When Sportsbooks Mark Circled Games

Just like rabid fans of their favorite teams, sportsbooks look forward to the marquee matchups, especially if the squads parade complete lineups led by their star players. However, bookmakers are also on the lookout for last-minute changes before the game starts, from crucial player injuries, a sudden trade, or even inclement weather that holds uncertainty if the match will ever be played.
In sports betting, these are the “Circled Games” the bookmakers highlight if such changes can adversely affect the lines of such matches.
So how do bettors spot these circled games? Let’s find out.

LIMITED BETTING ON CIRCLED GAMES

A sportsbook determines a circled game on a specific match if there are uncertainties if a team’s marquee player shows up for the match despite nursing a sudden injury, or if a Hall-of-Fame-bound coach suddenly sits out due to mental health issues, of the weather can affect the consequences of a particular game.
Once bookmarkers mark these circled games, there’s a limit on the amount of betting among punters as the lines get adjusted. If a maximum amount of USD5,000 per bet is listed on regular lines, a sportsbook can limit wagers to USD500 on circled games.
Parlays do not include circled games among a bookmaker’s options, as these kinds of matches stand-alone, while moneylines, game totals, and point spreads usually move just before the circled game status is removed.

RESTING PLAYERS IN NBA LEADS TO MORE CIRCLED GAMES

The concept of teams pacing their superstars or key players even if they only had minor or no injuries has led to the rise of more circled games in the NBA. The NFL and MLB might be slowly catching up in witnessing their teams also sitting out their marquee players to make them fresh to more important matches or their next games, but it is in the NBA where resting players became a common practice the last few years.
The San Antonio Spurs became infamous for some NBA fans – and probably among a few bettors, too – by starting such a trend of resting their key players. From sitting out their “Big Three” of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker to even the rest of their starting lineup to even coach Greg Popovich skipping nationally-televised matches, the Spurs were a tricky bet back in the early 2000s despite the team winning three NBA championships in that decade.
But imagine Kevin Durant missing a marquee matchup for the Brooklyn Nets against the Golden State Warriors even if James Harden and Kyrie Irving are available? Or is LeBron James not recovering in time from a sprained ankle to skip a Lakers-Suns match despite Anthony Davis and Russel Westbrook still around? Durant and James are such iconic players whose absence from their teams could have a tremendous impact on a game – a fact sportsbooks acknowledge that they move the lines quickly or mark these as circled games.

ATS ODDS DROP ON CIRCLED GAMES

The flip side of circled games, however, is that bettors can still get a better value on such matches. A +8 to +5- point drop is usually registered against the spread (ATS) odds on NFL and NBA matches on circled games, mainly if a key player has been officially ruled out a play based on the latest injury report.
Improved odds are received by punters once they place their money before the official announcement on the player’s injury report. Bettors are still urged to do their proper research before placing bets on circled games, which could get tricky if all aspects are not considered.
It still helps to hold on to that money before placing your bets close to game time to determine if your favorite superstar shows up and finds value on that certain match.

RISK-TAKERS READY FOR BIG PAYOUT

But some bettors who are risk-takers still see circled games as an opportunity to get a big payout. The uncertainty surrounding the match – will LeBron show up? Is Popovich calling the shots? Will a snowstorm postpone a Chicago White Sox-Philadelphia Phillies matchup in the MLB?
The unpredictable line movement among sportsbooks offers a tremendous value, something risk-taking bettors with deep pockets might find it hard to pass up.
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