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Gambling 101: What is a Middle Betting Result?

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a look at what it means to “middle” a sports betting option. Since middling is the most desirable wagering result - how do bettors hit the sweet spot?

Cashing tickets on one side of a betting option is fantastic, but collecting on both sides is even better. Prior to discussing the present, let’s take a quick look at one of the most famous middle results in sports gambling history.

Known as “Black Sunday” in Las Vegas - Super Bowl XIII was a thriller for bettors and a nightmare for bookmakers. Played on January 21, 1979, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Pittsburgh versus Dallas was a much anticipated championship matchup.

Sportsbooks in Las Vegas posted Pittsburgh as the early favorite with a -3.5 point spread. Bettors quickly pounced on the line and wagered heavily on the Steelers. The line was moved up to -4 but that didn’t deter Pittsburgh backers and bookmakers still didn’t take in much money from Dallas bettors. When the line moved up to -4.5 money streamed in on the Cowboys. After Dallas scored in the final minute - Pittsburgh won 35-31 and sportsbooks lost a bundle on both sides.

How do Bettors Create a Possible Middle Result?

Middle opportunities are common when betting on point spreads and game totals. A wise practice to follow, prior to placing any sports wager, odds shopping is the main key to creating a possible middle result. Funding an account at two or more sportsbooks is the easiest way to set up wagers with a middle opportunity. Since bookmakers often post similar odds, betting on a middle result requires taking a risk that will pan out as a generous profit or a small loss due to juice.

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Odds on the Detroit vs. Chicago contest during the 2020 NFL season offers an example of a possible game total middle.

To set it up, a wager is required on the UNDER at DraftKings (44.5) and the OVER (43.5) total at FanDuel. If $110 is bet on both sides, and the final score adds up to exactly 44 points, bettors cash both tickets and collect a $200 profit. The negative here is any score, other than 44 total points, will result in a net $10 juice loss on the two wagers.

Player and Team Prop Options are Prime Middle Targets

Proposition options are often a prime middle candidate as different odds are available at various bookmakers. During his 2020 rookie NFL season with Cincinnati, bookmakers were conflicted on how many passing yards Joe Burrow would post. Bettors could wager on the UNDER (3800.5) prop odds at FanDuel and the OVER (3700.5) total at DraftKings. With the rather expansive 99-yard cushion - if Burrow posts between 3701 and 3800 pass yards both tickets cash.


Middle Result Betting Bottom Line

Attempting to cash in on middle betting options requires diligent odds shopping and picking the proper spots. Bettors need to have a keen eye to spot line discrepancies and then wager on the odds before they disappear. Since results need to be very precise, players are reminded that taking shots at hitting the middle often results in more losing tickets than winners. That said, the original investment risk is low so bettors can take a chance at middling when an opportunity exists.