What Does Opening Line Mean In Sports Betting and Wagering?
We’ve all been in a situation before where we tried to buy something but the price just wasn’t right. There are always two options when facing this issue and they are walking away and finding a lower price somewhere else, or trying to negotiate a bit on the price if possible. In a negotiation, the first person who says a number generally loses. The opening number is always the starting point and you can almost always determine whether or not it will go lower or higher based on what that initial number is. It is no different in sports betting, even if you can’t negotiate on the opening number. Sportsbooks set opening lines as feelers for how the betting public is going to react and then adjust accordingly.
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What Does Opening Line Mean?
When you hear someone mention the term “opening line” they are referring to the very first set of odds or lines that is listed for a particular game or event. The opening line is essentially the first chance for the betting public to see what the linemakers think of a game.
When Do Opening Lines Come Out?
The availability of opening lines differs from sport to sport. For sports that are less popular to bet on and take place on a daily schedule, the opening lines typically don’t come out until the morning of the game or event itself.
For football, the opening line is vital in how a bettor goes about handicapping the card. Typically, the opening line for college football and the NFL comes out on Sunday evening for the following week. This is important to know since you can follow the line movement throughout the week in order to get an idea of who the big money is coming in on.
How to Handle the Opening Line?
Opening lines are the very first chance bettors get to place a wager on a particular game. Sharp bettors are usually the quickest to jump on these lines as they feel that “opening lines” represent the sportsbooks honest view of how the game may play out. The general betting public typically pay no attention to these lines, as they would prefer to wait until just before kick off to place their bets in case there is any absurd incidents that might affect the game. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the general public gets left betting into a terrible line – sometimes one or two points off the original line.
Opening Lines versus Closing Lines
The important think to know here is that when you look at opening lines, you are unlikely to see that number when you look at the closing line for a particular game. Linemakers change lines based on the action they receive once the opening lines have been set and made available for betting. The line movement is dictated by the amount of action one side of a bet sees compared to the other. Sportsbooks’ main goal is to create equal action on both sides of the line thus ensuring a profit. If the opening line is quickly changed or moves more than one or two points, this gives you a clear sense of how bettors are betting on that game.
Should You Bet the Opening Line?
There is no right or wrong answers to this question, but the general consensus around the opening line is that it is the truest representation of what a linemaker thinks of the game. Unfortunately for bettors, the opening line is very rarely available for too long before it is moved in reaction to the action against it. From experience, betting the opening line could prove profitable if you are well prepared and have an idea of what it could be. I wouldn’t just bet the opening line without doing my due diligence to find out if the game has any significant advantages to exploit. I’d much rather be better prepared and take on a skewed line instead of rushing into betting the first number I see.
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