NFL moneylines move, sometimes quite a lot, so don't settle for first options. Here's your Week 13 primer.
I'm going to kick off Week 13 with a minor rant: the only way to sustain profits when you're wagering money on outcomes that are random and impossible to predict is get paid the highest reward possible when you win. My entire system -- which has been very profitable again this season, by the way -- is built on this principle. GET. PAID. And you can't get paid if you're using an outlet that doesn't give you good lines, or good options!
This web site gives you amazing tools for comparing sportsbooks, and you should absolutely be doing that. I frequently talk to people who want to know more about my system, but they want to put my ideas into practice while using an inferior sportsbook. Some sportsbooks will never give you enough of a payout to push your wager over the edge to the point where you're expecting positive return for your risk. Some sportsbooks wait until late in the day to set their lines, after more daring sportsbooks have absorbed all the risk. Some sportsbooks will set their point spreads in stone, and never move them, let alone allow you to set your own spread.
You can't sustain a profit if you don't get paid enough to cover your risk, and you can't get paid enough to cover your risk on a consistent basis if you don't use a good sportsbook.
Which brings me to the main subject of this post: learning how to hunt for the right moneylines. Here's a real-world example, taken from today's (Tuesday's) NHL board.
The Montreal Canadiens are hosting the Carolina Hurricanes, and the contest projects to be very close. You have basically 50/50 odds of winning this bet, no matter which team you take. Earlier this morning, 5Dimes had both teams listed at -110 (which gives you an idea of how the public sees this matchup).
Now, as you know if you've ever read my column in the past, your expected value calculation on a 50 /50 risk equals needing to find a moneyline that is +100 or better.
With both teams listed at -110, you don't take the bet. It's negative expected value, so that's the end of the story, regardless of how many sports radio talking heads are insisting, "Take Montreal, they're a sure thing, they've got this thing and that thing going for them, it's easy money!" At -110, we pass.
But we keep watching the line to see what happens.
As of this afternoon, 5Dimes had shifted the line to Montreal at +103, which is over our threshhold and makes them +EV. However, do we want to pull the trigger just yet? Or is it worth waiting a few more hours to see if that line gets any juicier? In this case, it's safe to wait, I think. If Montreal gets juicier, then you can pull the trigger; if they switch places and Carolina ends up going over +100, then simply pull the trigger on Carolina. A third option: take Montreal at +103, and if the lines later switch and you can get Carolina at +101 or better, take them as well and guarantee yourself a profit.
Just for comparison's sake, here are what some of the other books are offering on Montreal: Bookmaker at -102, BetOnline at +105, Bovada at -105, and Heritage at +101. You can see there's a range there, but in this case, when we're working with such a razor-thin margin, those little differences are big. Montreal is not valuable at -102 or -105, but they are valuable at +103 or +105.
Finding the right moneyline is a combination of patience, and having a few sportsbooks available to do some price shopping.So how does that impact our approach to NFL Week 13?
The Jaguars are already valuable at +170 (5Dimes), and the Falcons are a coin-flip that give value at +105, but watch both of those lines. I expect they'll both shrink a bit and then go back up.
There are some favorites whose lines are not profitable right now, but might drop enough to become profitable before the games begin. The Saints at -330 give no value, but they do at -320 or better.
The Steelers are borderline at -185, but at -175 they're worth looking at.
Other teams, like the Dolphins at -230 or the Broncos at -210, are hopelessly priced out of value range and have very little chance of dropping low enough to make it worth your time.
Hunting for the best moneylines is a regular part of the successful sports investor's routine. Learn to make that part of your process, and you'll be that much closer to sustaining regular profits.