What is a middle bet is a bet?
Middle is a betting strategy in which the bettor wagers on both outcomes of the same stake on different lines, trying to win both bets.
For example, place a $100 middle bet on the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders against the Florida Gators in their upcoming football game. Your return will be $100 plus your stake minus $100 if Middle Tennessee beats Florida by exactly 2 points (a margin of victory).
If they win by 1 point, you’ll get back only $94; 3 points, and it’s down to $89; 4 points and all over at $84.
Middle bets aren’t nearly as popular as straight bets or parlays—that is, wagers where you pick which team will win straight up, but they can still pay off handsomely if done right.
And while they’re more complicated than teasers (which let you add points onto spreads), they’re easier to understand than if/then bets (where success depends on whether certain conditions are met).
The favorites and underdogs
The favorite and underdog are given point spreads to equalize the odds. The favorite is the team expected to win, while the underdog is the team expected to lose.
A ‘point spread’ is the number of points the favorite is expected to win. For example, if you are betting on a game where your team has been assigned a 10-point spread against an opponent.
It means you expect them to beat that opponent by 10 points or more. If they do not do this (or less), your bet will fail and result in a loss.
- Saints win by more than four points: Line -3.5 wins, Total Over +4.5 loses, -0.09 units.
- Saints win by less than four points or lose: TO +4.5 wins, Line -3.5 losses. -0.09 units.
- Saints win by exactly four points: Line -3.5 win, TO +4.5 win. +1.82 units.
On top of all this, there’s another way that sportsbooks can help protect themselves against losses: capping expectations for how much money they will pay out per day (and per week).
There are four different options for these betting outcomes:
- When the spread of points shifts further away from 0, becoming wider. (i.e. from +4.5 / -4.5 to +7.5 / -7.5).
- When the score spread shifts closer to 0, becoming narrower. (i.e. +4.5 / -4.5 to +1.5 / -1.5).
- When the total increases (i.e., 40 to 44).
- When the total moves down (i.e., 40 to 36).
The numbers we give in these examples are purely hypothetical. Totals and point spreads can change in different ways, depending on a variety of factors. They can change as bookmakers try to balance the odds. When new information about a team or player emerges (such as an injury to a star player), this can also cause totals and spreads to fluctuate.
In the case of hitting the middle the following types can be distinguished:
- both bets win: H1(0,5) – H2(0,5) in case of a draw both bets win
- only one bet wins and the second gives a total return: in case of a draw H1(0) – H2(0.5) the first bet returns, the second one wins
- both bets win partially: H1(0.25) – H2(0.25) in case of a draw both bets win by half.
- One bet wins partially and the second bet gives full return: in case of a draw H1(0) – H2(0,25) half of the first bet and the second bet are returned, half of the second bet wins.
There are also absolute win middle betting strategies in which the profit is guaranteed in each case around a few percent, and the profit 50% or more if it is in the middle.
But the best strategy is to find a reliable bookmaker with high odds.
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Sportsbooks offer odds on either side of the spread
Sportsbooks offer odds on either side of the spread, but they must balance their books by taking wagers. Sportsbooks place a 10% juice or vigorish (also known as vig) on each side of a bet to make a profit.
For example, if you bet $110 that the Los Angeles Rams will beat the Denver Broncos and win by more than one touchdown, you would receive 10% of your total winnings back in exchange for ceding 90%. The sportsbook would keep 10%, while you’d take home $100.
The key here is that even though you’re betting the favorite to cover the spread—the Rams are favored by a point—you still have an opportunity to win both sides if one team covers but not by enough points to cover your original wager.
Let’s say that instead of winning by more than one touchdown like anticipated, Los Angeles wins 27-20 at home against its AFC West rival and covers by only six points. You’ll get paid out at even money ($100) because six points were enough for them to beat Denver’s predicted score (21).
Advantages & disadvantages of middle strategy
Middle betting combines the advantages and disadvantages of both handicap and odds betting.
- A player risks a small amount to win much more.
- An overpriced middle gives you an advantage over the bookies.
- Guaranteed winnings if you hit the middle right.
- No guarantee of winning a regular middle.
- The overpriced middle is not very common.
If a line moves 1/2 point or more, you have a chance to hit the middle
If a line moves 1/2 point or more, you have a chance to hit the middle. For example, Team A is favored by 3 points over Team B in a football game. If the line moves from +3 to +2.5, you could bet on the middle at 2 points and win if Team A wins by any margin between 1-3 points (including losing outright).
The best way to earn money with this strategy is to find a middle bet between two-point spreads. For example, Two teams are playing each other, and both are listed as favorites; one team is favored by -10 while its opponent is -7.
You can then choose either team as your underdog and split your action on both games; half of your wagers will be placed on one side, and half will be placed on another, where they play each other and against each other.
As you can see, the concept of middle betting is simple. The key is to ensure the spreads move 1/2 point or more in either direction before placing your wagers. If a spread doesn’t move enough for you, then you won’t be able to hit the middle.However, if your bet does hit and you win both sides at once, it will be well worth all the work that went into finding this middle ground.