Whether you’re a sports betting veteran or newcomer, you may have heard some mention of “Pinnacle lines.” In this blog, we are going to explain what Pinnacle lines are and why we used them to create one of the sports betting models that we use to provide you with +EV (expected value) bets.
What is Pinnacle Sportsbook?
Pinnacle sportsbook was founded in 1998 and is one of the premier international sportsbooks, but does not accept American bettors. It is widely considered to be the “sharpest” sportsbook in the world and was the first to adopt “reduced juice.” Its reputation has contributed to the idea that Pinnacle’s odds more accurately reflect the true probability of outcomes than any other sportsbook.
Most sportsbooks offer a traditional spread bet with -110 odds on both sides. This means that you are betting -110 no matter which side you take (-110 indicates that you will need to bet $110 to win $100). Now if there were only two bettors in the world, and one of them took Team A to cover at -110 for $110 and one took Team B to cover at -110 for $110 then the sportsbook would make a guaranteed $10 regardless of the outcome. This is considered to be the “juice.” It’s essentially the cut that the sportsbook takes for allowing you to make this bet and it is how they make money!
Pinnacle has successfully shaped its reputation within the sports betting world by making this cut much more favorable for bettors. They don’t deal with promos or sign-up bonuses, but the value you get from using Pinnacle is built-in to their odds as a traditional spread bet may feature odds such as -108 on one side and -104 on the other. In the same scenario as above, Pinnacle will be taking a much smaller cut regardless of the outcome. This is one of the key reasons why Pinnacle has been a home for some of the sharpest sports bettors in the world for years.
How Do We Use Pinnacle Lines?
Our Pinnacle line model is fairly simple. Under the assumption that Pinnacle features lines that most accurately reflect the true probability of outcomes, we compare lines across all sportsbooks to those of Pinnacle to find inefficiencies.
On our Optimal+ tab, filter the models in the top left corner to select only “vs Pinnacle” and “vs Pinnacle props” to only show bets which are being compared against the Pinnacle lines.
Let’s use a NFL receiving prop for Week 3 of the 2023 season as an example. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has a reception prop on FanDuel Sportsbook of Under 3.5 receptions at -130. We have identified this as a very strong bet at its current price due to the Pinnacle line. Pinnacle is offering this same line at Under 3.5 receptions at -182.
Using Pinnacle for this offer, the no-vig line (what the line should be if sportsbooks did not take any “juice”) on FanDuel Sportsbook should be -150. We are currently receiving this bet at -130 on FanDuel which makes this a +6% EV bet and allows us to grade it as an A- with a recommended bet size of 2.0 units.
Of course, you could manually compare pinnacle lines and lines across other sportsbooks yourself but that takes a lot of time and effort! That’s why we incorporated this model with our app to handpick the largest inefficiencies that exist.