In sports betting, playing the middle means placing two bets on opposite teams or totals with advantageous point spreads or lines, usually at different sports books. In order to create a middle you have to bet on a single number or even better, a small range of numbers within the spread or total of a game.
Whenever the outcome matches your number or range, you win both bets or win one bet and push the other. However, please note that most of the times you’re going to lose one side while collecting on the other; in such a case, you won’t be breaking even due to the juice. All things considered, betting the middle boils down to risking a little to win a lot.
Let’s say that you bet $110 on the Total of an NBA game UNDER 200 at -110 at Sportsbook A and $110 on the Total of OVER 196 at -110 at Sportsbook B. If the result lands 197 or 200 you win $100 and push the other bet. If it lands between 197 and 199 you get $200 by winning both bets. If it falls below 196 or over 200, you win only one bet and your net loss is $10.
Betting the middle is often considered to be a form of advantage gambling. Some online sports betting sites are notorious for lowering the betting limits for players who engage in betting the middle and/or arbitrage betting.