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What is a Sports Betting Middle?
Sports Betting Middling Example
Let’s say the Giants are playing the Cowboys on Sunday night. On Monday, the line opens with the Cowboys as a 7-point favorite. You like the Cowboys in the game so you take them at -7 on the early line.
Now during the week the favorites bettors are all over the Cowboys and leading up to game time the oddsmakers have adjusted the NFL betting lines and now Dallas is a 10-point favorite. This 3-point line move is especially intriguing in football because Dallas has gone from being favored by a touchdown to being favored by two scores. That is significant and opens the door to a middle.
Now on the new line, you bet on the Giants at +10. With wagers on these two lines, it is possible to win both bets if Dallas wins by eight or nine points. And, if the Cowboys were to win by seven or 10 points, you would still win at least one bet while getting your money back on the other on the PUSH.
Middling can be a great way to earn major profits with little risk, but it’s not foolproof. You can still come out on the losing end very easily.
Say in our example that Dallas wins by three points. They would fail to cover your -7 wager, but you would still win your +10 wager on the Giants. That 50 percent means you’re down money due to the juice (the standard 10 percent commission you pay to the sportsbook to handle the action).
Super Bowl XIII - Black Sunday
If you think you need a 2- or 3-point swing for middling to work, you’re not right either. There’s a famous example of the middle paying off huge in Super Bowl XIII, known in bookmaking circles as Black Sunday. In that title game, Pittsburgh faced Dallas and the Steelers opened up as 3.5-point favorites.
Later in the week, that line had shifted to -4.5 in favor of the Steelers. Anyone looking to middle could have taken Pittsburgh at -3.5 and Dallas at +4.5 and hoped for a four-point Steelers win.
What was the final score? Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31. Anyone lucky enough to spot the middle in that famous game pocketed some serious cash and most sportsbooks suffered one of the worst days in their history as bettors on both sides were winners.