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Line Shop Your Way to the Top

Line Shopping Your Way to the Top: Comparing Sportsbook Odds
One of the most basic rules of negotiating (and life in general) is to never accept the first offer. In no situation is that more relevant than when it comes to sports betting. Any good bettor knows that you should always be looking to maximize your earnings with every bet. There’s no sense wasting your genius picks on bets with poor odds or leaving any sort of money on the table. Therefore, it’s extremely important to employ one of the most time-consuming, but effective strategies available to any bettor – line shopping.

Line Shopping For Dummies

What is Line Shopping?

Line shopping is a very simple concept and one you’ve probably used as a shopper in other industries. Simply put, line shopping is the act of searching for the best odds among different sportsbooks before you place a wager. It’s the same concept as looking up airline prices or finding the best price on a new pair of shoes. You’re looking for the best deal and bang for your buck every time you’re placing a bet. The process of line shopping is very simple. First, you’ll need to sign up for multiple accounts, a best practice for all bettors that we covered earlier this year. Once you have multiple accounts, figure out what bet you want to make and, before you actually place it, make sure you’re checking the lines at your 3 or 4 main books. When you find the best line, place your bet. Easy as that.

Is Line Shopping Worth It?

Undoubtedly, yes. I know – it seems like a lot of work, but any bettor will tell you that finding an edge, no matter small, will pay off big down the road. There are two types of line shopping bets: Odds and Spreads.

Odds Shopping

This is when you’re looking for the best payout on the same bet. The best way to describe it is through an example. Let’s say you’re betting on the Jets to cover a 4-point spread against the Patriots. Sure, that’s a dumb bet, but let’s just go with it. You decide you want to make a bet of $110, which is fairly standard for a spread bet where the line is -110 or -105. You look at two different books and they’re offering the following odds on that same bet:
Sportsbook Wager Odds Profit
A $110 -110 $100
B $110 -105 $104.76
While it might seem small to only win an extra $4.76, that number represents a 4.3% difference in winnings. Over time and with bigger bets, that starts to add up and can help mitigate your losses over time as well. These odds become even more significant when you’re looking at moneyline bets, where the gap in value between odds can be very significant.

Spread Shopping

Same concept, but here you’re looking at which book gives you the best bet instead of the best odds. Let’s look at another example. Pretend for a moment that you wanted to bet on an NBA matchup between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks and really liked the Knicks’ chances tonight. You go to check out the point-spread lines at two different books and get the below results.
Sportsbook Wager Odds Profit
A Knicks -2 -110 $100
B Knicks -3 -105 $104.76
Oftentimes, spreads will differ across each sportsbook, especially when it comes to more minor events like regular season MLB or NBA games or obscure sports. If you really believe in the Knicks, you’d be wise to put your money on Sportsbook B and hit the -3 line. Sure, they’ll need to win by an extra point, but you’re getting better odds and winning more profit at the end. The same concept also applies to over/unders and player props, where different books can offer different point totals or prop opportunities depending on the event.

When Should I Line Shop

In a perfect world, always. But realistically, not everyone has the time to comb through every app or sportsbook available to place the best possible bet. That’s why there are two situations where you should really focus on line shopping.

1. When You’re Placing a Big Bet

Fairly straightforward, but a 4% increase in winnings is much more significant on a $500 bet than a $50 bet. When you’re getting ready to stake a large amount of money on a game, make sure you do your research and scour the space before placing your bet.

2. Betting on More Obscure Sports or Player Props

For most big events, the lines and odds are consistent across all the major sportsbooks and it’s a bit of a waste of time to shop them too much. However, when it comes to sports that aren’t as widely covered, like the Olympics, or player props for big events like the Super Bowl, you can find a ton of value in more specific bets. Here’s a quick table I put together back in February, comparing some of the top Super Bowl Prop Odds between BetMGM and PointsBet:
Moneyline Player Prop BetMGM Odds PointsBet Odds Payout Difference ($100 Bet)
KC Williams 50+ Rushing Yards +250 +386 $136
KC Watkins 50+ Receiving Yards +225 +357 $132
TB Brown 50+ Receiving Yards +350 +416 $66
As you can see, a little bit of research can pay off big time when it comes to prop bets for big events. Stay tuned for more tips as we approach football season, and as always, make sure you’re betting with your head and not your heart tonight.

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