October 25th, 2012 01:10 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: LSU, UF, UGA, USC
Here at MrSEC.com we’ve been known to travel out to Las Vegas on occasion in order to chat with various bookmakers about the lines that they set. If you’ve read this site for any length of time, you know that we’re told just about every summer by just about every oddsmaker who’ll talk that:
1. The line is set purely to bring in equal amounts of cash on both sides.
2. The line is set with Las Vegas gamblers in mind. The casino companies don’t care what deal you get from Vinny the Nose in Valdosta. They make money off what people spend in their sportsbooks.
3. For that reason, West Coast schools often get a little more love when it comes to setting the opening lines. Ditto Big Ten schools with their enormous alumni bases. Simple math and geography suggest casinos are more likely to be visited by Ohio State and UCLA alums on a fall Saturday than they are by Western Kentucky grads.
4. Big names get a little bump, too, because they’re big names. “Softcore” gamblers are more likely to throw money at some school they’ve heard of so big-time, traditional programs like Alabama, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma often see their lines fudged a point or two.
All that said, many fans still believe that the opening line set by Las Vegas Sports Consultants — and many Vegas’ books start with that company’s number — is truly a prediction of who will win a game and by what margin. Whenever we write a piece trying to explain that that’s not what the books are doing and that they’re simply trying to make money based in large part off local gamblers’ perceptions of teams (re-read points 1-4 above), we always get a number of responses asking us something akin to this: “Then why are those numbers so often right?”
Honest answer? They’re not so often right.
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