One of the most important keys to picking winners when betting on sports is the ability to study line movements. Experienced bettors know that they are far more telling than novices will ever know.
The sportsbooks spend a ton of time creating the odds for sporting events but sometimes they miss on a line. The fact that they don’t spend nearly as much time on hockey as they do some of the other four major professional sports leagues makes it that much easier to catch them when it comes to NHL lines.
There are three primary reasons why an NHL line will move. The ability to understand them can be the key between a win and a loss.
Reason #1: Movement Based On The Side
One reason a sportsbook will move an NHL odds is that they get a lot of money on one side. If that's the case, they are forced to make the necessary adjustment. The key for the sportsbook is to try and get the money on both sides as close as possible. That way they avoid losing money and can actually make a profit based on the juice.
If they start to get too much money on one side, they could easily choose to adjust the line to make betting the other side more enticing to bettors.
Reason #2: Movement Based On The Pro’s
Another reason a sportsbook could move a line is if a well-respected bettor puts a lot of money down. Somebody that is well known as a winner by the sportsbooks could create a small line shift. That could come simply betting on a side especially if they put a large amount of money that forces the books to react.
Reason #3: Movement Based On Team Personnel
The opening odds for a game will also change in the event of an injury or trade. It’s well known that books sometimes create an over-adjustment. That's done because they want to convince the bettors that the change is a “lock”. For example, if the Nashville Predators were expected to start their No. 1 goalie Pekka Rinne and then a late injury forced them to go with their backup Carter Hutton. The sportsbook could shift the line dramatically.
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However, the Predators were still very good even with Hutton in net, so the line shift could be an overreaction. It could be done in order to try to entice bettors to wager against Nashville even though they will probably end up winning the game regardless of which goalie is in net.
The Most Important NHL Line Move
The most important NHL line move is the first one. That's because the person that is willing to jump the gun and put enough money on a matchup to move the line early on is usually informed enough to know what they are doing. Any gambler that waits for the sportsbooks to release an NHL line and then jumps on it probably has a good idea of how to pick winners. In that case, it’s smart to follow their lead.
It’s important to pay close attention to the lines when they are first released. The slightest movement could indicate where the smart money is.