Steam Moves In Sports Betting
A steam move is a change in the sports betting market that happens due to heavy betting action. Steam plays are caused by high-volume bettors or what are sometimes called betting syndicates. Although public wagering does have an effect on betting lines, high volume professional level bettors are the ones to trigger large line movements throughout the betting industry.
Steam moves are caused solely by professional level bettors who are betting much more than the general betting public. The public generally doesn’t wager enough in a short amount of time to trigger a quick and sudden massive market move. Nor are their opinions nearly as highly regarded as the wise guys high stakes sharps. One of the best ways to gain an edge on the sportsbooks is by following these moves triggered by wise money. This is known as ‘chasing steam’, and is one of the best ways to beat the sportsbook’s closing line and gain an edge on the market.
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Chasing Steam – Explained
To show an example of what we mean by ‘chasing steam’, we’ll take a look at the betting market while a steam move is occurring. Live odds can found dozens of sites these days, so getting updated live lives isn’t an issue. Bettors might notice that the consensus line across the board on a particular NFL between the Eagles and Cowboys is set on at 3. The Eagles, the underdogs are +3 and the Cowboys, the home favorite are at -3.
After an odds update, one of the more trusted sportsbooks moved the line to -4. This is a major move, particularly on the 3, which is a significant number for NFL markets. A few seconds after the line moves to -4 for the Cowboys at one sportsbook, the rest of the market begins to move their line to adjust as well.
However, there are a few sportsbooks that are slow to move their odds, and the Cowboys are still available at -3. Betting the Cowboys in this scenario would be chasing steam. We’re beating the market move caused by wiseguy bettors and locking in a price that is almost certainly going to beat the closing number. There are several reasons that sportsbooks aren’t a fan of players who chase steam moves. For one, they’re following major market moves and the opinions of top oddsmakers and professional bettors.
Secondly, since you’re beating them on odds that they have to move, the sportsbook won’t be able to offset your action by accepting wagers from the previous odds. In the above scenario, the sportsbook wouldn’t be able to offset your Cowboys -3 bet, since they would be forced to move the line to -4 or risk getting hit from even more sharps.
+EV In Chasing Steam Moves
For the most part, yes. However, there are situations where bettors may end up getting a better price with the opening number or the chance that the line continues to move in the same direction. Sharp sports bettors also know their wagers will cause the odds to move in many cases, and they may decide to bet one side to move the odds, only to “buy back” the opposite side with a larger wager.
This is an area a general knowledge of the sport can help you decipher what the sharps agenda is when it a steam move occurs. Such as what day of the week or what time a line moves. Betting a steam move may also set players up with a strong middling or arbitrage opportunity depending on where the line moves before game time. However, the clear and profitable goal of chasing steam is the beat the make by finding an inefficient line and beat the closing odds at the top sportsbooks.
Steam Betting – How Fast Do the Sportsbooks Adjust
Rather quickly. Some sportsbooks may be slower than others to move their lines, but in most cases we’re talking a matter of minutes, at most, and in some cases a matter of seconds. Many things automated these days, and the sportsbooks are running around the clock operations.
Keeping your eyes on the odds and betting immediately when you see a top bookmaker move the line a key market is what it is going to take in many cases. The sportsbooks are fast, but there is still time to beat some of them before the market fully adjusts.
Although we don’t generally advise players to use offline or local bookies, this may be a spot where players can find some serious value. Many locals are extremely slow to move their lines compared to online sportsbooks. If you have a trusted local, the edge gained may be larger than using a slow-moving online sportsbook.
Concerns About Steam Bets
Although chasing steam moves is a profitable strategy, there are potential drawbacks that bettors should consider. Sportsbooks don’t appreciate chasing steam, particularly on a large scale. If the only types of wagers you’re making are steam plays, it’s one of the quickest ways to get your account limited.
Bettors also have to be sure that the sportsbook they are playing at is reputable and won’t do something void their winnings simply because they’re steam players. Many less than reputable sportsbooks have a “syndicate, non-professional” clause in their terms and conditions. In some cases, this has led to funds being seized for steam chasing by rogue sportsbooks.
Although, the concerns of chasing steam may outweigh the positives. Sportsbooks will likely limit your action eventually if you’re a +EV playing and become a problem. Chasing steam may speed up this process, but it is still one of easiest ways to profit when betting sports.
Steam Moves Sports Betting
It may be worth mixing in some bets that are -EV to throw off managers and to not attract attention, such as large parlays or teasers. To reduce damage to your bankroll, they can be considerably smaller than your regular betting units. Remember, a lot of maximum bets on steam moves is almost always going to attract attention. If you’re doing this major markets, it may make a little more sense to someone overseeing your account. When you’re max betting smaller or more obscure sports, that will typically attract attention faster.
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