Steam Movement is defined as a fast and strong line movement in the majority of books. It is an aggregate result of smart players’ trades, one sided bets from ‘the public’ and/or substantial bets from betting groups and syndicates. It is fundamentally a shaped public opinion that makes the risk of a sportsbook very heavy on one side.
Technically, a steam move can be considered as a move of greater than 5% of previous odds and occurred in a 12 hour period. Other price moves can usually be considered as normal odds movements, price calibration, or line shading in lower betting limits of a particular sportsbook.
Chasing Steam is a futile effort in the long-run, all bets are roughly 50/50 plus the ‘vig’ or commissions charged and you’ll get a negative Expected Value. In the previous article on Sports Trading Network by the highly respected Joseph Buchdahl; Do Steamers Provide an Edge? Analysis from the English 1×2 Football Betting Market, he concluded that Steam prices relative to closing lines are indeed a losing cause much more if value betting against the public or drifted price.
Line Shopping in sports betting means looking for better odds for a certain trade across various sportsbooks. It includes maximizing shaded lines and knowledge of different vig, ‘juice’ or commission. Many years ago, odds for handicaps are set to 1.85 or -118, sometimes lower, as a normal occurrence. Today, 1.90 or -110 is the acceptable price for either side, as some sportsbooks are offering as high as 1.952 or -105.
For example, the correlated market Line Shopping for a particular sportsbook in 1×2 and -0.5 Handicap in football, which in theory the moneyline of the favourite team must be equal to the -0.5 price of its handicap. However in practice, many sportsbooks put up the -0.5 handicap odds in +2% lower/higher. (Home: 1.95, Draw: 3.25, Away: 4.00, while HC are Home: -0.5|1.90, Away: +0.5|1.90) The same is true to other sports; a certain handicap has a corresponding Moneyline value which is exploitable for players.
In general, Line Shopping can be the difference between a winning or losing season for traders, let alone the many thousands of picks for handicappers or high volume or high frequency trading strategies of players and groups. Cherry Picking among the highest odds in the market preceded if a player has already formed an opinion, otherwise he is prone to unnecessarily picking the underdogs most of the time.
Combining Steam Betting and Line Shopping can be your winning strategy in sports betting without personal knowledge of any sports. Thus, giving a trader a wider range of sports and leagues to wager, skipping the in-depth analysis of a particular market.
First, a reference sportsbook must be set. The reference should have a high limit/high volume trading, they moved the prices in a laddered pattern and must not simply copy prices to its close competitors after they open their market. The sportsbook may be specialized in regional sports or particular sports thus can open and move prices at ease without strong influence from other sportsbooks. The reference sportsbook is the one which will tell you the steam moves as it happens.
Next, the trader should set up accounts in various sportsbooks, preferably with a competitive vig or commission. These sportsbooks are likely to be simply copying prices from various leading sportsbooks or adjusting prices enough not to offer arbitrage in the betting industry; otherwise they offer arbitrage most of the time which is great. These are the ones practicing line shading on favorites and offering enough value for underdogs. These are the exploitable among the market.
To run the strategy, traders look for the odds which are steaming in your reference sportsbook then compare it to the prices of other sportsbook with which you have an account. You can see now the discrepancies of prices, as the other sportsbooks are too slow to adjust prices or protecting some risk on their own that Steam movements is a little importance at the moment until Line shoppers swamped them. The -4.29% expected value in the following steam moves in Do Steamers Provide an Edge? Analysis from the English 1×2 Football Betting Market can now be mitigated by the 5% or better odds offered in the other competing sportsbooks.
But be wary of various sportsbooks’ terms in betting limits. Continuously winning against them may result in lower betting limits. Further, some sportsbooks specialize in regional sports so that they have the edge even if they are offering better odds, like if you have an Asian book and betting on Asian football.
The strategy can be aided by various websites that offers odds changes with time stamp and percentage of dropped odds for a particular reference book. Meanwhile, some punters are guided by software for better viewing or execution. If arbitrage betting is risky with various sportsbook terms and the lifespans are really short, thus Steam Betting plus Line Shopping is the optimal way of wagering without delving into statistical analysis of the sport. And you are guaranteed that you can beat the closing line, most of the time.