What is CLV in Betting?

Author:

Paul R

Updated:

Sep 4, 2023

Big sports enthusiast, long-time Seahawks fan who loves betting on major pro and college sports.

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What is CLV Betting?

CLV, otherwise known as Closing Line Value is a comparison between the odds when a bet was placed and the odds when a betting market closes. It is referenced in positive and negative CLV terms.

This guide further explains this concept and provides insights to help you beat the closing line more often than not.

What Is Closing Line Value?

Closing line value occurs because betting markets are fluid and betting lines can move. Odds for some of the world’s most bet on sports such as the NFL are often posted days before the game kicks off. Ideally sports bettors want to bet at better odds than when the line closes.

A positive CLV occurs when you took better odds, and negative CLV when you took worse odds than when the game kicked off. Ultimately, you want to get better odds than when the market closed.

Closing line value – a positive CLV example

One of the most eagerly anticipated betting lines in Vegas is betting on the Dallas Cowboys.

Let’s say that when the moneyline odds are released the Cowboys are favored to win at odds of -200. Bettors may believe that these odds are generous and bettors all across the U.S may decide to bet the Cowboys to win at these odds.

Due to the volume of bets being placed, the odds makers will ensure that they aren’t on the hook for huge losses. Therefore they will shift the betting line and the odds for the Cowboys to win will be reduced to -150.

If the line were to close at -150, any bettor who placed a $10 bet on the Cowboys to win at -200 will win more than a bettor who placed the same $10 bet on the Cowboys to win at -150.

As well as being able to benefit from closing line value on outright moneyline bets, closing line value can also occur on spread and totals betting.

Negative Closing Line Value

Every bettor wants to achieve a positive closing line value, but there can be instances where the closing moneyline or spreadline will be bigger than when you first bet on it.

For example you could encounter a negative closing line value if you bet the spread +3 but the line closes at +3.5. Ideally every bettor wants to avoid this scenario.

Why Is CLV Important in Sports Betting?

Closing line value can be an important tool for a sports bettor as it can help determine whether a bettor can be profitable in the long run.

The closing line value helps measure the value of bets and the great thing is that it can easily be compared and tracked.

If bettors are consistently achieving positive closing line value numbers, this means that the bets that are being made are often more likely to be successful and can be considered smart bets.

If a bettor finds that their bets are often achieving negative closing line values, this should inform them that their current strategy isn’t working and that a change in strategy might be required.

How to Beat the Closing Line

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To ensure you are consistently beating the closing line then follow these steps below.

  • Pay attention to the opening line and pay close attention to line movement – as the opening lines for games are often released up to a week before the game begins, you will notice that the betting lines will quickly start to shift one way or another. For example if the overall points spread starts at 50 and quickly moves to 52, you can probably be assured that the line will continue to grow and could go as high as 55 or 57. If you notice a pattern in the betting line, you will need to gauge at what time you think the perfect time to place a bet will be.
  • Don’t just check betting lines once – a common mistake that recreational bettors make is that they see attractive odds and then immediately place their bets. You should try and check the betting lines throughout the week as this should help you determine the right time to place your bets.
  • Open multiple sportsbook accounts – odds aren’t universal and different betting sites will often contain different values. If you have access to multiple online betting sites, you should be able to line shop and easily compare the various different odds. This can help you earn maximum value.
  • Pay attention to factors that could impact line movement – thankfully it is now easy to keep up to date with all of the latest sports news. Injuries and suspensions can greatly impact how a betting line can move, try to keep engaged with developments throughout the week as this can be a major factor as to whether you will beat the closing line.

How to Track CLV

Tracking closing line values can be an easy thing to do.

  • Keep track of all your bets and note the difference in odds when the bets were first placed and the odds when the line closed. There are various online betting trackers that you can look to use or you can keep a note of all your bets manually. If you make regular bets, this should enable you to quickly see at a glance whether you are achieving positive CLV or not. Although you won’t win every time, a sports bettor who achieves positive closing line value is more than likely to be profitable in the long run.
  • Stay on top of the closing line. Monitoring a betting line regularly should enable you to see whether you will achieve a positive CLV or not. By tracking lines closely you might also be able to notice trends and patterns. For example certain teams may move a line quicker or there may be some teams that trigger very little movement. If you can stay on top of the betting lines you should be able to make better informed betting decisions.

How to Calculate CLV

There are three ways in which closing line value can be calculated.

  • Tracking dollars and cents
  • Win probability percentage
  • Expected value

Tracking dollars and cents

Closing line value can be obtained on both money and spread betting lines – however tracking via dollars and cents impact moneyline bets only.

If you place a $100 on a bet with +200 odds, and the odds shift to +150 when closed, your bet could see you win $50 more than someone who bet just before the closing line. $50 is half of the $100 wager, so some bettors would look at this as a 50 β€œcent” win in CLV terms.

Win probability percentage

A win probability percentage compares the win probability percentages of the odds when your bet was placed and the closing line value.

If you have placed a moneyline bet at odds of -120, this bet has a win probability percentage of 54.55%. If the market closes at -170, the win probability has moved to a percentage of 62.96%. To work out the percentage subtract the two probabilities.

  • 96% – 54.55% = 8.41%

The 8.41% suggests that your bet has more of a chance of being successful than when first placed.

Expected value

The expected value ties into the win probability that we have just worked out. To work out the expected value, take the 8.41% win probability percentage and apply that to your initial win probability percentage number which in the case of our example was 54.55%. Divide the two numbers together, this will give you a new figure, in this case it will be 15.4%. This new figure shows an increase of CLV value of 15.4%.

No matter what method you wish to use, there are numerous CLV calculators that you can use to help you work out your CLV percentages.

No Vig CLV

The ‘Vig’ is the margin that bookmakers make with every betting line. There is a way that CLV calculations can be made without considering the Vig.

Using the same example as above, if your -120 wager closed atΒ  +100, you would divide the implied probability of the -120 odds (54.55%) by the sum of the closing line probability (54.55 + 50) to reach a no-vig result.

In this case, the final outcome would be a 52.17% no-vig implied probability.

Other CLV Considerations

Another thing to consider when it comes to considering closing line value is the probability of a push. A push will mean that no money is lost and your stake will be returned. This can happen in both spread and totals betting. The math behind working out the potential for your bet to push is quite complicated. However any decent CLV calculator will help you work this out.

FAQs

What is the closing line value?

Closing line value is a simple comparison between the odds when a bet was placed and the odds when a betting line closes.

How is CLV calculated in betting?

Closing line value can be calculated in a manner of ways, but some of the most popular ways to work out CLV are to work out win probabilities, tracking the dollars and cents as well as calculating the expected CLV values.

How often should you beat the closing line?

Bettors should aim to beat the closing line as much as possible. The more a bettor beats the closing line, the more successful they are likely to be.

Is a higher or lower CLV better?

Every bettor wants to achieve a higher CLV - also known as a positive CLV.

Should CLV be less than 1?

CLV should always be bigger than 1. It won't happen every time, but if CLV figures are on average above 1 this is a good thing.

How do you find closing lines?

Closing lines are present across every sportsbook across the US. If you compare lines across sportsbooks this should help you find better CLV values.

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