You wake up, excited about your big day. The decorations are up, the dress is hanging in the wardrobe, and you’ve got your hair and makeup done. You hop in the car, head off to your wedding venue, and settle into a nice, long church service. During the ceremony, the sun is shining, the sky is twinkling, and you feel like you and your partner-to-be are the stars! At the end of the ceremony, you make your grand entrance and walk down the aisle to a burst of cheers and applause.
Everything seems to be going perfectly, and you’re already feeling nervous energy building up as the guests start to arrive. You make your way to your wedding banquet and are overwhelmed by the sight of all your family and friends waiting to celebrate with you. While you were busy getting ready, the world changed around you—in some ways for the better, in others for the worse—and now you’ve got to try and make sense of what happened.
To help you prepare for the future, we’ve put together a definitive guide to what moves the betting lines and how to read the tea leaves to predict the outcome of any race or sporting event.
Why Are The Lines Moving?
The chances are that you’ll be over the moon once you’ve gotten over the initial shock of your wedding day. Your groom will have surprised you with an extravagant proposal, and all of your friends and family will have rallied to celebrate your big day with you.
While these are certainly positive signs, it’s worth remembering that life can often be a bit unpredictable and that things often don’t go to plan. That’s life. In sports betting, things that don’t usually go according to plan are known as ‘noises off’.
Noises off are events or circumstances out of the ordinary that affect the outcome of a game or event in an unforeseeable way. They can range from a controversial call or bad weather to a player breaking a bone or getting sick. Anything that makes the game or event itself less predictable will have a monumental impact on the outcome and is what usually moves the lines in the first place.
Key Factors That Move The Lines
When a game or event is under the microscope of the betting community, the lines will typically move in the direction of the favorite. This usually means that the public perceives that the odds are in their favour, and so they’ll wager on that side. In other words, the public thinks that the outcomes are predictable and so are more favorable to the favorite than to the underdog.
The favorite is the person or team who you think will win. If you’re a football fan, you may have heard of the expression ‘expectancy bias’, which is the tendency for people to judge the likelihood of something good or bad based on their expectation of what they think will happen. In other words, people will believe that the favorite will win because they think it’s going to be a straight fight and so don’t expect much in the way of surprises.
Of course, the favorite is not always the same as the person or team you think will win. This is where statistics and evidence from previous games come in handy. For example, if you’ve watched a lot of NFL games and the spread has always been a good indicator of who will come out on top, you may decide to bet on the visiting team (underdog). This is called counting the spread and is a form of pari-mutuel wagering, where you wager on the winner of a sporting event. You can also do this with dog racing or tennis matches where the betting lines are published on the internet before the event (called pre-match betting).
In the case of a tennis match, for example, you may remember that at the start of the year 2017, there was a lot of talk about tennis player Venus Williams having to skip the WTA tournament in Doha due to an injury. It was reported that she was likely to be out for the rest of the year, which would mean missing out on some big-name opponents and potentially impacting the shape of her upcoming schedule. Naturally, the lines shifted in her favor as people reckoned it would be a bit easier for her to come back from an injury than it would be for the average person.
How Do You Read The Lines?
The way you read the lines depends on how important you think the game or event is. If you think it’s terribly important, you may want to hone in on key details and pay close attention to the odds. You may also consider hiring an expert to analyze the game for you.
If you think the game is fairly unimportant, you may want to skim over the details and get a general sense of whether the odds are leaning in favor of your team or the opposing team. Sometimes the ‘buzz’ around a game or event can be a key indicator of how seriously you should take it. A game that is anticipated to be close or highly contested may move the lines, while a game that is expected to be a blowout may have no impact on the outcome.
For instance, American football fans may remember 2017 was the year of the Las Vegas Raiders. The reigning champs were on a bit of a slide to start the year, going 4-7 straight up and against the spread before losing their last three games (including that heartbreaker against the Patriots in the end). While it certainly wasn’t all bad, it was enough to make most fans think twice about betting on the team anymore. Even the most diehard fans may have had a hard time justifying a wager after what happened that year. The lines shifted heavily in favor of the underdogs in all three of the team’s wins that year, and the public seemed to have had enough of the Raiders after that rough patch.
What Should You Bet On?
The answer to this question depends on your own personal preferences. If you’re a diehard Yankees fan, you may want to bet on them to win the World Series. If you’re a big basketball fan and think the Lakers will retain their title this year, you may want to bet on them. If you think the NFL will go through another offseason without a labor dispute, you may want to bet on them (and potentially take a side in the ensuing legal battles).
On the other hand, if you’re a fan of one of the Chicago teams or a neutral fan who just wants to make some money, you may want to bet on the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup. This is often the most popular option among sports bettors, as it combines the excitement of a potential upset with the security of knowing that the favorites will win more often than not. The lines will always move in the favor of the home team in the playoffs, so you can be sure that you’re getting a fair deal no matter what. There’s also the option of using a spread betting strategy when placing wagers, which will hedge your financial risk if the lines move in the opposite direction to your prediction. For example, if you think the Falcons will beat the Patriots in the next Super Bowl and you place a wager on the Patriots, you’re risking losing instead of winning if they cover the spread.
Remember: the lines don’t usually move in the direction of the underdog or the selection you think will lose. Instead, they’ll move in the direction of the selection or the event that you think is least likely to occur. This is why it’s important to have a good feel for all the variables that could affect the game or event you’re betting on. The more you know, the more you can expect out of it. And that’s what really matters in life.