Steam Plays or a Steam Move is a sudden, drastic and uniform line movement that effects the entire sports betting marketplace. Steam is the result of a sudden overload of money placed across multiple sportsbooks and, in most cases, occurs due to betting syndicates and a few insiders with the capital to “lay down heavy” at multiple locations, all at once.
Many bettors try “Chasing Steam”, and are always on the lookout to find a slow-moving sportsbook that still has the original number posted. While this can be profitable if the information causing the steam is valid, it’s very difficult to consistently hit Steam Plays accurately because you need a huge bankroll, accounts at several sportsbooks and lots of time to constantly track the odds.
Plus, insiders understand the desire of bettors to chase Steam and will knowingly bet one side of a game to move the number in their favor, then “buy-back” even bigger. This process is also know as “middling” or “scalping”.
As a result, it’s extremely difficult to identify which moves are legit and bettors go broke very quickly trying to make steam plays after every move in addition to chasing “fake outs”. A chasers mentality will have a player hemorrhaging money in no time.
Wannabe sharpies often ponder on how to use Steam Plays and whether they should be chasing every move.
For them the answer is no. Only the bookies will make money with this strategy.
Sticking to a strict Betting Against the Public strategy that maximizes line value by fading public favorites. You can do this by analyzing betting trends data and how a line has moved throughout the day or week. And blindly fading public favorites isn’t enough. you need look for games where you see sharp action taking the same side.
The example below is from a slate of NCAA basketball games that illustrates a Steam Move, triggered at 5Dimes, on UAB vs Creighton.
Steam plays and Steam Moves
Analysis of College Basketball Betting Trends shows the most profitable level for betting against the public in college basketball is when one team is receiving less than 25% of spread bets.
While tracking steam is important when attempting to identify steam plays, combining betting trends data, sharp money triggers (Steam Moves and Smart Money Plays) and shopping for the best line will maximize value while not leaving your bankroll exposed with too many wagers pending at once.