Behind The Betting Lines 10/28/2004

10/28/2004 5:32PM EST
Vol. 9
by T.B.
Courtesy of

Most of us have a preconceived notion of athletes without ever having seen them up close or spoken to them.  This is especially true for the ‘prima donnas’ who are constantly in the headlines.  That’s why I’d feel remiss if I didn’t share this little tidbit.

Last night Pedro Martinez was hanging out in a bar in my hometown, he had older brother Ramon with him as well.  Pedro’s taken a lot of flack in the area for everything from his pitching to his hair to the midget guy (OK, that’s still a little weird).  But man, he couldn’t have been cooler.  Hanging out, taking pictures, signing autographs and generally just being a great guy.

This goes to show two things.  First, if you want to increase your chances of having a good night, go to a bar.  And second, the picture the media paints may not always hold true when it comes to some of these guys.

Something that did hold true last week, and it was about bleepin’ time, was that bookies should make money.  Now everyone is under the impression that bookies ALWAYS make money because they have the 10% vig.  Well that theory works under the assumption that a bookmaker can put a game out there, get 50 bets on one side and 50 bets on the other, and no matter who wins he’ll get his 10%.

I don’t know if that was ever true, but it sure as hell isn’t these days.  With casinos taking bets on the Internet it is next to impossible to get a balanced game like that.  Now you hang a number out there, watch it get pounded and hope for the best.  If you move off the true number too much, you get whacked on the other side and give away all your potential profit.

Offshore guys long for the days when you had customers calling in and you could read them whatever number you wanted.  Squares would get numbers anywhere from a half point up to 3 points off from the real spread.  With advanced technology some casinos have been able to start dealing double lines to customers based on their wagering habits but it’s still not as prevalent or as profitable as the old way.

Ah, but as I mentioned, last week was a different story.  There were still lopsided games, for sure.  The difference was the sportsbooks finally won some of them.  Seattle, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, all of them were HUGE decisions that went the bookie’s way last weekend.  Some books posted win numbers they hadn’t seen in 2-3 years.

To top it all off, Cincinnati breaking up all Denver teaser action and the game staying under on Monday night was the cherry on a very big sundae.  I had a feeling last week something like this could happen, “You almost get the feeling the numbers makers are trying to thin out the crop of sportsbooks with these numbers.  Either that, or it’s finally time for this season to start turning around.”  One weekend can’t make up for an entire month but it still felt damn good.  On to Week 8 …

Oakland @ San Diego  –  Sun. 4:15 (CBS)

Last week almost half the games had a posted number of 6 or 6.5.  This week it’s down to two teams and the Chargers at home are one of them. The game opened at -5.5 but is -6 at most places.  So once again we’re left with the question: If they’re such a strong favorite, why aren’t they a 7?

However this question isn’t deterring most people from getting all over the Chargers.  Right now 82% of the Straights and 76% of the Parlays and Teasers are on the home team.  There hasn’t been too much line movement on this one lately and I highly doubt we’ll see the climb to a full TD before game time.  Then again if the action keeps coming in like this, could be a game to hold off until right before kickoff.  Keep checking the bet graph on Sports Insights to see who panics and makes the jump.


Green Bay @ Washington –  Sun. 1:00 (FOX)

This game started at Green Bay – 2.5 and is now at, well now it’s all over the place.  Oasis has it at 2, Pinnacle at 1.5, Bowman’s at 3, Sports Interaction at 2.5.  But the public doesn’t seem to care either way as they are pounding Green Bay to the tune of 84% of the Straights and 90% of the Junk.

Depending on who you like, you have options here.  Washington (2-4) is coming off a bye week.  Two weeks ago Green Bay was 1-4 and left for dead after giving up 48 points at home to Tennessee.  Great middle opportunities abound here especially with some point buying thrown in.

Teaser Of The Week

Well we got back to our winning ways last week and in a big way.  Two home teams that were brought up to almost two touchdown underdogs and they ended up winning outright.  Arizona’s got a different mentality with Denny Green and you could see Cincinnati coming a mile away (because Denver is a different team away from Mile High).

This week the play is Indianapolis and the New York Jets.  Indy is only favored by a point, which means they’ll go up to +6.  Granted KC looks like they’re back on track but they’re not in the Colts league.  And even though Miami won last week, the Jets are just a better team, simple as that.  They lost a tough one last week to New England and getting them to + 0.5 is easy pickings.  Enjoy the games this weekend … T.B.