until Texas vs Kansas

Wednesday, October 26


The Worst Yet

Ugh, another bad argument. No sooner had I posted my Bad USC Arguments post than I stumble across the worst I’ve seen yet. Boi From Troy and The Wizard of Odds are now boasting about USC being a 6 point favorite. Okay, fine, boast. The problem quickly arises when the two of them take it a step further. First, Boi From Troy:

Personally, I’d go with the oddsmakers at this point in the season, as their livelihoods are on the line when picking teams and the message from Vegas is clear: USC is already a 6 point favorite to beat the Longhorns in Pasadena on Janaury 4.

Next, The Wizard of Odds:

Well, the gambling gods have spoken. Pinnacle Sports has released a line for the Rose Bowl and USC, winner of 29 in a row, currently is a six-point favorite (and rising) over Texas. The choice as to which side to be on is clear as picking a winner from the above fray. How do you plead, Texas? We will now submit Exhibit No. 1, aka the release announcing the Pinnacle lines, as evidence.

The fallacy is especially ironic in the latter case, considering his self-proclaimed title as “The Wizard of Odds.” You’d think someone of that title might understand a little bit about how lines are set and why they move.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have exactly one job: create as much action as possible. Their job is not—in any way, shape, or form—to try to predict the outcome of the game. Their job is to get as many bets in on the game as possible. To that end, they set the line. The guy who set the line might think Texas is going to win by 10. He might think USC is going to win by 21. You certainly don’t know what he thinks by how he sets the line.

That line is set based on public perception and what he thinks will generate the most betting action. When a line moves, it does not move because supposed guru is now feeling like USC is going to win by more, or less. It moves because too many people are betting on one side. The line is adjusted to try to create action on the other side.

Lines tell us nothing about what experts think the outcome of the game will be. They tell us what gamblers think the outcome of the game will be. Understand the difference, gentelemen. Especially if you want to proclaim yourself the Wizard of Odds. I suggest the dunce cap might be more appropriate.

Also, always bet on Burnt Orange.
the problem with your argument is that it's correct, BUT not completely.

sure, they set it so it "toes the line" in terms of where the betting money is flowing. however, it is a good predictor because it shadows HOW bettors are placing their money and how they believe the game will go. since money is involved, you have to imagine a good deal of thought is placed into who to bet for. thus, the spread is usually very good at predicting the ultimate winner too. just take a look at the spread for last week and see how many predicted the winner (not who covered the spread, but who won)

in other words, you would not see Texas a 12 point underdog to OU this year, right? or even a 6 point underdog, right?
You don't see Texas as a 12 point underdog to OU this year (or even a 6 point underdog) because a great majority of the bettors think Texas is better. All the bets would be loaded to one side, which is not what the house wants. What the house wants is for the bets to be weighted equally on both sides, so they can just comfortably collect their juice. That's how it works. If bettors don't like their line and the money gets loaded up on one side, they move the line to try to swing bettors to the other side of the bet.

Do they try to set lines that are realistic? Yes. But it's important to understand what that means: just that the line has to be realistic according to bettor expectations. So a line of USC by 6 really means: we think an equal number of people will bet on USC winning by more than 6 and we think an equal number will bet that Texas will lose by less than six, or win.

They aren't interested in picking winners; they're interested in making money. Pretty simple.
yes, but again the point to make is that bettors playing with real money tend to make very informed rational decisions on who will win. thus, the line can be used as a predictor because money is involved and the bettors make better decisions that usual fanboys.

as i said, if you check the line every week on how well it predicts the winners, it will do so much better than 50% (which is chance).

earlier this year, USC opened a favorite against OU, but after cal got killed by TT (which in turn got killed by OU) the line moved strongly in OU's favor (although USC remained a slim favorite) as bettors logically made the conclusion that OU had a better chance of winning.
Well with that logic you could state that apparently the bettors playing with real money are not big believers in the horns this year as we are 7-0 against the spread (i started with $42 in my sportsbook.com account and I am now up to $310 mostly due to betting on the horns to cover). So I am happily taking the horns +6 - thank god there are so many dumb bettors out their playing with real money.
Will someone please calculate UT's percentage of points covering the spread? - I am too lazy.

Isn't it typical that the home team is given a touchdown because they have the home crowd? I know the Rose Bowl isn't their home per se, but it's pretty damn close. So if you take away the home TD, you're left with a neutral site spread of Texas being favored by 1, which makes Texas the favored team.
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great topic, keep up the great posts, MMA

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