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Optimal Bets | Why You Need to Be Line Shopping to Be a Sharp Sports Bettor

One of the single most important factors in being a sharp sports bettor is to add “line shopping” to your sports betting arsenal. Veteran sports bettors will be familiar with this term, but those new to sports betting may be hearing about it for the first time.

What is Line Shopping?

Line shopping is a fairly simple concept when it comes to sports betting. Let’s use airline flights as an example. When booking a flight, most passengers will check multiple airlines to compare cost. Of course there are many factors that may influence whether somebody chooses to fly a certain airline, but generally speaking the cost is going to be the biggest factor. If American Airlines is offering the same exact flight for $50 cheaper than United Airlines, somebody would only choose to fly with United if they strongly prefer it to American. Simply put, American Airlines is providing better value.

This is very similar to line shopping. Let’s use a MLB bet as an example. As you can see below, the Washington Nationals moneyline is +210 against the Baltimore Orioles on FanDuel Sportsbook which means that if you were to bet $100 on the Nationals to win then you would receive $210 if they do so. This same bet is +195 on DraftKings Sportsbook and thus you would win $195 on a $100 bet on DraftKings if the Nationals win. Unless there are some other reasons that you will only bet on DraftKings or not on FanDuel then the +210 bet on FanDuel is of course the one you should make.

How Does the Optimal Bets App Make Line Shopping Easy?

With the Optimal Bets app, we do all the work for you and identify the largest inefficiencies across the market. We integrate this into our “Vs. Books” betting model which you can find on the Optimal+ tab. Here we will use a Week 4 NFL line of the 2023 season as an example.

FanDuel is offering a line on an alternate spread of Denver Broncos -10.5 vs. the Chicago Bears at +280. This is significantly better value than comparable offers on BetRivers, DraftKings, and Caesars as you can see below. Based on these other offers, the calculated no-vig line is +254. The no-vig line indicates what the line should be if sportsbooks didn’t take any juice on lines and offered fair odds. The +280 on FanDuel is higher than the no-vig line thus we have graded this as an A- bet with a +7% EV (expected value) and a recommended bet size of 2.6 units.

Does this mean that this bet is any more likely to win if you bet it on FanDuel rather than DraftKings or Caesar’s? Of course not. The +254 is indicating a 28% expected win percentage while the +280 on FanDuel is indicating a 26% expected win percentage. This bet is still more likely to result in a loss, but this 2% difference provides positive EV over time. Just imagine flipping a coin. If somebody offers to bet you on a coin flip, and agrees to give you $11 if it lands on heads, but you only have to give them $10 if it lands on tails then you would likely be very skeptical of this offer but would accept it under the guarantee that it was a fair game.