If you’ve been betting on sports for a while now, chances are that you’ve found a favorite sportsbook that you make most or all of your bets with. They might normally have the best odds, or they might have a rewards program you want to take part in. DailyEnhanced provides you the best odds on different sports
However, sticking with just one sportsbook is a big mistake if you’re a serious gambler. Since different sportsbooks offer their own unique odds on each game, you’ll want to take part in a process known as line shopping – seeking out the very best line for each game in order to increase your profits when you win bets.
The logic behind line shopping is simple. It’s always to your benefit to get the best odds possible on a bet, since this increases how much money you can expect to win. However, the more theoretical way of thinking about this is that the better the odds are, the less often you need to win to show a profit!
Let’s take a look at an example of how you might use line shopping to get the best odds on a regular season MLB game. Looking at today’s schedule, my favorite team – the New York Mets – are playing against the Colorado Rockies. Here are the lines at two of our favorite sportsbooks if you’d like to take the Mets to win the game outright:
5 Dimes: Mets: +145 | BetOnline: Mets +135
Many novice baseball bettors would decide that those differences aren’t worth worrying about; they’re small enough that you’ll barely notice the few extra dollars (or on a small bet, even cents) you’d make at 5 Dimes.
But for an experienced sports handicapper, that little change could make all the difference. If you bet the Mets at +135, they’ll need to win about 42.6% of the time for you to turn a profit. At 5 Dimes, on the other hand, the Mets will only have to win 40.8% of the time. It may sound like a small difference, but there are two situations in which that 2% difference can be huge:
If your research tells you that the Mets should win this game about 42% of the time, betting at 5 Dimes is a bad idea, while betting at 5 Dimes is a profitable play.
If you believe the Mets should win about 44% of the time, for instance, both bets become profitable. However, your expected value on a $100 bet would be about $3.40 if you’re getting +135 odds; if you’re getting +145, that theoretical profit jumps up to $7.80 – more than double what you previously expected to make!
Of course, on a single game, a team either wins or losses. But over the course of hundreds or thousands of bets you make on baseball, your goal is to win at a high enough percentage to turn a profit. Line shopping makes your prospects of doing so much better, as it both lowers your necessary winning percentage and increases your profits at the same time.
In the example above, given that 5 Dimes and BetOnline both generally offer excellent lines – but not the exact same ones – there will likely be other times where we’d get the best odds by making our bets at 5 Dimes instead. Having an account at only one of those sites would force us to take inferior lines at times.
Instead, our recommendation is to open accounts at a minimum of two sportsbooks that often offer different lines on baseball games. However, serious bettors are likely to want three or more such accounts, so that they can always pick the very best odds available. Line shopping is not the most glamorous part of betting on baseball, but it’s one of the small edges that make the difference between an average gambler and a profitable baseball handicapper.