Key points

If you’re thinking of wagering on sports, you have several variables to consider prior to placing your bets, including the odds and lines. By line shopping, you look for the best possible numbers for any bets you want to place. Read on for a complete look at shopping for sports betting lines, how to go about it, and the benefits that it can ultimately provide.

What is line shopping in sports betting?  

Line shopping refers to checking multiple sportsbooks to find the best odds prior to placing your bets. This can put you in a position for a greater potential return. To demonstrate, consider the profit at the following odds on a winning $100 bet:

While seemingly small differences may not seem like much, they can add up in the end. As a result, seasoned bettors view line shopping as a critical part of their routine.  

How to line shop

You can shop around for odds individually by visiting each sportsbook one at a time or by checking out an aggregator, such as our various customizable live odds feeds.

For example, let’s take a look at the odds for an upcoming MLB game at a few sportsbooks. Here’s the line at the DraftKings Sportsbook app:

And here’s what the numbers look like at FanDuel Sportsbook:

An example of comparing the sportsbook lines at both FanDuel and DraftKings for the same matchup.

Starting with the moneyline, we could get a slightly better return at FanDuel for either choice. DraftKings is offering a slightly better number on the under for total runs and the St. Louis Cardinals run line, while New York Mets run line bettors have the chance for better profits at FanDuel. Let’s continue shopping by viewing the same game at BetMGM Sportsbook:

And here’s what the numbers look like at Caesars Sportsbook:

Among the notable differences, the over/under is a half-run higher at both BetMGM and Caesars. Under bettors who would like a little more cushion would want to consider taking their action there, while over bettors can get favorable odds as well.

If we compare all four books on the moneyline, FanDuel is the best option. For the run line, Cardinals backers should head to Caesars, while Mets bettors have the most potential at BetMGM.

By viewing multiple sites, we know where our best options are for the main bets on this contest. Armed with this information, we can allocate our action accordingly when it’s time to place bets.

What can you gain from line shopping?

Line shopping isn’t difficult to implement once you have the basics down and most sucessful bettors make it a core part of how they bet. For those who do take the time to do so, here are some of the potential benefits:

The most obvious challenge to this is the time investment, but it really doesn’t take all that long once you know where to shop and what you’re looking for. Things like tracking your bets and line shopping may not be mandatory, but it’s an excellent addition to any sports betting strategy.

Line shopping by bet 

Here’s what to look for when shopping for lines on different bets:

Line shopping for other bets

Line shopping can also be useful elsewhere, including the following bets:

Sports Betting 101

Looking to learn more when it comes to betting on sports? LegalSportsReport has valuable content that explains everything when it comes to online sports betting.

What to shop for in major sports 

When line shopping, the story is similar for all of the major sports, but there are some specifics to dig into. Here’s where you can focus:

Is line shopping worth it?   

In a word, yes. Line shopping can have a direct impact on your profit potential for individual bets, as well as on your long-term bottom line. It’s not too time-consuming once you get the hang of it, and it can help to improve your overall understanding of sports betting markets.

While there’s nothing wrong with having a preferred sportsbook or two, there’s a lot to be said for keeping your options open. Beyond the various promotions that you may be able to benefit from, you can also be ready to shop around if there’s a bet you want to place.