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What does bet the middle mean?

Sometimes, line movements can create situations that favor an astute bettor. For example, if you are able to bet both sides in an outcome with two distinct wagers based on separate odds for each, you have a chance to win on either side, plus a chance to win on both sides should the game outcome fall within the point spread range the line movement created.

This can best be explained with an example.

Team A is playing Team B with a point spread as follows: 

At these odds, you believe Team A is a good bet, so you wager $100 on them, giving up four points. Note that the negative numbers next to the point spreads are the payoff odds. Point spread wagers typically have payoff odds of -110 for both the favorite and underdog, meaning in order to win $100, you’d have to place a $110 bet. The line moves over the next few days—likely because people agree with you, and more money is wagered on Team A.  The sportsbook changes the line to encourage bets on Team B:

If you now make a $100 bet on Team B, you have created a potentially favorable outcome for yourself:

  1. If Team A wins by five or six points, you win both bets.  Profit:  $90.91 x 2= $181.82 (the two $100 bets paid at odds of -110).
  2. If Team A wins by either four or seven points, you would win one bet, and get your money back on the other bet as a ‘push.’ Profit:  $90.91.
  3. If only one bet wins, meaning the other loses, you’d lose $100 on one bet but gain $90.91 on the other, for a net loss of $9.09.

Middles don’t happen very often, but when they do, bettors can do well to get in on the action—realizing of course, that the house still maintains an edge on each bet.