Line Movement Discussion - What Is A Line Buy Back?

Fri, Jan 6, 2023

As stated in previous blogs, line movement is a key tool that a bettor can use to their advantage to find an edge against the sportsbook. Being able to read line movement is an important skill to have when trying to bet on sports professionally. I will be out of town this weekend so I will be posting picks although no blogs. Once I return I will take the next few days making blogs discussing the different types of line movements and what they tell you. Taking multiple days to discuss line  movement is needed in my opinion and should convey the importance of reading it. 

In this post, we will be discussing a line buy back. This is a confusing case of sharp action and many casual bettors don't understand what is going on when they see it. A line buy back is when a line is pushed, say from -5.5 to -8 over a period of time with multiple moves and then from -8 to -7. A casual bettor sees the initial steam move and doesn't consider the reversal from -8 to -7. This can be a very dangerous play and often times will not lead to long-run profitability. In the last post, I said that professionals bet numbers not teams and that is exactly the case in this example. The steam move removed all the value out of the initial team and even moved as far to give value to the other team which is now catching more points. 

What do we do as a bettor in this example? The first recommendation is to get this line when it was at -5.5 but, that is not always plausible. In all reality, the bettor should chalk this up to missing the value on both ends and don't place a wager as the sportsbook has found a middle ground with no edge for either side. In some cases, there is still value on the buy back side and the bettor has to be able to analyze the new line and numbers to make this decision. 

Ultimately, the point of this post is that there are often times buy back opportunities on sharp action. Sportsbooks do tend to overreact at times and move lines too far based off of a specific bettor. The morale of the story is in our example that if a line moves from -5.5 to -8 and you are nervous about taking +8 on the opposite side, don't be. If that line is derived as value to you then take it. That is the point of analysis is to find value on the board. The worst thing you can do is take the -8 thinking it is the sharp side because you have now lost out on so much value and gone threw so many key numbers. 

Line movement is complicated and not always straight forward. I try to be straight forward in these explanations although it may not always be clear. I have my contact information posted so if there are any questions feel free to reach out to me and I will get back as soon as I can.