Betting Lines 101, or, Why FSU -3 @ CU is music to my ears



FSU is now favored by 3 points @ Clemson. 48 hours ago, it was a coin toss.

Odds makers try to keep the betting line smack dab in the middle, where 50% of the TOTAL MONEY being bet lands on either side. It's not about the number of people betting one way or the other, its about the bottom line, the money. They hope that the bets will perfectly cancel each other out no matter what happens, and the house rakes whatever percentage from every bet. This is how sports books make their money. And they will move the line around a LOT, if necessary, in order to maintain that 50/50 cash balance on either side... so that (in theory) they cannot ever lose money.

So naturally then, they don't care much if I bet a hundred bucks on FSU; betting lines are most heavily influenced by big-time professional Vegas bettors. We are talking thousands and thousands per bet here. In this case, they are moving the line by betting FSU, HARD, after:

A) Clemson was exposed yesterday on offense, scoring only 17 on a team that FSU hung 41 on (both teams had a defensive score against Boston College),

2) Georgia's UGLY loss to Mizzou casts quite a shadow on Clemson's marquee win, all those weeks ago to open the season,

and finally,

D) The college football world has finally accepted that Jameis Winston is not just a special quarterback, but a once-in-a-generation type of talent.

The professional gamblers, who stake so, so much money on these games that they (a very small group) actually move the needle for the entire rest of the country one way or the other, tend to know a lot about the game in question. They know every player, from the stars to the backups, the positional match ups, the concepts employed by both teams on offense and defense, key injuries, hell... they even try to predict if/how the weather will factor in. And the most successful ones seem to have a keen sense of "smell," for lack of a better word. They just pick winners.

These guys know their stuff. They are not fans of either team, because bias clouds judgement. And they are betting the farm on FSU over Clemson.

Go Noles.

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