As you get more comfortable with betting on sports, there are more advanced strategies that will allow you to gain more of an edge on the sportsbooks. One such strategy is middling bets, and even if you aren’t ready to tackle something advanced, it is still worth the read to understand what middling is in case someone brings it up in a conversation.
What is middling a bet?
When you are betting on a sport with a point spread, that spread moves depending on the action bet on each side of the game. When a point spread is first posted for a game, sometimes not all the factors are taken into consideration, which can affect the spread in a large way. Finding a way to bet on both side of a game and have the final score fall in between your two bets is how you “middle” a game.
Let’s create an example that will make it easier to illustrate how middling works. Let’s take a professional football game, that could have opening odds a few days before the game starts as follows:
- Green Bay -7.5
- Chicago +7.5
In this scenario, the Green Bay Packers are favored by just over a touchdown. If you want to bet on them winning, then you need them to win the game by more than 7 points in order to win the bet. However, if during the week leading up to the game, Green Bay is hit with some significant injuries (to their star quarterback for example) then bookmakers will likely move the line, and it could end up moving to something like this by the time the game starts:
- Green Bay -6
- Chicago +6
In this example, the sportsbooks, based on the amount of money being bet on the Chicago Bears in response to the injury, move the line to dissuade too much money heading to that side of the game. However, this now presents the rare opportunity to middle the game. If you had taken the Bears when you were getting 7.5 points, but you really think that regardless of the injuries that Green Bay should still win by a touchdown, then you could now also take Green Bay -6. Now you have the potential for winning both bets, without really any risk of losing money. Here are the scenarios that can play out with these bets taken:
- Green Bay wins the game by 10 points – you win the Green Bay bet but lose the Chicago Bet
- Green Bay wins by 3 points – you lose the GB bet but win the Chicago bet
- Green Bay wins by 7 exactly – you win both bets
The final scenario is the middling of bets that most gamblers are searching for, and when they land on the magical number, it can cause chaos for sportsbooks.
Risks of middling sports bets
There really isn’t any risk in shooting for a middling score. If you hit the number, then you win a lot of money, but if there is any downside, it is that your bets will likely cancel each other out if the score doesn’t land in the middling zone. This can be enough to turn people off trying to middle bets, but the more advanced bettors are always looking for an edge that can push them into the win column. Considering the best sports bettors in the world only win between 55% and 60% of their bets, every chance to gain an edge is crucial.
How to middle sports bets
So, you now know what a middling bet is, but how do you find the options to do so? Remember earlier when we mentioned this was a bit more of an advanced strategy? Well, the betting itself isn’t that tough, but it is the time that has to be put into the bet that is critical.
The first thing you have to do is research and lots of it. When the betting lines for a sport are first posted, you need to scour them for potential middling options. Then, when you find one based on your research (injury reports, weather reports, potential lineup changes) you need to make a bet on one side of the game that you think will be affected by the line change.
Following the initial wager, you need to stay on top of the news surrounding the game, as well as to look at multiple sportsbooks for the best lines. Some sportsbooks don’t move their lines as quickly as others so you may find value at a sportsbook that is not where you placed the original wager. However, this means having access to multiple sites and the time to monitor them as news comes in.
Finally, you have to be comfortable with the fact that you are either going to win two bets or walk away with a push. Many gamblers like the idea of focusing on one side of the game, whether it is because they like to cheer for a particular team or aren’t looking to bet on both sides. Middling bets takes a lot of fun out of rooting for one side, but when a game hits, you will look like a genius!
The opportunities to middle sports bets are few and far between. However, with a little bit of effort and dedication, you can find these gems, and when you do, your bankroll will thank you!