Thursday, September 17, 2009

Las Vegas Line Movements: Tennessee vs Florida

By Micah Roberts

Each week we’re going to chronicle some of the most bet games from Las Vegas sportsbooks at what is kind of like the halfway point. Generally at this point on the week, the lines that have been moved have been pushed that way by the sharps and are influenced very little by public.

95% of the wagers made by the public will be made Friday, Saturday, and especially Sunday, while the sharps come in all week with varying strategies around town.

Those strategies that some of the sharps use are very carefully thought out and calculated to ensure they get the amount their looking to bet at the preferred line. Not only do they have to have the games handicapped, but they also have to have each sportsbook’s bookmaking philosophy down also.

The last few seasons Thursday action has been one of the more festive betting days prior to the weekend, other than Monday’s, in particular with college football action. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see up to 10 games run one after another two to three points a game during a short half-hour period. The Live Odds and competing screens would light up like New York Stock Exchange boards with both Las Vegas and Offshore books.

However, after two weeks of college football, it hasn’t been like the seasons past.

“Last week, we saw most of our big action on game day", said MGM/Mirage Director of Race and Sports Jay Rood. "We’ve had some action on a few games through the week, but the last two Thursday’s haven’t been like last year.”

South Point veteran Sport Book Director Bert Osborne is seeing the same thing, “It’s been quiet this week other than the normal action on Monday.“

Both directors agree their biggest college game they have on the board this week in the Tennessee-Florida game.

”This is definitely the most interesting game with a 30 point spread I’ve seen for some time, Rood said. Because of the action I’ve already seen across the counter, we’re even going to offer some special props for the game.”

The recommended send by Las Vegas Sports Consultants was Florida -25, but most books like the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook opened the game at -27.5 and it’s been pushed up to -30 at most books.

“The build up for this game has created a nice buzz around Las Vegas for this game, Osborne said. It’s not only the revenge factor with Kiffin’s comments back in February that make this game stand out, but it’s also the fact that there are only two games with ranked teams playing each other which magnifies this game even more.”

Osborne may be right on his assertion. If the Buckeyes were playing USC this weekend, or any of the great games from last week, the Lane Kiffin beat down party may be big only in Gator Country.

Instead, it’s caught on everywhere. People want to see either Florida hammer Kiffin, while others want to see if Kiffin’s strategy of getting into a teams’ head can diminish their style and make them play differently.

Here’s some other moves from the week through Thursday afternoon using the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook lines:

* Pittsburgh opened -7 vs. NAVY and is currently up to -8 while others are still 7 or 7.5.
* Akron opened -3.5 vs. Indiana and is currently up to -4.5 while other are around -5.
* Kansas opened -21 vs. Duke and is up to -22.5 and a high of -23 elsewhere.
* Washington opened +20.5 vs. USC and is down to +17.5 with a range of lines at 18 and 19.
* Florida opened -27.5 vs. Tennessee and is up to -29.5 with others as high as -30.
* Kentucky opened -12 vs. Louisville and is up a point to -13.5, with a high of -14 at Leroy’s.

Sunday’s pro football action has had the normal early runs on games on or around the key numbers of 3, 7, or 10.

* The Texans +7 was saw as attractive and bet down to 6.5 vs. the Titans.
* The Rams getting +10 vs. the Redskins was deemed attractive by some respected sharps and bet down to 9.5 at a few books.
* Cardinals bettors took the hook at +3.5 against Jacksonville to +3 flat.
* A few Broncos wagers have come in laying -3 flat pushing to -3 -120 vs. Cleveland.
* The Steelers have pushed the -2.5 flat to -3 even at the Bears.

The game getting the most action thus far at the South Point for Osborne has been the Cowboys-Giants game. “We usually don’t like to use money on moves around 3, so we have bounced back and forth a few times from -2.5 flat to -3 flat.”

Osborne is one of the only bookmakers in Vegas to not use money on moves and is very well respected for it, among other things. When considering all the games that have been on three over the last ten years, only one season has the move proved wrong. Between the volume accumulated by not asking bettors to lay an extra -10 cents on a valued line, the reward far outweighs the risk of when the book actually gets sided.

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