So what exactly is reverse line movement? RLM takes place when a large majority of bets are on one team, yet the line moves in the opposite direction. To illustrate, let us say that San Diego Chargers open at -7 over the Miami Dolohins, and over 70 percent of the sports bets placed on the game are on San Diego. However, instead of the line rising as you might expect, it instead drops to Chargers -6. This would make Miami +6 the RLM play.
So what causes RLM when the aim of most sportsbooks is to get as close to balanced action on both sides as possible? The answer to this is quite simple: the sharp bettors; the ones who give sports betting advice. RLM takes place when more money/ sportsbook picks are bet by the small percentage of bettors that are on the unpopular side (the sharps) than is bet by the huge majority of players betting the popular side (the squares).
Thus, following reverse line movements is the same thing a following the smart money. This is where an important word of caution is in order though. Quite a few RLM followers watch the moves until almost game time, and then bet accordingly. The huge problem with this is that the nfl line, ncaaf line or nhl line may have moved too much by that time, and all of the value has been sucked out of the unpopular side.
The proper way to make a sports bet using reverse line movement is to place your bet as soon as there is an RLM of one full point (or 10 cents in MLB and NHL) off of the opening line. Sure, using this approach leaves open the possibility of the line turning around and moving back against you, but as you will see in bit, betting as soon as an RLM qualifies has been profitable in every major North American sport such as the last two seasons, so if one line turns around, so be it. Another important recommendation is to use a slow moving (but reliable) sportsbook. This may enable you to get the stale more favorable sports betting line at the time the reverse line movement hits at the triggering Sportsbook. The records quoted below are based on the bets being made at the triggering books, so beating the move by a half-point or a few cents now and then would actually make your record even better.
Now do the sharps win every single time? Absolutely not! However, they are right more often than they are wrong, so being on the same side as the sharps is a prudent strategy over the long run, and again, the best thing is that there in absolutely no conventional sports handicapping necessary..
To back this up, our friends over at Prosportsonline.net have tracked the records for games where over 60 percent of the public has been on one side, yet there was reverse line movement of at least one full point from the opening number at the top sportsbooks in NFL, NCAAF, NBA and NCAAB. Furthermore, they list the RLM records for many individual sportsbook, making it easy to spot which books this system is working at and which books it may be best to ignore.
So what we recommend is to only use the top five each season for each individual sport (in terms of units won). We tracked the top five books for each of the pointspread sports for the last two years, as as you can see, this strategy has been profitable in every sport. Note that these records are for sides only and do not include totals.
The NFL sports betting is generally considered the toughest sport to beat, yet blindly following this method produced an exceptional 59.2 percent win rate last season, improving the two year record to 328-249-12, 56.8 percent, +59.06 units. Last year was a good RLM season for NFL sports betting (45-29, 60.8 percent, +11.91), but two sportsbooks that were in the top five in NFL RLM in both seasons.
The highest two-year winning percentage using RLM from the top five books belongs to College Football, which went 480-341-10, 58.5 percent, +95.10 units. Keep an eyes on the top five sportsbooks at Sports Insights though, as NCAAF sports betting has been very liquid in that regard, with only one sportsbook (believe it or not, Bodog) finishing in the top five both years.
NBA sports betting has the lowest two-year five-book RLM winning percentage among the 11/10 sports, but then again, every gambler in the world would kill to go 382-301-9, 55.9 percent, +48.90 units, and the 57.5 percent win rate this past season is nothing to sneeze at. Keep a close eye on Canbet here, as that Australian sportsbook cracked the top five both years.
College Basketball sports betting was not too shabby either, with a two-year mark of 492-356-22, 58.0 percent, +91.96 units. Keep in mind that NCAAB was the most liquid sport in terms of top-five sportbooks however, with not a single sportsbook making the top five both years. Carib ruled the roost season at 93-66-9, 58.5 percent, +18.55 units after ABC held the penthouse spot in the 2007-08 season.
Also, games where over 60 percent of the public are on one side, yet there is reverse line movement of at least 10 cents on the Money Line from the opening number at the top five sportsbooks in MLB and NHL sports betting has also been profitable. It should be noted that many fewer MLB games have qualified so far this season (is the whole world using RLM now?), but smaller profits is still profit.Again, these records are for Money Lines only and do not include totals.Finally, NHL sports betting has picked up 148.49 units in two years, and unlike MLB, NHL had four sportsbooks out of the top five gain double-digit units this past season. All of this will be fun to follow (not to mention profitable) when every sport except baseball are going on simultaneously during the winter months.