How to Middle A Bet in Sports Wagering
If you think it's hard enough winning a single point spread bet on the NFL, you are not alone. If I told you that some handicappers live for and are good at winning two point spread bets on the same game while betting both teams, you'd shake your head at me in disbelief. First, yes, it's possible. Second, it's very hard to do, and most of the time it happens by fluke. However, pulling this off will earn you more kudos than winning a four or five-team parlay bet. The act is called "middling" a line, and here's what it means.
What is Middling?
When you hear someone referring to the term "middle" or "middling" they are talking about a dream scenario in which a bettor wins two point spread bets on the same game, with both teams, on different lines. I know, this sounds confusing as hell, but let's jump right a scenario where the "middle" would come into play.
While looking at the Monday Night Football game between the Broncos and Raiders, which has the Broncos favored by five-points, you immediately determine you are laying the points with the Broncos. As the game approaches, the public action is all over the Broncos as well and now the sportsbooks are forced to raise the odds significantly. The Broncos are now up to eight-point favorites. You now have a "middling" opportunity. In order to middle, you would need to bet the Raiders +8 for the same amount as you bet on the Broncos. This is a dream scenario for bettors, and here is why.
If the Broncos win by fix, six or seven points then your bet on them is a winner - and so is your bet on the Raiders at +8. Two wins on the same game with different lines, double the profit. However, if the Broncos win by exactly five or eight points, then one of your bets will be a winner and the other will be a push, meaning you still profit. However, if the Broncos win by less than five points, you would split the bets and go 1-1. Typically, you would just lose the juice on the Broncos bet, so the win from the Raiders +8 would cancel out the loss.
The most important thing to know about "middling" is that the wider the gap between the two numbers, the higher the likelihood is of a "middle" actually occurring at the end of the game.
Is Middling Legal?
This is where the "middling" discussion gets tricky. Betting on both sides of a game isn't illegal, but it's just frowned upon from serious sports handicappers. If want to become a legitimate bettor, you want to prove your research methods to be effective and you want to pick winners at high rate. Betting on both sides of a line would not accomplish that goal.
However, if your main goal is to bet on both sides when a "middling" opportunity presents itself, then yes you can do that without any backlash. For some reasons, bettors seem to give extra kudos to those who can successfully pull off the "middle" (whether on purpose or by accident). Because it's very hard to middle, most sportsbook welcome your attempt as they feel that they still have the edge in terms of possibility.
Is Always Trying To Middle Worth It?
I would say no, only because you would need a big bankroll in order to fund both sides of the line on a particular game. The likelihood of a "middle" occurring is not the greatest, which means the bankroll could take a big hit if you go cold for an extend period. Middling a line is a great way to double the profit, but there are much better ways to do so, like betting on an underdog or coming up with a solid two- or three-team parlay.
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