What Is The Opening Line? Sports Betting Terms Explained

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The opening line in sports betting refers to the initial set of odds and point spreads that sportsbooks like BetMGM and DraftKings release for a specific sporting event. This line is the earliest available information for bettors to consider when placing their wagers. Understanding the opening line is crucial for making informed betting decisions.

Key Aspects of the Opening Line

  1. Release Timing: Sportsbooks release the opening line well in advance of the event, often days or even weeks before it takes place. This early release allows bettors to study the line, analyze factors that might influence it, and place bets accordingly.
  2. Basis for Betting: The opening line serves as the foundation for subsequent betting activity on the event. Sportsbooks may modify the line based on bets and information like injuries and team updates.
  3. Market Influences: The opening line can be influenced by various factors, including team performance, historical matchups, and the sportsbook’s assessment of each team’s strengths and weaknesses. It reflects the sportsbook’s initial estimation of the game’s outcome.
  4. Line Movement: After the opening line is released, it can undergo significant movement as bettors place their bets. Line movement happens with heavy betting on one side, leading sportsbooks to balance action by adjusting odds and spreads.
  5. Betting Strategy: Savvy bettors pay close attention to the opening line and may look to capitalize on favorable odds before they change. By placing bets early, they aim to secure more advantageous odds than what might be available closer to the event.
  6. Information Gathering: The opening line is a valuable source of information for bettors. It provides insights into how sportsbooks assess the matchup and can help bettors form their own opinions about the event.

Here you can see how a line has moved after opening. The spread opened at 7.5 points. As we got closer to the game, it increased to a 9.5 point spread. This can happen for a number of reasons including injury updates, recent team performance, among others.

Opening line example NFL

Overall, the opening line is the starting point for sports betting analysis. It’s the sportsbook’s initial view of the event, aiding bettors in assessing their betting choices. Successful bettors use the opening line as a foundation, seeking value and favorable odds before line changes.

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Eamonn KeenanEamonn Keenan
Eamonn Keenan, with a Digital Arts Degree from the University of Tampa, brings over a decade of sports betting experience to his role as Creative Director at BettingHero.com. Starting with Betting Hero in the Fall of 2020, Eamonn has been deeply involved in the industry, assisting customers with major sportsbook and casino operators like BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and others. A self-proclaimed sports fanatic, he has a keen interest in professional hockey, MMA, NFL, NCAAB, NCAAF, and MLB. Eamonn enjoys researching teams and players to predict game outcomes, highlighting his passion for sports betting.