Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sports Betting: The Media Does Not Understand How it works.

Vegas has released their O/U win totals for the 2016 season today and you're already seeing a ton of stories like the following:

Las Vegas Projected Win Totals for the Texans, Rest of the NFL. Matt Young. Chron.com
Now that the NFL draft is over, we have a better feel for what every team is going to look like come September.
That means it's time to make some friendly wagers. Point spreads for the first 16 weeks of the regular season already have been published, and now we have projected win totals for each team, thanks to the folks at BetOnline.
That sounds great except for one thing....one BIG thing....

The O/U numbers released by the bookmakers are NOT how many games the books are projecting the teams will win. Neither are point spreads Vegas telling you which team they think will win.

The reason for lines, the ONLY reason for lines, is to try and balance the dollars bet on both sides of the wager. In other words, Las Vegas doesn't necessarily think that the Texas are going to win 8.5 games. What it means is that they think 50% of bettors will bet that the Texans will win more than 8.5 games and 50% of bettors will bet that they win less.

THAT is what lines do and THAT is why they are set.

Could it be that the bookmaker in question thinks the Texans will win 7 games? Sure, or even 9, or 10, but that's not why the line is set where it is.

It's amazing how often members of the media, even so-called "betting experts" who give out betting tips (usually on talk radio) get this simple concept wrong.

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