% of the bets are on one side, then that side is likely to move. Let’s say that 80% of the bets are on the Giants -3 over the Cowboys. Most likely, that line is not going to stay at -3 for long. The Giants will move to -3.5 or -4 because most of the bets are coming in on them.
That’s how it usually works, but what happens when 80% of the bets are on one side, but that line actually moves the other way? Well, this is what we refer to as reverse line movement. There are a number of different things that can cause reverse line movement, but the biggest is that ‘smart’ or ‘wiseguy’ money is on the team with only 20% of the bets.
Sports books know which bettors are ‘smart’ or ‘wiseguys’ and which aren’t. They have certain guys that bet for a living, and they know they trust their opinion on a game, so they are willing to move the line the other way to limit their liability. Reverse line movement is when the Giants are -3 and getting 80% of the action, but the line all of a sudden drops to -2.5 or -2.
It has been proven over time that following reverse line moves is a profitable wager. However, it’s not the only thing you should go off of. What I would recommend would be to spot the games with reverse line moves and to try and figure out why they moved the way they did. If you are with the 80% of the public that’s on the other team, then maybe just stay away from that game in general.
I personally do my own handicapping and don’t pay a whole lot of attention to reverse line moves. However, I would much rather be on the side of the reverse line move than the side where 80% of the public is on. It is important that you take these reverse line moves into consideration when placing a bet, but it’s only one of many factors when handicapping a game.