# Pinnacle Pulse 9/21/2005

Pinnacle Pulse
The inside line from PinnacleSports.com
by Simon Noble
9/21/2005

Welcome to the Pinnacle Pulse where the line managers at PinnacleSports.com look to give you an insider’s view of the point spread movement on key games each week and provide you with a little gambling theory to help you find a smarter way to bet courtesy of Pinnacle Sports.

Last week we looked at the vigorish on sides which is the bookmaker’s cut for taking your bet. With some notable dogs winning outright over the weekend, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at the vig on moneyline wagers in this week’s column.

At Lambeau Field we offered the Cleveland Browns on the moneyline at +235 and the Green Bay Packers at -255, but how easy is it to figure out the vigorish on moneylines? It’s not difficult to calculate yourself when you know how.

First convert each moneyline (ML) into a “percentage chance of winning” for each team. For favorites, that is the ML quote / (ML – 100), so Green Bay should win -255 / (-255 -100) = 71.83% of the time. For the underdog, the calculation is 100 / (ML +100), so Cleveland should win 100 / (235+100) = 29.85% of the time. If you add these two percentages together you get a figure of 101.68%. That extra 1.68% represents the bookie’s hold or vig.

There is also an easier way to find this out by using our “Multi-Way Calculator” which you will find on the main page at PinnacleSports.com. Go to the calculator, select moneylines, and enter -255 and +235. The calculator will tell you that the “percent market” is 101.68% and the “theoretical hold” (our vig) is 1.65%.

So now you’re asking yourself, “Why do the guys at Pinnacle Sports want me to know how much vig I’m paying, or give me a tool to figure it out myself?” Good question. The simple answer is that our odds offer better value. On that same game, most traditional books would use a 50 cent line and so the prices they would offer would be +205/-255. Using Pinnacle Sports “Multi-Way Calculator” this works out to a vig of 4.41% which is more than 2½ times more expensive than Pinnacle Sports.

Does this matter? It should matter as a \$100 bettor who placed a moneyline bet on the Browns to win last week would have won \$235 or \$30 more playing low juice at Pinnacle Sports than by placing the same bet at most other online bookmakers.

We price shop to save 5 cents a gallon on gas and smart bettors are just as price sensitive with sports betting. By giving players up to 60% better value than other sports books, Pinnacle Sports is the destination of choice for savvy bettors everywhere and these are the games that have attracted their early interest.

New England (+3) at Pittsburgh
The Patriots lost several key personnel on the defensive side during the off-season, and it shows. Last season, they gave up 16.3 points per game. In the first two weeks of this season, Patriots opponents have averaged 23.5 points per game. Meanwhile, the 2004 AFC runner-up Pittsburgh Steelers have outscored their opponents 61-14 in the first two weeks. In regular season games, Pittsburgh’s Rothlisberger is now 15-0 as a starter.

The game opened at Pittsburgh -2.5 -104, and was quickly driven to -3 -104 by sharp action. The line has now settled there and we’re seeing action on both teams from the sharp players.

Arizona at Seattle O/U 41.5
Totals are always difficult to evaluate for the books at the beginning of the season. Both of these teams have slightly above average offenses in terms of a yardage total – the league average is just over 300, while Arizona and Seattle average 348 and 375 yards, respectively. Both defenses are also marginally better than the league average at 286 and 292 yards respectively.

A quick and dirty approach to NFL totals is to predict how many yards of total offense there will be in a game, subtract 325 and then divide by 7.5. I thought this game would have about 650 yards, making 43 a fair opener however our opening line of 43 -105 now looks like a bad number.

All the early money was on the under, which drove the number to its current stable price. Despite moving 3 half-points this is not a giant move as 43 and 42 are relatively dead numbers. In fact early players taking Pittsburgh -2.5 received more value than someone playing under 43 on this game.

Why are people betting the under? Seattle and Arizona both underperformed for the offensive yards they generated. Last week, Arizona’s 409 offensive yards netted just 4 field goals and Seattle’s 444 yards produced only 21 points.

Tennessee (+6.5) at St. Louis
This is an interesting match up from a turnover perspective. Tennessee has a -3 turnover differential, whereas St. Louis is +2. Few events can change a game more than an interception or a lost fumble. We have all heard the saying that “Teams that turn the ball over can’t win!” but do bad teams really turn the ball over more, or are turnovers just flukes of the game that make a team look bad? Or is the truth perhaps some combination of the two?

We opened this game at -5.5 -113, and were immediately swarmed by the sharps, who quickly bet us down to -6 -109. Then, the whales moved in. These are individual players that when they take a position, they move the market. Several of these larger bettors played the favorite at -109, forcing us to move defensively to -6.5.

Georgia Tech (+11) at Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech has a different look from last year with Marcus Vick running the offense after missing last year due to suspension, while the Hokies’ defense includes 5 new starters, including 3 in the secondary. Despite the turnover in starters, Virginia Tech’s defense has posted two consecutive shutouts against Duke and Ohio.

Reggie Ball, Georgia Tech’s starting QB missed last week’s game against Connecticut due to viral meningitis. Redshirt freshman Taylor Bennet got the start and completed only 11 of 30 passes. Released from hospital Monday, Ball is questionable for Saturday. If Ball cannot make the start or is not up to form, Virginia Tech’s defense could badly embarrass the Yellow Jackets.

We opened this game at Virginia Tech -10 -105. Early action pushed it up to -10.5, where there was contention between the sharps. Public money has continued to drive this price up to -11, but the sharps are passing on that number until they receive further word on Reggie Ball.

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