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Line Movement Analysis in the NBA

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Title: Line Movement Analysis in the NBA
Author: Palmer, Matthew
Advisor: Owens, David M.
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Economics
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: In the National Basketball Association there are many external factors that affect the movement of a point spread from its opening line to its closing line. Injury updates, suspensions, recent game history, and public betting trends are amongst the most common reasons for a point spread to move, but it is virtually impossible to know the full reason why a line has moved. Once establishing that the bookmakers’ reasons are unknown, a careful look into the largest moving lines from open to close can provide an arbitrage opportunity for an individual gambler. This paper will analyze each NBA game’s line movement over the past six NBA seasons including playoffs to determine inefficient ratios of winning percentages when gambling on the closing line after the line has moved a certain amount. The results indicate that when the line moves three points or more, betting on the cold team can beat the bookie through repeated use of the strategy over the course of a season.
Subject: Spread betting -- United States
Subject: Basketball -- Betting -- United States
Access Restrictions: Open Access
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Palmer, Matthew. "Line Movement Analysis in the NBA". 2010. Available electronically from

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