What is ‘middling’ and why bother with it? Middling is where you can seriously increase your bet winnings by profiting from both sides of the action.
You can do this by carefully monitoring the movement of the line and finding a situation where betting both sides becomes advantageous. The down side would be a small loss due to the vig / juice (sportsbook commission).
You can use this betting strategy in any sports where you have a pointspread, so NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and college sports. As an example lets take a basketball match-up between the Lakers and the Cavaliers. We’ll keep things simple and for arguments sake say that the spread for the first posted line reads: Lakers -3, Cavaliers + 3.
The smart bettor evaluates this spread and determines that the Lakers are good value and so bets the Lakers at -3 on the pointspread.
A day or two later the bookmaker decides that he is taking a lot of action on the ever-popular Lakers, so in an attempt to even things up, he decides to move the spread to Lakers -4.5 and by default the Cavaliers to +4.5. The linesmaker fundamentally wants to attract more action on the Cavaliers and slow down the amount of action he is receiving on the Lakers.
The odds remain at this level and the smart bettor decides to go in again and bet the Cavs at +4.5. What does he hope to achieve by this? He is looking to middle the spread.
If the Lakers go on to win by 4 points he wins his Laker bet at -3 and wins his Cavalier bet at +4.5. Say he wagered $110 on both bets at the standard odds of -110, he makes $200. If he loses, he loses on one bet for -$110 and wins on the other for +$100, and so only loses $10.
Now of course the bettor won’t be hitting his middles in every game or even every fifth game but all he needs to do to break even is to hit his middles once in twenty-one games. So if his total loss after twenty games is $200 (20x$10) and he hits his middle on game twenty-one, he will win $200.
In all likelihood the smart player will be hitting his middles far more often than once in every twenty-one games. He’s getting terrific value and reducing his down side dramatically – the reason for betting middles in the first place. If the bettor does not worry about his downside, he may simply choose to stick with his original bet, in this case the Lakers at -3, knowing that he has a great bet with the spread having moved to -4.5.
It gets better for ‘middlers’ in terms of their downside because they can still make a profit even if they don’t hit their middles. Quite often they will ‘push’ (draw/break even) on one bet and win on the other. So if the Lakers win by 3 points, the bettor would push that bet at -3 and get his stake returned for no loss – but he will win on the Cavaliers’ bet at +4.5 making a profit of $100.
Remember that the better the line movement the more chance there is of hitting a ‘middle’.