What is Closing Line Value in Sports Betting? How to Track Closing Line Value

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Matt ModiJune 1, 2022 at 05:20 PM

What is Closing Line Value?

In simple terms: closing line value (also called CLV) refers to the value of a bet compared to the line when the market closes.

Comparing the closing line to the line that was bet allows bettors to know if their bet beat the closing line and got a good bet, or if the line moved against them. What does this mean? Let me explain.

What is Closing Line Value in Sports Betting? How to Track Closing Line Value

As you can see in the screenshot above, the current line on this Cowboys/Eagles game is Cowboys -7. What we all know, though, is that number isn’t static. That -7 spread is going to fluctuate as the week goes on based on new information that comes out between now and gametime, as well as the number of bets they are getting on each side. 

The closing line would be what the spread is right when the game starts. 

So, if you bet on the Cowboys at -7 and the closing line ends up being -5 you would not have earned closing line value. Conversely, if the spread ended at -10 then you would have beat the closing line and gained closing line value. The goal here is to always gain as much closing line value as you can. 

Why is Closing Line Value Important?

Every sports bettor is going to track their wins and losses in terms of profit and also number of bets won vs number of bets lost. This is obviously important, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Instead, sharp bettors determine the quality of their bets by monitoring them vs the closing line. 

If your bet beats the closing line then that is determined to be a good bet, and the more you are able to beat the closing line the more you will profit in the long run. 

Generally, the closer we get to the game the more accurate the lines are going to be. This is because the more information Vegas has at its disposal the better they are able to determine lines. So, if you get a bet at +100 and the CLV ends up at -110, the market is telling you that this bet has a 52% chance of hitting, but the odds you got it at would reflect only a 50% chance. Stacking bets like this is how sharp bettors are able to turn a profit betting on sports.

Similarly, let’s say you bet the Cowboys at -7 and then reports come out that they are going to rest Dak Prescott and other starters and the line drops to -3. In this case, you would not have beaten the closing line. If the Cowboys end up winning by a margin between 4-6, not betting the closing line would have been the difference between winning and losing the bet. This is how people consistently lose money betting on sports.

How to Beat the Closing Line

Understanding why it is important to beat the closing line is all fine and dandy, but useless if you don’t know how to consistently do so. Luckily, beating the closing line is OddsJam’s bread and butter.

Positive Expected Value Betting

The easiest way to consistently beat the closing line is to bet Positive Expected Value bets

What is Closing Line Value in Sports Betting? How to Track Closing Line Value
What is Closing Line Value in Sports Betting? How to Track Closing Line Value

Positive EV betting is explained in greater detail in the link above, but the above screenshot is an example of what a Positive EV bet is. OddsJam calculates the Perfect Line for a bet, and provides opportunities where sportsbooks differ. In this specific example, the OddsJam Perfect Line has Saddiq Bey under 2.5 assists priced at +101, but you can get that same bet at +130 at Caesars sportsbook.

This means that the OddsJam Perfect Line gives this bet a 46.33% chance of winning (with the vig removed), while the +130 odds implies a 43.48% chance of that bet hitting. These are the types of bets that will consistently beat the closing line, because they are sharp, profitable bets.

Line Shopping

This next method won’t guarantee you’ll beat the closing line as often as Positive EV betting, but it is still incredibly helpful, it is to make sure you are always getting the best line on the bets you want to make. To do this, you need to be signed up for as many sportsbooks as possible so that you can always find the book with the best line. Lucky for you, OddsJam has another tool that makes this easy, and it is the odds pages for each of the major leagues and sports. 

What is Closing Line Value in Sports Betting? How to Track Closing Line Value

The screenshot above lists all the sportsbooks that are legal in Virginia, and what their moneyline odds are for the same Cowboys Eagles game. If you thought that the Eagles had a chance to win this game and wanted to bet them straight up, then you should line shop for the best odds.

You would be doing yourself a disservice if you stuck with DraftKings and bet the Eagles at +185 moneyline when 4 different sportsbooks had them at +190. If the CLV for the Eagles moneyline ends anywhere between 186-189 then line shopping would have been the difference between beating the closing line and not doing so. 

This obviously wouldn’t guarantee that your bet will win, but consistently getting the best odds will maximize your profits over time. If there were two gas stations right across the street from each other and one was 50 cents more expensive, why would you choose to get gas there?

Timing

Lastly, sharp bets that are made earlier in the week are generally better than later in the week. It is a general rule to try to get in on a market earlier rather than later. The reason for this is because the sportsbooks will change the odds as the money comes in. So, if you are consistently betting on sharp bets, then more times than not your bet will beat the closing line. 

How to Track Closing Line Value

Luckily, tracking CLV is a huge feature of the OddsJam Bet Tracker

The key is to make sure that you track every bet you make on the OddsJam website, luckily it is as easy as a click of a button. 

There are two ways to track CLV. The first way is to track if your specific bet beat the closing line, and the second way is to track what percent of your bets total beat closing line.

The first way is shown directly in the OddsJam Bet Tracker. 

What is Closing Line Value in Sports Betting? How to Track Closing Line Value

It is pretty simple. The Odds column shows the odds of your bet, and the CLV tells you what the closing line was. Green = good. Red = bad. Meaning green is every bet that beat the closing line, and red is every bet that did not.

The key is to understand that not every single bet you make is going to beat the closing line, but as long as you beat the closing line more times than not then you will be profitable in the long run. 

In order to find out what percent of your bets beat the closing line you need to navigate back to the home screen. 

What is Closing Line Value in Sports Betting? How to Track Closing Line Value

One of the tables will have a percentage, and under that percentage will say “% Beat CLV.” Hovering over the question mark will have that text box show up that tells you what this number represents.

If it wasn’t obvious, that 75.6% number means that roughly 75% of bets placed for this account beat the closing line. That is a very good number from one of our sharper bettors.

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