How do we middle a bet? There are many answers to that question, and I’ll go over each of them, and try to give you some possible middling opportunities.
To middle a bet is to get the best of the line on both sides of a game. There are different examples of middling so let me go over the various possibilities you may find. Middling opportunities can exist in virtually every sport so let’s break them down individually. In football for example, we would look to take a team at -2.5 points and take the other side at +3.5 points. If the game landed 3 we would win both of our bets. That is the main idea when we look for a middle. Get the best of both numbers.
There is also what is called a half-middle. For example, we take that same team at -2.5 points and take the other side at +3. If the game lands 3 we hit the one bet and get a push on the other side. We can do the same thing with a total in football. For example, we could play a game under the total of 37 and take the same game over the total of 36.
The same possibilities exist in basketball with the side and the total. For us to be able to middle games in football or basketball we have to be very aware of line movement. Most of the time a game will move one way or another and the key to getting a middle is getting the number before it moves.
For example, let’s say we take New England -2.5 as they travel to Miami to play the Dolphins. We need the line to move to -3 to get a half-middle and to 3.5 for a full middle. We would then take the Dolphins plus the 3 or 3.5 and have a nice middle opportunity. We’ll talk more about football and basketball middles in a moment but I want to let you know about middles in other sports as well.
Middling in Baseball
A few years ago baseball was a haven for middlers as many of them made a living by doing nothing but middling games. It is much harder now but it used to be a big thing. Middling baseball is different than football because if you find a baseball middle you are guaranteed to win. For example, let’s say you have the Yankees at -150 as they play in Tampa Bay. You are able to find a price that has the Rays at +155. You now have a middle, and with some calculating, you can be guaranteed a profit no matter which team wins the game.
The previous example would be a middle of five cents. You have to really bet a large amount of money to gain ground when sports betting on baseball middles, but the professionals used to make a living doing just that. You need to have the ability to shop for lines and to have a lot of outs to make it worth your time and effort. You also have to take the lead a lot of the time and expose yourself to some risk to really get good middles.
Totals are much tougher to middle in baseball and very few opportunities exist, so I’ll bypass them. Middling is not that common in hockey either since a 20 cent line or higher is used. Some of the fringe sports like tennis and golf can be very good middling sports because the line movement is so volatile. Very often in golf you will see movement of 40 or 50 cents and that gives you a chance for guaranteed money again.
For example, let’s say we have Tiger Woods at -180 against Rory McIlroy. The professionals and the public bet Woods to no end and drive the price up to -240. If we got the original number on Woods at -180 we could now take McIlroy at perhaps +200 or +210, depending upon the buyback we find. Again, with a little calculation, we can guarantee a profit no matter which golfer wins. Sports like golf, soccer, tennis, boxing, and other sports that have big line movement are very good opportunities for middling.
Middling in Football and Basketball
Let me touch again a little big on the middling of football and basketball. It is different than baseball because we can lose money. In our previous example if New England won the game by 7 points we would win the Patriots bet and lose the Dolphins bet. We lose the juice involved, which is usually 10 cents. If we bet both teams to win a thousand then our loss would be 100 dollars. We win the Patriots for 1000 but lose the Dolphins bet for 1100.
We have to really know our percentages when middling football and basketball, and stick to key numbers. In the NFL it is usually only worth a middling shot when you can get the number three. Some people will middle around the number 7 but the long-term statistics just don’t show it to be that profitable.
College football middles are much more difficult because the scores are far less predictable. In the NFL we have scores that generally stay in the same range but that is not usually the case in college, and we need a lot more numbers to be able to take a chance at a college middle. The same holds true for basketball, as the NBA is a better middling sport than college basketball because the key numbers are more likely to be involved.
In the NBA key numbers revolve around 2,3,4, and 5. Since the NBA can be more volatile in line movement, we are more likely to get a bigger middle than what we find in the NFL. It is also harder to hit, so we need those extra points. College football and college basketball are more difficult to hit, so we need a greater range of numbers before trying to middle the game. In college football the number three is not nearly as key as it is in the NFL, and for the most part college football middles require 3 or 4 point swings to have any chance of being profitable. The same holds true for college basketball.
Hopefully these basics for middling will help you if you decide to venture into that form of wagering. If you are looking at middling long term, then you will need the exact percentages and calculations to make it profitable. This basic information for middling is a good place to start.