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How to bet when there's breaking news

By Adam Burke  ( 

November 14, 2021 11:09 AM

The around-the-clock news cycle is always churning and one of the best characteristics of a place like Twitter is that you get news immediately and can see the instant reactions. Some bettors and books have inside sources that find out information quicker than the general public. Other times, we all find out at the same time and the race is on to try and fire off those bets before the books take the game down or make the line adjustment.

I got to the Ben Roethlisberger news late and the line had already adjusted, which is something that will happen a lot with all the happenings in our daily lives. While doing BetCenter, Adam Schefter’s tweet came out about how unlikely it was that Kyler Murray will start today for the Cardinals. The spread barely moved. The total came down a couple of points.

That aforementioned race between bettor and book is an interesting one. If those of us on this side of the counter don’t make it in time, we don’t get any line equity out of the news. The adjustment gets made and then the bettors tell the books if the adjustment was big enough.

What you really don’t want to do is just take the new number without a second thought. The reality is that it is extremely hard to quantify a single player’s value to the point spread. In the case of Roethlisberger, he is a shell of the player he once was and the drop-off between him and Mason Rudolph may truly only be a couple of points. It could be more than that. But, don’t just rush to bet the Lions 6 because Ben is out. That was a line that was dropping throughout the week anyway and now you’re simply taking the worst number we’ve seen.

In the case of Murray and the Cardinals, the spread barely moved with the Schefter tweet, which should imply that Murray’s likely absence was already accounted for in the marketplace. Furthermore, a healthy Colt McCoy might be a better option than a less-than-100 percent Murray, especially with PJ Walker on the other side.

If you can get in to a breaking news story before the line adjusts, like Chiefs PK last week with the Aaron Rodgers news, by all means do it. If you get there late, be patient and see what the number does and where it goes. It may be that the sportsbooks and other bettors overreact to the news. Unless you’re getting serious line equity, there is no harm in letting the dust settle.

A better time to prey on news like this is with in-game wagers. When a player gets hurt during a game, sometimes the live betting algorithms and the traders responsible for those odds can’t get to the news quickly enough. The loss of a player over the course of a game may end up being even more detrimental.

Think about it. The Cardinals have given McCoy reps with the first team for basically two weeks in practice now. The Steelers are still basically running the same offense and Rudolph has gotten plenty of reps with everybody, especially since Ben seems to miss practice a fair amount.

During a game, though? That’s a different scenario and situation to be sure. Depending on the player, having to adjust on the fly is tough and if it happens in a game you are watching, you may be quicker on the draw than the books can be with so many other things drawing attention.

Sometimes you’ll be fortunate and grab a line at one of your outs before it adjusts. If you’re not on it fast enough, there is nothing wrong with just waiting to see how it all plays out.

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