Even if we don't know anything about a given team or game, conclusions can still be gleaned from line movement. Tonight's game between the Jaguars and Ravens is a good example.
The Ravens opened as a 7 1/2 point favorite at most books last Monday. By Saturday, the line was up to 8 1/2 And now, the number is 10 in most spots.
So what does that mean? Well, that's where it gets tricky. Certain professional handicappers have the power to move a line in Vegas by themselves. If a sharpie that the books fear puts $20K on the Ravens, the books know that their number might be off and they need to move it.
It's also possible that the line moved because of a massive amount of public money on a game. Meaning millions of "square" dollars hammering the Ravens and the books fear they are overexposed on one side. That could certainly be the case here with about 70 percent of bettors on Covers.com picking the Ravens to cover.
It's dangerous to simply bet off line movement, but it's one tool we can use. If the line was holding at 7 1/2 despite 70 percent of the money coming in on Baltimore, I'd consider the Jaguars a strong play. That's because the books aren't afraid to take heaps of action on what they clearly deem the wrong side. But with the line moving up, I'll be staying away from the game.