Odds change all the time in sports betting. As new information comes in and people bet on different sides, bookmakers will change their odds to ensure they make a profit no matter the result.
But what happens if you place a bet and the odds change? That is what we will be looking at in this article.
Placing a Bet When Odds Change
If you’ve been sports betting long enough you’ll likely have come across this already. You go to place a bet on a soccer match; for example, Manchester United to beat Manchester City at +400, but as you do so, the odds change. Do you get to keep your bet at the price you saw or will they automatically lock you in at the new odds they changed it to?
In fact, neither will happen. What the bookmaker will do is alert you that the odds have changed as you were placing the bet, they’ll tell you what the new line is and ask whether you’d like to proceed with the same bet amount at the new odds.
You’ll be given the following options when a change in sportsbook odds happens: accept and place the bet at the new line, change the amount that you bet at the new line, or cancel the bet altogether if you think it’s no longer profitable.
The bookmaker will never lock you into a different bet from the one you were trying to place.
Will The Odds of Your Bet Change After Placing the Wager?
If you place a sports bet far in advance of a game taking place, you may notice that if you look at the lines just before the game starts that the odds may have changed. This may be for any number of reasons from a star player being injured, to a large amount of betting activity on one side of the bet.
But what does this mean for your bet?
Absolutely nothing at all! Your bet was locked in at the odds you saw at the time. Regardless of how much the odds change between when you make your bet and the event happening, your bet will not change.
If your bookmaker has a cash-out option, such as Bet365, then the change in odds may affect your current cash-out price – either decreasing it or increasing it depending on which way the odds have moved.
Reasons for the Odds Change
There are several reasons why a bookmaker will change a betting line, some of which may be obvious and some that may not be!
Bookmakers will often post lines on games for their most popular sports up to a week in advance. The odds they post will be predictions based on past information, as often it’s hard to find concrete information on what will happen so far in advance.
However, as they get closer to the date of the game, more information will be available. Team line-ups will become available, there is more reliable information about the conditions the game will be played in, and any injuries in the build-up to the game will be taken into account.
So rather than having to predict a lot of these variables like they do the week before, they can plug more accurate information into their sports betting models, which gives them more accurate odds on the results of the game.
Large Betting Activity
The aim of sports bookmakers is not to post the most accurate lines for an event, it’s to make money no matter what the result is. While the lines might start out close to accurate, if a lot of money comes in on one side of the result, the bookies will change the line to persuade more people to bet on the other side.
This is called ‘balancing the books’ and is what earns bookmakers their money. If a betting site didn’t balance their books, they might be able to win more if the result goes their way, but they’re likely to make a loss if it doesn’t. Too many of those losses and a bookmaker could go out of business.
There are certain players, known as sharps, who are extremely skilled in betting in certain markets. Various US sports betting operators will watch for these players and see what side of the market they bet their money on. If a certain sharp or a group of sharp bettors bet one side over the other, the bookies know that side is likely too favorable and can adjust the line accordingly.
Sharp bettors only make up a small percentage of the betting population, so some bookmakers will allow sharp bettors to use their site so they can get the information on their lines and make the adjustment for the wider betting audience.
How to React to a Sportsbook Odds Change
So what about if you see a line change for a basketball match, is there any way you can take advantage of this? Well, it depends on how the odds offered have changed relative to the actual odds of the match.
For example, if the LA Lakers are playing the LA Clippers, you might think based on your models that the LA Lakers will win 75% of the time. This means that if you’re being offered odds better than -300, you have a profitable bet.
If the NBA moneyline odds were originally -350 for the Lakers and +500 for the Clippers but changed to -250 for the Lakers and +300 for the Clippers due to a large amount of betting activity, you now have a profitable bet on the Lakers.
However, sometimes odds changes will move lines the other way. That is to say, the line was originally profitable on one team, but has since been moved to the point where it is no longer a profitable bet.
If you were looking to make a bet on a team but the odds changed before you were able to make the bet, shop around at other bookmakers. Just because one bookmaker has had to change their lines, it doesn’t mean others have, so you may be able to find the price you were looking for on another site.