Monday, October 4, 2010

Bettors Still Holding their Own in College Football Through 5 Weeks

Saturday's college football action went well early for the Las Vegas sportsbooks, but once the late games came they gave a lot of the winnings back. Games like AlabamaIowa andHawaii all went the players’ way, while games like Oregon-Stanford and Washington-USCwere split down the middle. Unlike the pro game, bettors are holding their own against the books, but the books are still ahead after five weeks of action.

UNLV Gets The Cover
It wasn’t too long ago that we weren’t able to bet on Nevada college teams in the sportsbooks, but late in Saturday night’s Nevada-UNLV game it was apparent that just about everyone remaining in the crowd at the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl had action and was worried about their cover. UNLV had scored with just over four minutes to go making the score Nevada 44-26, a cover for those who bet UNLV taking the 21 points. With 30 seconds to go Nevada had taken the ball to the UNLV 2-yard line when the sparse crowd began chanting, “No more plays, no more plays.” Nevada did run one more play, but didn’t score and the game was over giving some cheers for UNLV fans who bet the game somewhat of a victory despite the official scoreboard saying UNLV lost the game.

Line Move Followers Get Beat
There is a large faction of bettors out there who do well by simply following the line moves of games, waiting and watching for certain books to have similar changes over the same time span and then immediately betting it themselves. This saves them the time and effort of actually handicapping and also gives them hope of being on the smart side while only losing a point or a half of what the initial line was.

The hope is to be on the same side as one or two of the top betting syndicates who usually do very well with their plays and have a great knack for picking against errors in ratings and spreads among the large menu of games. On some occasions, if the move is large enough and straddles a key numbers, they followers even bet the other side paying for a chance at a middle opportunity.

The followers get a feel for how some of the larger books move their lines. If it’s a half-point move on a game that is minus-8, they don’t get too worked up about it and let the play pass, unless four more respected books do the same. But when that eight-point spread moves a point-and-a-half, that’s when everyone gets worked up in the follower’s world because that’s a signal that the book got a play from a very respected player.

That theory only works with how high the initial spread is. If it’s a double-digit spread in the -20 range and moves a point-and-a-half, it’s not that big a deal because most sportsbooks move quicker with larger moves the higher the spread is.
Generally, by the time this happens, the hordes of followers with their decent size bets have now pushed the line even further. In most cases, these games will eventually wind up being 2 to 3 points higher than what they started with.

Knowing this, some of the betting syndicates like to utilize this type of action for their own gain by seeding the initial bet, then letting the followers push the line up where by game day the syndicate comes down hard on the other side where the market has set a much higher price around the world.

On Saturday, the moves of two points or more went 7-9. Teams like MemphisCentral Michigan and Florida Atlantic were hit the hardest and all three games lost, while North Carolina moved three points and got there quite easily in the second half of that game.

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