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What Is NFL Line Movement and Why Should I Track It?

What Is NFL Line Movement and Why Should I Track It?

If you know anything about buying real estate or following the stock market, the most basic rule is to buy low and sell high. However, how do you know when a property or stock is at its lowest and when it is at its highest? You track the movement of similar properties and situations and then make the most educated guess possible.

That’s a bit of a convoluted way of explaining that you should do the same with NFL lines: track the line movement to maximize your profits. You want to grab the line that gives your side the most points and pays out the best odds.

NFL Line Movement Explained

If you’re betting on NFL games in any meaningful way this season, you must pay attention to line movement from a week-to-week basis. Line movement occurs when a significant amount of money (whether it be Sharp or Public) comes in on one side or another. To limit their exposure, sportsbooks will move the spread going forward.

This can also happen if important news breaks, like one team’s starting quarterback goes down in practice or severe weather is predicted that favors one team’s playing style.

Line movement is tracked from where the line begins, also known as the “open,” to where the line currently sits and where it finishes, appropriately known as the “close.” When lines move, the overall odds change as well. Odds correspond to how much a bet will pay out. Sharps track the NFL lines, just like investors track real estate prices and stock trends, to maximize their odds and potential payouts.

Real Life Example

Let’s look at a real life example:

When the NFL line for Week 1’s matchup between the Indianapolis Colts versus the Los Angeles Chargers first opened at Chargers -3, no one knew that star quarterback would be retiring from football before the game. Once the news broke, obviously both sharps and the public started pounding the Chargers and oddsmakers had to move the line to where it currently sits at Chargers -6.5. That means the line moved 3.5.

Similarly, the moneyline opened at Colts +140 and Chargers -165. That tells us that most gamblers were already pretty certain Los Angeles would win and if someone jumped on that moneyline then, they paid $165 to win $100. Now, the moneyline sits at Chargers -290.

Obviously, you’d rather have the -165 if you’re betting on LA. You could not have known Luck would retire (unless you have some serious insider knowledge … which, unlike stock trading, is legal in sports gambling). However, by watching the way the line is moving, even if you didn’t hear the Luck news, you know something major has happened and it might be time to throw some money down.

So What Now?

Just by tracking NFL Line Movement, you won’t immediately be given the gift to always maximize your profits. However, if watch it consistently and get a feel for the trends, it will give you an edge and put you one step closer to being a Sharp rather than a Square.

Editor for SGP Blog. Staffer at Late Late Show with James Corden. Miserable Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Suns fan. Degenerate DFS Player.

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