The 3 Best Times to Place Sports Bets

Taking Betting Line Notes

When is the best time to place sports bets at online betting sites? The best time to bet has been a long-standing debate between sports bettors. Should you take advantage of opening lines or wait until the last minute on closing lines?

Opening and closing lines are likely one of many questions you might have regarding the best time to place a sports bet. However, if you can ascertain whether betting on the opening or closing time is better value, you are trending towards being a profitable sports bettor.

Additionally, when is the best time to take advantage of live betting odds? Live betting sites offer bettors the opportunity to place wagers while the game is in process. Should you be wagering on live betting odds to begin with?

Let’s explore the best time to place sports bets and our tips for handling opening and closing lines. We will answer all of these questions and more below.

The Importance of Placing Sports Bets At The Right Time

Before we get into the best time to place sports bets, it is important to understand why you should care. If you have any intention of being a profitable sports bettor, betting at the right times is crucial.

Why? The ultimate goal of any professional sports bettor is to get the most value out of their wager. The best way to do this is by beating the closing lines. This does not guarantee a winning bet, but these gamblers are more profitable over the long term.

Sports bettors that can consistently beat the closing lines are going to be in a good position to have success across a large sample size of bets. They are getting the most value out of their sports bets.

There is a reason why sports betting sites keep close tabs on bettors that are always beating lines and getting the most value. Needless to say, they do not like customers that have an edge by finding the best time to bet.

When Is The Best Time To Place A Sports Bet?

  • Opening Lines Have The Best Value
  • Closing Lines Are Sharp, But Include Updated Information
  • Best Time To Bet On Live Betting Odds
  • Stale Lines After Injury Announcements
  • Mentally Fit and Alert

1. Opening Lines Have The Best Value

One of the best ways to bet on sports is when the lines are first released. In sports like football where each team only has one game a week, you often see lines six or seven days before the game.

In games like baseball and basketball, you have to move faster because lines are opened less than 24 hours before some games.

Early lines can be quite a bit different than the lines right before a game. Once the sportsbook sets lines and bets start coming in, the lines can change based on what the majority of the public is betting on.

Once a large number of bets come in, most sportsbooks are more concerned with balancing the handle on the sides than actually predicting the final score.

In fact, sportsbooks set lines where they think they can balance the handle instead of trying to predict a final score. This is why you can often find better value betting on early lines if you’re a good handicapper.

The early lines can move quickly because many sharp bettors bet on them. This alone should tell you all you need to know about why betting early is a good strategy. Anything that winning sports bettors do is something you should consider doing.

The downside to betting on the early lines is that you can have a key injury or something that changes the way you handicap a game happen after you make a bet. But, when this happens, you can make a second bet to hedge the first one to lower your risk.

2. Closing Lines Are Sharp, But Include Updated Information

The argument for waiting until just before a game starts to place bets, is centered on gathering and using all of the information you can. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea, but the problem is that sometimes, the lines are tighter right before the game. When the lines are tighter, it’s more difficult to find value on either side of a game.

If you have an advanced handicapping system that effectively uses vast amounts of data, waiting until game time to make your bets can be more profitable than betting early lines.

But the truth is that most bettors don’t use advanced handicapping systems, so they’re just punishing themselves with tighter lines by waiting.

If you don’t know how to effectively hedge early bets when big news comes out, you should also wait until late to place your wagers. When you’re handicapping MLB and NBA games, the timing of your wagers isn’t as important because there isn’t as much time between games.

When I bet on MLB, I always wait until the lineups are released because a single star that gets a night off can change the expected outcome of the game. Most serious MLB bettors do this also, and the sportsbooks have access to starting lineups as fast as anyone.

This means that the books can usually adjust their lines before you can get a bet down based on the lineup. This isn’t good for you, but it’s something to keep in mind if you bet on MLB.

Weather Is An Important, Last Minute Factor

Weather reports for outdoor sports are also incredibly important information for sports bettors. When wagering on baseball or football, always take a look at the forecast before locking in your bets. If you want to bet on the Over/Under, the odds can be completely dependent on the weather.

Despite extended forecasts not being the most reliable, they can provide an idea of what is to come. For instance, during football season, there is a potential snowstorm expected for next weekend in Buffalo.

Will you guess that there will be snow and wind on Sunday and jump on the Under when the line opens? It is a good move if a snowstorm is certain. However, no one knows what the weather will be from 1:00 p.m. EST to 4:00 p.m. EST this far away from kickoff.

When there are uncertain weather forecasts, it might be worth waiting for an updated forecast on the day of the game. Betting on the opening line in this instance can be more of a 50/50 proposition.

3. Best Time To Bet On Live Betting Odds

Sports bettors should not limit themselves to just pre-game odds. In-game betting opens up an opportunity for finding even more value in a game.

Your sports betting strategy should always take live betting into consideration. This does mean that you always have to live bet on sporting events every day. In fact, there might be weeks when you don’t make one live bet.

Do not live bet events that you did not do research ahead of time. If you aren’t familiar with the pre-game odds and other variables, it is hard to know if you are getting the best value or not.

Many bettors wager on live betting odds because they are bored and just need some action on a televised matchup. Betting, because you are bored, is not an excuse for getting involved in bad odds.

Instead, go through your normal schedule for researching and handicapping games. There will be pre-game odds where you spot value and you’ll bet before the matchup begins. However, for other games, you might like a team, but the line isn’t where you want it.

Let’s look at this example of the Las Vegas Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs:

Opening Lines:

  • Las Vegas Raiders +8 (-110)
  • Kansas City Chiefs -8 (-110)

Live Betting Odds:

  • Las Vegas Raiders +4.5 (-110)
  • Kansas City Chiefs -4.5 (-110)

You like the Chiefs, but laying -8 seems like too many points. Rather than bet into a line you don’t like, you can wait for better value with live betting odds.

Of course, it isn’t always going to work out in your favor. The Chiefs could get out to a quick start, but there are always going to be more games. Do not force any live bets.

You can replace this example with other sports and wagers, including moneylines and over/under. A slow start between two high-scoring teams can result in great value on the Over.

4. Stale Lines After Injury Announcements

Injuries play a vital role in how oddsmakers shape their betting lines. What happens after the opening line is released? If there is news of a major injury, the odds will react and shift.

Some sportsbooks are quicker than others when it comes to adjusting their odds. There are online betting sites that will leave stale lines on the board for longer than they’d like.

This is the best time to place sports bets. The odds aren’t going to be there forever, so you can’t wait very long. The best strategy for finding stale lines is to have accounts at multiple online sportsbooks.

As we said, there will be oddsmakers that will remove the odds from the board almost instantaneously with the announcement. However, this isn’t always the case at other betting sites.

Having money in a few sportsbooks is your best option for taking advantage of stale lines following injury announcements or any big news.

5. Mentally Fit and Alert

We all have bad days and weeks in our lives occasionally. I am not talking about bad days in sports betting. Sports betting has to take the backburner to life events sometimes.

When you aren’t of a sound mind and totally focused on sports betting, you should probably consider passing. This isn’t the best time to bet on sports. Betting when you aren’t mentally fit can alter your decision-making.

Making bad bets with less than desirable value is often the consequence. Following bad bets, chasing losses usually happens when you aren’t feeling right mentally. This has the potential to snowball into heavy losses.

Many of us will gamble to feel better about our current situation. However, it has the potential to make you feel even worse. For your own health and the health of your bankroll, wait until you feel better mentally to bet on sports.

Where Should You Place Sports Bets?

Now that you know when the best time to place sports bets is, it is time to find legitimate real money betting sites. When it is time to place sports bets, only play at reputable sportsbooks that provide a top-notch experience.

Currently, our top pick to bet on sports online is the BetUS online sportsbook. BetUS has hundreds of sports betting odds, prop bets, futures, and exotic wagers 24/7 throughout the year.

This is an online sportsbook where you will not have to worry about technical issues with the website being unavailable. During our time betting at BetUS, the website has had an uptime of better than 99% over the last five years.

Sharp bettors that understand the best times to bet know that having a functional website that works is important. BetUS also provides sports bettors with a quick and easy to deposit and withdraw money from their accounts.

Following your deposit, new bettors at BetUS will receive a 100% sports betting bonus of up to $2,500. The $2,500 can be used to bet on the house courtesy of BetUS. If you want to try a few hands in the casino, you can with a 25% welcome bonus of up to $625.

That means a total bonus of 125% up to $3,215 at BetUS! It is often difficult to find lucrative bonuses at reputable online betting sites, but at BetUS, you can get it all in one place.

About the Author
Rick Rockwell profile picture
Rick Rockwell
Sports/Casino Writer
Blog and News
Rick has been a professional writer for over 14 years with an extensive resume spanning projects and clients from around the world. But, his passions have always been sports and sports betting. Whether it’s being a credentialed media member to major sporting events, climbing into a racecar or a pro wrestling ring, Rick’s sports and sports betting knowledge, passion and versatility is on display with each article he writes for TSG.

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