Online sports betting has opened the window on alternate lines and buying points
With the new proliferation of network sports shows, pre-game shows and even live events spotlighting the spread on each game, it's given new life to an old phrase, which is now likely outdated - "The Vegas Line".
It's especially popular on ESPN, which has been bolder than traditional network television in continually reminding the audience what the betting line on a game may be. Every weekend, you'll hear catchphrases like "according to Vegas" or "the people in Vegas are putting the game at this specific number." Sorry, but along with flip phones and tucked-in shirts, they exist, but hardly unique or popular anymore.
Today, the line does originate somewhat in Vegas. But also, in Costa Rica, Antigua, Europe, New Jersey and several other locations where an immediate consensus forms a scientific metric launching a beginning point for all games and all types of wagers. And thus, there is never one final number that is ever accepted as the benchmark for each game involving football, basketball, baseball, whatever.
You Gotta Shop Around
The mantra I've beaten to death over the years highlights those who refuse to join more than one sportsbook. The list of preferred sportsbooks provides an ample supply of trusted choices to daily compare lines for any game or event. Although it's tempting to be lured by new promotions by your favorite source, there still is no excuse for monogamy when it comes to sports betting.
I say that because just one loss at a half point on one game for say a $100-200 wager would not equate to the value of 95% of sportsbook promotions offered. Nor would beating yourself against the wall for being so lazy you could have scored a win or at least a push by simply clicking another option within seconds.
Being realistic, perhaps New Jersey in its infancy stage offers the only other possible convenience to offer ONLY its geofenced players within the state's border the opportunity to compare betting lines from different books online. And sadly, not surprising, thus far most new players signing up have chosen to wager solely at one source. A true head-shaker.
The Art of Buying Points
If one must be so loyal to a single sportsbook, there is another lost and forgotten selection to assist their skills and create potential for the right opportunities. Buying points.
Undoubtedly in life you get what you pay for. That phrase extends to sports betting as well. Normally, the accepted commission or vigorish (vig) for most wagers is 10% or -110. The "dimeline" has been adopted for decades. It's amazing that with the cost of most everything going up and the law of supply and demand dictating change, -110 has remained a benchmark.
Online wagering created a new opportunity about twenty years ago to offer bettors alternatives to traditional dimelines, whereas they could buy points or half-points in exchange for sportsbook commission rates.
Monday, November 18, 2019
Kansas City Chiefs - 5 -110
San Diego Chargers + 5 -110
The following are among many other options to buy points that were offered by preferred sportsbook 5Dimes:
Kansas City Chiefs -3.5 -130 San Diego Chargers +3.5 +110
Kansas City Chiefs -7.5 +150 San Diego Chargers +7.5 -170
Most top sportsbooks offer this popular choice, but I especially like 5Dimes, where this custom has been known as one of their traditions and standards for several years. They also make it easy to wager-upon in a simple bettor-friendly drop-down menu box. You can buy points a few days ahead of time but most often game day offers the best opportunity to select from the most wagering choices for each game.
Buying Points with 'Smart Money'
I've noticed a very consistent pattern most large online sportsbooks post indicating the balance of wagering they're receiving on each game.
Watch for the games indicating lines where the price offered is NOT -110 each way. That often signals where the action has been headed thus far. It is not to say nor guaranteed that is the preferred side to wager, however it is an inducement for many to wager the other way. Kind of like 'a sale' in a retail store because the bookmaker's goal is often to receive balanced wagering action.
Therefore, the best indicator to perhaps buy points are on NFL halftime lines when sportsbooks have only about 10 minutes to accrue action and impossible to balance wagering. As an example, should you notice a halftime line of Cowboys-Giants Over 23.5 -140, not a bad idea to buy a half point up at Over 24 -115.
And remember, there is no such thing anymore as “the Vegas line”. It is your line to potentially fit to your best advantage.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.