What is a Sports Betting Middle?
Betting the middle, or middling as it is also known, is a betting strategy that can earn high profits without high risk.
Sometimes it happens by accident with thrilling and profitable results for bettors (like the Black Sunday Super Bowl XIII middle, read on for the details). It is not for the novice bettor as it requires intermediate level sports betting knowledge and access to several sports wagering accounts.
Middling is essentially betting on both sides of a game where you have a chance to win both bets. How is that possible? Let's look at an example.
Let's say the Eagles are playing the Cowboys on Sunday night. On Monday, the line opens with the Cowboys as a 7-point favorite. You like the Cowboys in the game so you take them at -7 on the early line.
Now during the week the favorites bettors are all over the Cowboys and leading up to game time the oddsmakers have adjusted the line and now Dallas is a 10-point favorite. This three point line move is especially intriguing in football because Dallas has gone from being favored by a touchdown to being favored by two scores. That is significant and opens the door to a middle.
Now on the new line, you bet on the Eagles at +10. With wagers on these two lines it is possible to win both bets if Dallas wins by 8 or 9 points. And, if the Cowboys were to win by 7 or 10 points you would still win at least one bet while getting your money back on the other on the PUSH.
Middling can be a great way to earn major profits with little risk, but it's not foolproof. You can still come out on the losing end very easily.
Say in our example that Dallas wins by three points. They would fail to cover your -7 wager, but you would still win your +10 wager on the Eagles. That 50% means you're down money due to the juice (the standard 10% commission you pay to the sportsbook to handle the action).
If you think you need a two or three-point swing for middling to work, you're not right either. There's a famous example of the middle paying off huge in Super Bowl XIII, known in bookmaking circles as Black Sunday. In that title game, Pittsburgh faced Dallas and the Steelers opened up as 3.5-point favorites.
Later in the week, that line had shifted to -4.5 in favor of the Steelers. Anyone looking to middle could have taken Pittsburgh at -3.5 and Dallas at +4.5 and hope for a four-point Steelers win.
What was the final score? Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31. Anyone lucky enough to spot the middle in that famous game pocketed some serious cash and most sportsbooks suffered one of the worst days in their history as bettors on both sides were winners.