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What Is Line Shopping in Sports Betting?

Author: americangambler | Last Updated: November 2, 2020

It’s the end of the week and you’re running low on food. The time has come to shop for groceries, so you gather up the ads from the local supermarkets. 

If you’re old school, you pull the flyers out of the newspaper. If you’re tech savvy, you get the digital downloads from each store.

Now, astute shopper that you are, you compare and contrast prices on the items you know you’ll be pursuing on your stockpiling quest in order to assure that you get the best prices.

If you understand how price matching works at the grocery store, then you’ve already got a pretty fair comprehension of what it means to go line shopping when you are sports betting.

There’s no hidden meaning here. Line shopping is just what it portends to be in its name. 

Every sportsbook sets the odds on all games. But when the sportsbooks set those odds, not all betting lines will be the same. This is why the astute bettor shops around before laying a bet. 

How does line shopping betting work? Examples

Suppose you’re considering making a play on an NBA game between the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks. You like the Suns to win, so you check in at DraftKings and they’ve got Phoenix as -2 in the betting line. That means if you wager on the Suns, they’ll need to beat the Knicks by more than two points in order for your bet to cover. 

So you see what’s up at FanDuel. It turns out that they’ve got the Suns at -2.5 points. If you play Phoenix here, you’ll be giving even more points. 

Next, you try BetMGM. However, their line is identical to DraftKings. They’ve got Phoenix as the two-point chalk.

Finally, you arrive at PointsBet. At this sportsbook, they’ve got the Suns as just a 1.5-point pick. Betting Phoenix in this instance means the Suns will only be required to win by two points for your bet to cash. 

Bettors can do similar line shopping for moneyline and total wagering. If you plan to bet the over, look for the lowest total. If you want to play the under, seek out the highest total. On a moneyline wager, take the closest number to even money on a favorite and the largest positive digits on an underdog. 

This is also why it’s wise to sign up at a number of sportsbooks in the USA. They all offer some sort of bonus incentive, and you can utilize these bonus funds when you make your first wager, reducing your risk even further.