What is Middle Betting? Ultimate Guide

Betting on the middle is one of the hardest betting strategies, often reserved for professional bettors. Nonetheless, it is highly profitable. The gambling world is no stranger to strategies and risk, so adding this practice to your arsenal is a plus. Middling positions you between two opposing bets on the same game. Of course, winning the game is easier said than done since placing two bets can drain your bankroll. In this article, our experts will guide you through all you need to know about middle betting. 

Understanding Middle Betting 

Middling involves placing two wagers on different sides of a game with various bookmakers. The aim is to land one or both outcomes and win. Also referred to as arbitrage gambling, the bettor hedges a bet by taking both sides of a two-way wager. You either win both bets or win one and lose the other or break even.

Middling is more famous in American football. Unlike the NBA and NFL, lines shift a lot between the opening time to when a game starts. Hence, bettors try to capitalize on the fluctuation. The 1979 Super Bowl XIII was one of the most prominent middling events. Bookmakers even called it Black Sunday. The reason is that sportsbooks suffered huge losses, and bettors won big. Let us explain what happened in detail so you know how success in middle betting works.

The Dallas Cowboys were the underdog going into the fixture against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a result, the opening spread was +3.5 for the Cowboys and -3.5 for the Steelers. In response, bettors flocked to place bets on the Steelers, which is not a surprise since they’re the favorite. To counter the high volume of wagering action, bookmakers increased the Cowboys betting line to +4.5. As the bookmakers anticipated, bettors started placing bets on the Dallas Cowboys. In the end, there were more bets on the Cowboys than the Steelers. 

The line changed from -3.5 and +3.5 to -4.5 and +4.5, respectively. Hence, it presented a middling opportunity. Individuals who took the Pittsburgh Steelers at -3.5 now have an opportunity to place a second wager on the Dallas Cowboys at +4.5 with another bookmaker. Note that the middle gap is 4 points. Therefore, bets win twice if the favorites defeat the underdog by exactly four points. Meanwhile, that margin of victory was unpopular in football. To everyone’s surprise, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the game 35-31. As a result, those who bet -3.5 on the Steelers and +4.5 on the Cowboys won both bets.  

Identifying Middle Betting Opportunities 

Middling puts you on either side of a bet. Although an opportunity opens up with every line change, it takes a lot to identify high-value opportunities. We recommend middling when your favorite team has a tighter spread and the underdog’s spread is wider. Likewise, the difference must be at least one. 

There are four ways to identify quality middling opportunities. First, the total increases – for instance, over 30 becomes over 34. The alternative is if the total reduces, say, 34 to 30. You may middle if the point spread becomes wider by moving away from zero. A good example is the Steelers vs. Cowboys game above. The point moved from -3.5/+3.5 to -4.5/+4.5. Finally, the point spread becomes narrower by moving closer to zero – an example is +5.5/-5.5 to +2.5/-2.5. 

The increase can be as high as possible, while the same goes for the decrease. Factors that affect fluctuation include injury updates, lineup, suspension, and other team information. We already considered what happens when a point spread increases or decreases in our scenario above. Let us do the same for totals middling. 

To middle a total bet, the over must be lower than the under for one of the two bets and vice versa. For instance, if the opening line moved from 35.5 to 30.5, you can middle. As we explained, you bet on under 35.5 and an over at 30.5. If the game finishes higher than 30 and below 35, the bets win. 

Strategies for Successful Middle Betting 

As we explained, despite its simplicity, the middle bet is hard to implement and is often used by professionals. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot pull it off. To succeed, you need only integrate research, timing, and bankroll management. 

Research and Analysis 

Middling means capitalizing on shifts in lines to make a profit. That said, live betting lines shift due to various reasons. They include significant news like player injuries, public betting patterns, and expert opinion. Therefore, analyze the trend, including past line movements to identify patterns that reveal middling opportunities. When performing marketing analysis, use AussieCasinoReviewer to find sports betting sites that offer the best lines for the initial and subsequent bets. As you already know, online sportsbooks don’t offer the same lines and betting odds. Hence, follow the best practices for choosing a sportsbook. Likewise, understand the difference between public gambling trends and who the professional sports bettors are backing. 

Monitor player and team news for updates on injuries and suspensions that can affect line movements. Likewise, evaluate head-to-head records and recent performances in home/away games. Lastly, pay attention to weather conditions and the venue, as some teams perform better or worse in certain conditions. 

Timing and Execution 

Timing is another crucial concept in middling. In other words, the difference between the initial and the secondary bet. We recommend placing the first bet immediately after the lines are released. The reason is that this is when they are most vulnerable to changes based on any of the information above. It also helps you research which way the line will move. Then, wait and watch out for real-time updates on line movements across multiple sportsbooks. 

Set trigger points for placing the second bet. For instance, when the line moves by 3 points in the direction you want. Once this parameter is satisfied, place the second bet. Don’t fall victim to hesitation, as the lines won’t always stay at the same point. Keep an eye out after placing the secondary bet. When new information suggests, cash out the bet and wait for a better opportunity. 

Bankroll Management 

Bankroll management is integral to every sports betting strategy, including middling. First, we advise you to have a staking plan. Bet the same amount on each middle to obtain a consistent return and manage risk. It can be a percentage of your total bankroll or a fixed amount. This practice will help you not to put a large portion of your money on a single bet. Instead, diversity them across multiple opportunities. 

Set a profit target and a loss limit on how much you’re winning to lose in a week or day. Once you cross the threshold, stop gambling. The limit will prevent chasing losses and making irrational decisions. Another way to manage your bankroll is to keep a record of all bets, including the lines you placed them and outcomes. With this, you might analyze successful patterns and refine your betting strategy for improvement. Lastly, place bets based on data and decisions, not emotions. Losing streaks and other emotional factors will remove objectivity from your decisions. Remember that not all games will present an opportunity for middling. Hence, wait for the right opportunities instead of forcing bets. 

Pros and cons 

Middle bet is a great strategy for bettors. It comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Let us explore the pros and cons below.

Potential for More Wins 

Middling provides a unique opportunity to win both bets if you’re lucky. Bettors capitalize on market inefficiencies to find profitable games. The need to stay informed and make quick decisions also adds an extra layer of excitement to gambling. 

Risk Mitigation 

Middling involves placing two bets. So, when the middle is not hit, one bet will still win. This strategy results in a break-even outcome and reduces losses. Unlike other ones, the risk is lower. The hedging comes in handy for bettors who are uncertain about their initial bet, as the second bet on both teams reduces potential losses. 

Requires Time and Effort 

Middling depends on line movements. Meanwhile, the movements are not predictable. Hence, sports bettors must constantly watch out for suitable opportunities and make quick-witted decisions. The process is time-consuming and requires dedication. Plus, attention to detail. 

Complex and Capital Intensive 

You need twice the capital for middling. As a result, it can take a toll on the bankroll. Likewise, the betting strategy is complex for beginners since you must realize how lines work and the factors that influence them. Although the potential for winning bet twice exists, fees like bookmaker’s commission can reduce profit margin. 


  • Potential for More Wins
  • Risk Mitigation


  • Requires Time and Effort
  • Complex and Capital Intensive

Legal and Ethical Considerations 

Middling is not illegal as long as it is offered by a licensed bookmaker. So, the first thing is to check the legality of gambling in your jurisdiction. Understand the type of wagering allowed and if middling falls under specific regulations. Licensed sportsbooks comply with regulatory requirements and are subject to oversights. For example, the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, and more. Hence, always use a licensed bookmaker. 

Check the tax laws in your area to know if winnings are subject to tax. Also, avoid actions that involve manipulating betting lines. For your safety, gamble responsibly to reduce the risk of addiction. Bet based on accurate information and in a way that promotes a healthy environment for everyone. 

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