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=================================================    Thursday, June 19, 2003
Middling and Scalping in Sports Betting

Hello everyone,

There have been a few questions about the two terms: middling and scalping in sports betting.  Let's take this opportunity to explain what they are in this newsletter.

Middling is the technique of betting both sides of a sporting event because the points spread has changed enough that it provides a middle number that would result in both sides covering the spread. To more clearly understand have a look at this example using an NBA basketball game.

Opening Line:  Lakers –3 vs Sonics

The line is released for play in the morning with LA as a 3 point favorite. Heavy play on the Lakers forces the bookmaker to move the line all the way up to –5.5, where it levels out and action comes more equally on both Seattle and LA. The new line is 2.5 points more than the opener, creating a classic middle situation because there are now lines that could allow bets on either team to win. In this case if a bettor wagered on the Lakers at –3 when it opened he could place a new bet on the Sonics at +5.5 and win both bets if the Lakers win by either 4 or 5 points.

The first thing worth noting is that in order to create a middle the bettor needs to make the early play. One way would be to watch the publicly available odds provided by services such as Don Best. These websites display the current odds at all the participating casinos. The bookmakers update the odds every time they adjust the line. This information is watched closely by other bookmakers and when they see another casino move the line they very often, on the premise that the other bookmaker has moved due to heavy action, move their own line to match. By subscribing to one of these services and watching the line moves any player can greatly increase their awareness on the slight nuances in line movement which can create middle opportunities.

In order to begin middling at the beginner level a player should first sign-up for an odds service and start studying the action as the lines move throughout the day. By paying close attention the bettor should be able to pick out two or three casinos that consistently seem to move their lines first and set the trends that other casinos follow. Next, shop around for three or four sportsbooks to start accounts with. Several shops are needed so a wide variety of lines will be available to choose from. Begin comparing the current line at each sportsbook to the odds service and be aware of differences; this is where middles are found! Some books might not make a move as quickly as others, providing the beginner with an easy “in” on the line as it moves.

It is probably best to start out with accounts that do not use real money in order to get the feel for how each company works and to observe their bookmaking style. This sort of information will be crucial when making wise middle bets. It is also important to realize that profitable middling requires a large bankroll because bets need to be placed on both sides of the wager and the profits can be small due to the low percentages of middles that come in.

Scalping is betting both sides of a money line bet taking advantage of differences in lines. The differences in the lines must overcome the sportssbook's commission. Most likely scalps are only available at sportsbooks that offer "Dime" lines but this is not always the case. One
example is taking NY Mets -120 and the other side at a different sportsbook, St. Louis Cardinals at +130. Therefore, if NY wins you get back the $120 bet and the winnings
take care of what was bet on St. Louis. On the other hand, if St. Louis wins you get back the $100 bet and win $130. That's a $30 profit with no risk!

There are several different approaches to scalping. The first approach is by simply searching for different lines from sportsbooks across the web. There are various tools on the web that help you search.

The second approach is looking for lines using a line service such as Island Express (free) at www.donbest.com or the Premium Service ($500 a month) also at Don Best. There are others out there but not as good as either Don Best service. Basically they are grids that show all the current lines from several sportsbooks all on one page. The Premium service updates more quickly than the Island Express which allows them to get access to the the changed lines before everyone else.

The third approach is taking leads. Although taking leads can open up scalping opportunities not available to straight scalpers, it is very difficult to do and if done incorrectly can backfire on you. By taking leads the scalper bets a side in anticipation that the line will move in their direction thus being able to take the other side later in the day. Say NY Mets opens at -120 and the other side +110. Bet NY -120 in anticipation that the line will move. Later in the day the line moves in increments so that now NY is -140 and St. Louis is +130. Now you bet St. Louis at +130. Because you have taken a lead you now have the scalping opportunity described above even though at no one time the scalp was available.

The last approach takes all the above approaches into one. There are lots of scalpers who have joined "groups" in order to share the scalps they find. This lessens the work load involved in finding these lucrative opportunities. Usually they email each other or talk by instant messenger.

Wishing you all the best,
Until next week,


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