Online Betting » Betting Guide » What is Reverse Line Movement in Sports Betting and How Does it Work?

What is Reverse Line Movement in Sports Betting and How Does it Work?

Dave Kuzio
Fact checked by: Jim Knight
Publish Date: 01.07.2024

Betting odds are not rigid numbers, they can move around at any time due to different circumstances. What happens when the odds move in a direction that goes against the norm? Well, that is called ‘reverse line movement’.

You may have heard the term reverse line movement in passing, but are unsure what it actually means when it comes to sports betting.

In this guide I will explain what reverse line movement is and how it fits in with your own betting journey.

What Is Reverse Line Movement?

Reverse line movement occurs in sports betting when a betting line moves in the opposite direction of where the majority of bets are being placed. This is more common on spread betting and moneyline betting.

During the line movement guide I mentioned ‘sharps’ and they feature in reverse line movement as well. The sharps are basically professional bettors and they make sure no stone is left unturned when it comes to doing their research.

If you notice that the betting line has started to move in a direction away from where the majority of bets have been placed, this normally means that the sharps are betting on something different to the public. If you catch this early enough it could prove profitable.

Reverse line movement is mainly associated with American Football in the NFL. Here is a brief example of reverse line movement:

  • New York Patriots +7.5 (-110)
  • Buffalo Bills -7.5 ( -110)

The Bills are the favourites in this game with the majority of all bets backing them to beat the Pats. A few days later the odds look like this:

  • New York Patriots +6.5 (-110)
  • Buffalo Bills -6.5 (-110)

Despite the Bills being backed heavily, they have dropped a point. This means a lot of money has been taken on the Pats plus points. To break it down, it is the volume of bets versus the value of the bets that causes the movement.

It is important to note that this is not a foolproof plan – there is no such thing in the world of sports betting. You can study the trends with what direction the lines are moving, but treat it as useful information rather than gospel.

Why Does Reverse Line Movement Happen?

Line movement occurs when bookmakers adjust their betting lines to balance the money being placed. Reverse line movement happens when bookmakers do the same but in the opposite direction. This happens when the sharps are placing large bets against what the public is doing.

Why Is It Important To Study Reverse Line Movement?

Keeping an eye on reverse line movement is important because it allows you to take a glimpse into the world of a professional bettor. We all think we know what we are doing when it comes to placing bets, but trust me, there is always someone smarter than you. Take advantage of any advice along the way.

Bookmakers do not like sharps. They do not like being beaten at their own game, so keep an eye on any kind of movement and try to cash in on someone else’s expertise.

Reverse Line Movement Pros And Cons

  • Outside help can be beneficial
  • Can be lucrative if done correctly
  • Ultimately a guessing game

Final Say On Reverse Line Movement

Reverse line movement is all about the line moving in the opposite direction to where you believe it should be going.

It is a popular strategy in American Football and is influenced by the sharps. If you notice a movement in a different direction then the sharps are betting against what the public are doing.

There is no foolproof strategy when it comes to sports betting. If you want to win big then you really do have to put the groundwork in.

That is the same with reverse line movement. The decent odds will not just fall into your lap. You need to fully understand the system and know what the sharps are doing and when to strike.

Following any kind of line movement in sports betting is a good move, but make sure you have your own strategy.

Do not go down the reverse line movement blindly, make sure you have done your own research and checked out other markets first. Sometimes your gut instinct can work better than following others.

Reverse Line Movement FAQ


❓ What is Reverse Line Movement?

This refers to when bets are heavily sided with one outcome, Instead of it going in the direction you would expect a game to go, it goes in the opposite direction. 

♯ What Is A Sharp?

A sharp is someone who knows exactly what they are doing and what they are looking for in a bet. Some of them are professional bettors, but you do not need to be professional to be a sharp.

📈 What Causes Reverse Line Movement?

The main reason reverse line movement occurs is when the sharps load up one side of the bet and go against what the public is betting on. This then sees the bookmakers adjust their lines accordingly. 

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