Reverse Line Movement is thrilled to announce its expansion into the sports betting arena. Stay tuned for additional announcements as we develop new and exciting sports betting content, resources and tools. Our subscribers will also soon have access to a new premium Discord server devoted to betting.

As a preview of our coverage, here is the first piece in a series of foundational columns. Our goal with this series is to not only educate on some basic betting principles but also to explore how these concepts can be used to our advantage in the DFS context.

What is Reverse Line Movement?

Reverse line movement occurs when a game line moves opposite of the betting percentages in the market, meaning that the line is moving against the side that has the majority of bets. Let’s look at an example to paint a clearer picture:

Cowboys at Eagles

Opening Line: Eagles -6

  • 90% of the bets are on the Cowboys while 10% of the bets are on the Eagles.

Current Line: Eagles -7.5

This is an example of a situation where reverse line movement is occurring, as you have the Eagles moving from a six-point favorite to a 7.5-point favorite despite 90% of the bets being on the Cowboys side. This is something to take note of as normally when all the tickets are on one side it would cause the line to move with the majority of tickets.

How do we find RLM?

In order to identify a possible RLM situation we need to have access to the line movement and the percentage of bets on each side. Having the amount of dollars wagered would be helpful, but that information is difficult to obtain and usually isn’t publicly available. However, the line movement and percentage of the bets are available on various websites and that information is enough for us to be able to infer when we may have a situation that involved reverse line movement. I personally use Vegas Insider for my line movement and percent bet information, but as I noted, there are plenty of sites that offer that type of information.

Why does it matter?

When we see a scenario like the one above, we can infer that despite taking 90% of the bets, the actual total dollars wagered is in favor of the Eagles. That information can be difficult to find but let’s add that into the example from above:

Cowboys at Eagles

Opening Line: Eagles -6

  • 90% of the bets are on the Cowboys while 10% of the bets are on the Eagles.
  • 20% of the dollars bet are on the Cowboys while 80% of the dollars bet are on the Eagles.

Current Line: Eagles -7.5

This shows that despite 90% of the tickets being on the Cowboys, only 20% of the dollars wagered are on the Cowboys. This means that bigger bets are coming in on the Eagles side, which usually means the sharper money. Bookmakers are more influenced by the amount of dollars wagered, not necessarily by the number of bets on a given team. That is why the sharp money, which is usually the big bettors or correlated to the larger wagers, have more influence over the line and can cause it to move even when they are in the minority in terms of the total percentage bet on a team.

How can we use reverse line movement in DFS?

Reverse line movement is more utilized and important in sports betting, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it when building lineups in DFS. When we identify reverse line movement, a lot of times that can be a red flag in the sense that a team is overvalued and thus over-owned on a given slate. The public money usually is indicative of which teams people are on and that will lead you to some of the chalk on slates, which is valuable when looking for contrarian stances. In DFS, we are always looking for ways to differentiate off potential chalk land mines and identifying games where a team may be overvalued is very valuable information and helps paint a clearer picture of a given slate. It’s not a green light to just fade everyone who may be on a team with some reverse line movement against it, but it’s extra information that can be used to make some close decisions and gain additional leverage against the field.

Showdown slates in particular can be a nice place to take advantage of reverse line movement as it helps create those narratives/game scripts that are so important when building lineups. If we have a team that is really looking overvalued in the betting market based on the public money, we can build some teams based off that and hopefully gain the additional leverage in the form of reduced ownership on the team most people are betting against.

** Don’t forget to check out our new betting focused Stokastic Odds Show and also the From A to B daily shows throughout the week where we touch on various topics from NFL Showdowns, Week in Review, and plenty of PGA tour golf breakdowns. You can find all my shows on the Stokastic YouTube homepage. **

Now much like with DFS, this is only one piece of the puzzle and it’s sadly never as easy as identifying reverse line movement and betting that side. However, it is important to take notice of why a line is moving in a certain direction and how that translates into which side the public is on. Trying to understand why sharp money may be coming in on a certain side can give insight into both some factors that may play a large role in the game and potentially individual players who may excel in that environment.

You also want to have a clear picture of the game and try to determine whether the line is moving because of reverse line movement or due to an outside factor such as an injury, weather or other some reason. If there are outside factors besides the dollars causing the line adjustment then you are probably not looking at a situation where RLM is happening and that can cause confusion when breaking down a game or trying to identify chalk.

Overall, RLM is something that can be very useful in both DFS and betting and regardless of if you incorporate it heavily into your process you should still take note and identify instances where it is taking place throughout the season.

If you have any questions find me in the sports betting channel at @JazzrazDFS on Twitter.

*Ben Rasa (aka Jazzraz)* has been involved with sports and numbers for quite some time dabbling in the poker world , sports wagering and of course finding a home in the DFS world. While he enjoys playing NFL, NCAAF and NBA he has found his best advantage on the links with PGA and the Euro Tour. Jazzraz focuses on GPPs and uses a analytical approach to try and find pricing inefficiencies as well as trying to go against the grain to find those under owned lesser know players that can make the difference in giant field tournaments. You can contact Ben by emailing [email protected].

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