Value of Line Shopping at Sportsbooks

Line shopping can add over 1% to your return in just a few minutes. Read how to line shop sportsbooks and why it's important.

Line shopping is one of the best ways sports bettors can increase their chances of winning. When a bettor line shops, he or she looks for the best price, just like when buying something online. 

Odds are often different from one sportsbook to another. If a football game is on a three-point spread, oddsmakers tend to want to leave it there, as opposed to moving it a half-point to 2.5 or 3.5 if action warrants. Instead, the -110 on both sides may become -115 and -105, or even  -125 and +105. When this happens, betting shops will not be uniform. You may find some sportsbooks stay at -110, while another is -105.

Ignoring pushes, your bet on a three-point favorite theoretically wins half the time. When it loses, you pay the lay. If you get -105 instead of -110, your theoretical savings is $2.50 on a $100 bet. Half the time you lose $105. The other half you win $100. If it is -110, you lose $110 half the time and win $100 the other half. This adds up quickly for active bettors.

A -200 favorite implies the outcome occurs two-thirds of the time. If you can find that team at -190 by line shopping, You theoretically win $3.33 (1.7%) every time you place the wager. Two out of three times, you win $100. The third time, you lose $190 instead of $200. 

The same applies to underdogs. A +200 outcome implies a one in three chance of winning. If you can get +210 instead, you theoretically win an additional $3.33 each time. This may increase your return more than any other research, and it only takes a minute. 

Line Shopping for Futures

Line shopping is most common in futures bets. Bookmakers have different objectives and liabilities in these prediction markets. Value sportsbooks hold less of the pool than ones known for promos and rewards clubs. That makes line shopping especially important in futures markets. There can be drastic differences between sportsbook odds.

Some sportsbooks cap futures longshots at 100/1 or 200/1. Others will go to 1000/1 and beyond. If you want to bet on a worst-to-first scenario or a mid-season turnaround, line shopping provides substantial value.

Moneylines are another example of where line shopping is important. Some sportsbooks, especially in Nevada, offer dime lines in baseball. This means the spread between the moneylines is 10, like -120/+110. Those betting shops often have the best odds on both sides, but not always. A shop that uses traditional moneyline spreads may have lopsided action. You may find a larger variance between prices when there is a big moneyline favorite.

Props are another bet where line shopping matters. Depending on the sportsbook, type of market, and size of a favorite, prop odds can vary drastically from one sportsbook to another. 

Some sportsbooks offer tighter spreads on props than others. Smaller bets can move markets. You will find major differences between sportsbooks on some bets.

Hit all the sportsbook bonuses in your state 

Most states with legal online sportsbooks have bonuses available to players. These are usually loss rebates, also known as bonus bets. If your first bet loses, you get a second chance wager for the same amount. Three out of four times, you will come out of this promotion with at least your buy-in. 

Some sportsbooks have a deposit match bonus. Some only have a one-time wagering requirement. These are better than a loss rebate because you get the bonus whether your bet wins or loses. 

If your bankroll permits, leave some of that money in the sportsbook. That way, if you catch a great line shopping moment, you don’t need to delay it by making a deposit. It also gives you an excuse to hit all the possible bonuses.