How to Shop for the Best Sports Betting Lines
If you’re new to sports betting, you may not pay much attention to the live odds and game lines across multiple sportsbooks.
Some might think that lines are universal across all sportsbooks. Others may think that the minuscule difference in lines or odds doesn’t make enough of a difference to worry about.
You might not have heard of the term “line shopping” before this, but it can make the difference between being a winning bettor and a losing bettor. It doesn’t matter whether you make large bets or small bets; not shopping for lines will affect your bottom line.
What is line shopping? Why is it worth the effort? We’ll show you below.
How are sportsbook odds and lines determined?
Original odds and lines are determined by the oddsmaker at each specific sportsbook. There are a lot of factors in play when setting the original line.
Analytics, computer projections, recent performances from both teams, previous matchups between the two teams, injuries, and player usage all play a role in coming up with an original number. The line then will shift based on other factors such as public perception.
Here’s a sample of the current lines you can compare across all Tennessee online sportsbooks. Click on any odds to jump directly to the sportsbook, claim your bonus, and make your bet. See the full live odds feed here.
Note: These are real-time odds and subject to change, but if you move quickly, you can make your bet at the listed odds. Use the drop-down menus to change sports and to flip between moneyline, spread and totals odds.
What are Vegas odds?
Las Vegas is a gambling mecca, and, until recently, it was the only place in the United States where you could bet on sports legally. The sportsbooks in Vegas would set the odds and lines for games, and they were referred to as the “Vegas odds” across the sports betting industry.
Now that sports betting is legal in a growing number of states, including Tennessee, the odds at legal online sportsbooks in TN tend to be very similar to the Vegas odds for a game. All oddsmakers use similar methods to create their lines. There might be some small discrepancies based on the local market.
Why do betting lines move? How often do they move?
A line can move for several reasons. The most common and simple reason is a change in the status of the game and its players. For example, if it’s going to snow in an NFL game, the total will be lowered to account for that. If the Green Bay Packers are seven-point favorites and then Aaron Rodgers is declared out with an injury, the spread for the game would change.
Other reasons for changes are based on the activity in the betting market. If a sportsbook is getting a lot of one-sided action on a side or total, it will move the line in an attempt to get more balanced action. A sportsbook’s goal is to have the total wagers be nearly equal on both sides of a line.
In addition to public betting and liability, sharp bettors can move a line. A sharp bettor is a bettor who is known by the sportsbooks to be a successful, profitable handicapper and player. If a sharp bettor places a bet, some sportsbooks see this as a sign that their original line was slightly off.
Lines can move back and forth many times as the market fluctuates. The sports betting market is similar to the stock market in that way. A team that is favored to win on Thursday could be an underdog by kickoff on Sunday.
Where does line shopping come in?
Line shopping becomes a factor when it’s time to place your bet. Even if you are just a casual bettor placing a small bet, you don’t want to put yourself in a less-than-ideal spot.
Sportsbooks are pretty accurate in predicting what happens in a game. Often you’ll see the spread or the total on a game is exactly right when compared to the final score. Any edge you can get is worth exploring.
Compare shopping for the best line to shopping for anything in life. Would you ever knowingly pay more for something if you know there’s a cheaper option available elsewhere? If one store sells a TV for $500, you’d buy it there instead of the store selling the same TV for $600. The same theory applies to shopping for lines at sportsbooks.
Is line shopping worth it?
Line shopping in sports betting is definitely worth it. It can be the difference between losing a bet and winning a bet. Getting the best line consistently could be the difference between being a profitable bettor and a losing bettor.
If your handicapping leads you to believe a bet on the Tennessee Titans to win is a solid prospect, you can survey multiple sportsbooks. Three of the four sportsbooks you check have the Titans as -3 favorites over the Indianapolis Colts. The fourth book has the Titans as -2.5 point favorites.
Your friends all place their bets on one of the first three sportsbooks with a line of -3. You place your bet at the fourth sportsbook at -2.5. The Titans win the game by three points. Your friends are simply getting a refund as their bets were a push, while you won your bet. If you didn’t shop across all of your options, you too would simply be getting your money back.
You might think this is unlikely to happen often, but sports lines are notorious for being extremely accurate. You’ll often hear people say things like “Vegas knows.” Key numbers such as 3, 4, 6 and 7 in football are extremely important as games land on these margins often. Totals like 44, 45, 47, 49 and 51 are also more likely to be relevant than other numbers.
If you’re betting a baseball moneyline, you can place a bet on the Atlanta Braves at +130. Your friends bet the game at another sportsbook at Braves +120. If all of you bet $100 on the game and the Braves end up winning, you just made a free $10 compared to your friends. Who wouldn’t want a free $10?
In the futures market, odds vary greatly from sportsbook to sportsbook. Some sportsbooks have different liabilities on their books, and they adjust their odds to compensate. If you shop across sportsbooks and find the Titans to win the Super Bowl at +1500 while your friends bet the Titans at another sportsbook at +1200, you have much larger potential winnings.
What’s the best way to shop for lines?
The easiest way to shop for lines across multiple sportsbooks is by using the odds feed on this page. We aggregate all the lines from multiple sportsbooks for a single game and list them in an easy-to-read way. You can place a bet by simply clicking the odds you wish to bet on.
If you want to do the work yourself, you can download multiple apps from all of the sportsbooks. When you’ve decided what side of a bet you like, check what the line is on every sportsbook app. Compare the lines at every outlet and then bet on the app that gives you the best number.
Either way, you decide to shop for lines, it’s not hard and it’s a worthwhile step.
How to shop for different types of lines
There are plenty of bet types, and they are all worth shopping around for in order to find the best line. Some sportsbooks have reduced juice on moneyline bets, which would make those outlets a better place to wager on a team to win on the moneyline.
Totals odds are also important to shop around for, as there are key numbers in every sport. Every point matters when you’re betting the over or the under.
When you are betting against the spread, each point matters so much, especially when the spread is surrounding a key number. Football games often end with margins of 3 or 7. These are considered “key numbers.” Getting a team at -2.5 instead of -3 or a team at +7.5 instead of +7 is very often the difference between winning a bet and pushing.
While it is worthwhile to shop for all numbers, always look to get the most points possible if betting the underdog, or give as few points as possible if you’re betting the favorite.
Line shopping for futures
Line shopping for better futures odds is a great way to get extra value on your futures bets. Odds in the futures market vary greatly from sportsbook to sportsbook. Some sportsbooks have higher liabilities on their books for some teams, meaning they’ll offer other teams at better value in order to attract action on those teams to help balance their book.
Betting on futures depends a lot on timing. You will get the best odds if you bet on an event that is some time away. This is because things are less certain and there are a lot of scenarios that can occur that will impact the odds. For example, if you bet on a team to win the Super Bowl in Week 1 of the regular season, all 32 teams are technically still alive.
You don’t know which teams will make the playoffs, you can’t predict injuries, and you can’t predict breakout players. If you wait until the playoffs start to place a futures bet, nearly two-thirds of the league will be eliminated, meaning there are fewer teams to compete with. In addition, there is a whole season of trends and data to look back on, meaning the lines are sharper.
Similar thinking applies to betting on a specific player to win the MVP award. If you bet on Russell Wilson to win the NFL MVP prior to the season, you’ll get better odds than if you wait until Week 10 when he leads the league in touchdowns and his team has an 8-2 record.
Another good time to bet on futures is when the team you want to bet on is going through some adversity. For example, in 2019, everyone knew the Kansas City Chiefs were one of the best teams in the league. When Patrick Mahomes was injured and was expected to miss a few weeks, it was a prime opportunity to buy low on Kansas City. You can shop across the different sportsbooks and see if any of them are overreacting to the short-term injury.
How do I find the best sports betting lines?
Finding the best lines is all about being informed. You need to check all of the lines posted across different sportsbooks and decide which one offers the most value for the bet you want to make. Using multiple apps and checking every sportsbook individually is one way to do this.
An easier way is to take a look at our dynamic live odds feed. We automatically update lines from across numerous sportsbooks so that you can easily spot which sportsbook deserves your action!
Can I get a better line on a bet I’ve already placed?
No. Once you place a bet, you are locked in at the odds that were posted at the time of your bet. This is why line shopping prior to placing your bet is so important.