How to Read Option Flow for Beginners

The image below is a screenshot of NFLX option flow on 04.04.2022. Price is currently up +5.55% three hours into the trading day.

Here’s a quick, general summary:

  • Buying Calls = Trader buying calls, hence bullish
  • Selling Calls = Trader taking profits, hence bearish
  • Buying Puts = Trader buying puts, hence bearish
  • Selling Puts = Trader selling puts, hence bullish

Buying calls may be a trader opening a trade betting on price to go up.

Selling calls may be a trader getting stopped out or taking profits.

Buying puts may be a trader opening a trade betting on price to go down or hedging their long positions.

Selling puts may be a trader getting stopped out or taking profits.

When a trader starts a new trade position they pay the Ask price. When a trader closes a position, they pay the Bid price. Generally, here’s how we know if a Put or Call is being bought or sold:

  • AA = Above the Ask, Open Trade
  • A = At the Ask, Open Trade
  • BB = Below the Bid, Close Trade
  • B = At the Bid, Close Trade

Therefore, a Call at the ask is a trader opening a bullish trade. The larger the value of the trade, the bigger the whale is. A put at the bid is a trader closing a bearish trade meaning they either got stopped out or are taking profits. Regardless this is bullish.