Sportsbetting 101: What is Middling?

Written by superuser | March 30, 2022

Sportsbetting 101: What is Middling?

Key Points

  • Smarter bettors know where to look to find bets where they can use a middling strategy.

  • Understanding key numbers in NFL games can help bettors find middling opportunities.

One of the things bettors learn early in their sports betting careers is that lines are never set in stone. In the NFL for example, lines are released a full week ahead of the actual games.

From the time a line is released until the game begins, a number of things can happen. Any of those things can affect a line and cause it to change. There are all sorts of factors including injuries and weather that can result in a line change.

Line changes are something that smarter bettors can take advantage of if they know what they are doing. Middling is a strategy that bettors can use to ensure a win. To do so, a bettor must understand the strategy, know how it works, and ultimately know when to use it.



Like the name itself, bettors are essentially putting themselves in the middle of a bet. They do so in the hopes that they will win not once, but twice.

Sports bettors place a wager on both sides of a bet. The goal is to win both bets but, at the very least, the bettor is guaranteed at least one win. An example is the easiest way to see how the strategy works exactly.

Example of Middling

Here is an example of how the strategy of middling can be used. In the example below, the Bengals and Steelers are playing a game in which Cincinnati is a 2.5-point favorite at .

Cincinnati-2.5 (-110)

Pittsburgh+2.5 (-110)

A number of factors lead you to the decision to get in on the Bengals early. You wager on Cincinnati to cover the 2.5-point spread.

Later in the week, new information leads sportsbooks and oddsmakers to adjust the line to Cincinnati -3.5.

Cincinnati-3.5 (-110)

Pittsburgh+3.5 (-110)

Here is a situation in which you can “middle” the bet. You wager on the Steelers to cover the 3.5-point spread. What you are hoping for is that Cincinnati wins by exactly three points. Should that occur, you would win both sides of the bet.

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If Cincy wins by more than three, you still win your original bet. That is the idea with the strategy of middling.

In one of the greatest examples of middling, bettors in Super Bowl XIII wagered on Pittsburgh to beat Dallas. The Steelers were a 3.5-point favorite. At game time, the closing line was Pittsburgh -4.5.

Middling bettors wagered on Dallas to cover +4.5. Those bettors made out that day as the Steelers won 35-31.

Key Numbers

Understanding key numbers in football gives NFL bettors an idea of when middling can and should be used. Most games end in scoring margins of three and seven points. Four, six, and ten are also popular.

Knowing these key numbers, bettors can look for potential middling situations. Super Bowl XIII was a classic example as roughly four to five percent of NFL games end with a scoring margin of four points.

The original example with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati is an even bettor one as the most common scoring margin in the NFL is three points.

Before you go, check this out. 5 reasons to make America’s Bookie No. 1!