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The 7 - Football - ESPN.com's point spreads
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StingArmy
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#1 Posted on 25.12.04 1633.29
Reposted on: 25.12.11 1634.25
So every Saturday I check ESPN.com's NFL scoreboard to see who they pick to win and by how much (that might not be the exact translation of the point values they put on the board, but you get the idea). Sometimes what they put up there seems a little suspect, but I've always found them at least reasonable.

Well, this week they have the Saints (6-8) favored over the Falcons (11-3). By 4.5 points. I mean really now. I know no one thinks the Falcons are any good (even at this point), but 4.5-point underdogs to the Saints. Are they serious?? Furthermore, they have the Rams as 3-point favorites over - get ready - the EAGLES. Um, huh?

Are they perhaps taking into account the rumors that a bunch of the Falcons' starters are sitting, including Michael Vick? Maybe since the Falcons have nothing to play for and the Saints have EVERYTHING to play for, they figure the Saints will win it at home? I suppose the same could be said for the Rams-Eagles matchup.

Sometimes I see something I disagree with and say to myself that it could MAYBE make sense if they're looking at predicted strength at the beginning of the season, but obviously that's not what they do (even though that would explain away both of the point spreads above). Anybody with some insight?

- StingArmy
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thecubsfan
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#2 Posted on 25.12.04 1907.05
Reposted on: 25.12.11 1907.13
They aren't really ESPN.com's point spreads - they're lines from various casinos/betting places, and they're just publishing them.

Because these are actual point lines we're talking about, this isn't what someone predicts for the finish, it's the line where betting is about equal on either side. The bettors don't feel the real Eagles or real Falcons will show up this week, obviously.

Vick, Algie Crumpler and TJ Duckett all are not playing for the Falcons, and it wouldn't be a big shock if Donovan F. McNabb did not play for the Eagles. Neither team has anything to play for, and can only be hurt via more injuries, while the other teams have everything to play for.
redsoxnation
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#3 Posted on 25.12.04 1950.05
Reposted on: 25.12.11 1951.29
When establishing a point spread, the last thing Vegas/off-shore/local financial advisor in regards to sports wagering wants is for the game to come up on the number. That is how they get screwed. They establish the number so that a virtually equal amount of money gets placed on the favorite and on the underdog, thus they come out ahead due to the juice/vig. Only 2 ways really exist in which the house can really take a hit:

1) The favorite takes in a ton of money, causing the line to continually go up. Still, the favorite keeps taking in money. Despite a high number, the favorite wins by more than the spread. Best place for this to happen is in college football, where even with ridiculously high numbers, the favorite can roll up the score even more than the number. See Nebraska of the mid 90's vs. most weaker teams. Line could be in the 40's or 50's, and they would still cover.

2) As an example, say New England was playing the 49ers at home, and the line opened at 14 1/2. As the week progressed, money came in for the 49ers, and the line dropped to 14 and eventually 13 1/2. Final score ends up 31-17 New England. Thus, those who had the 49ers plus 14 1/2 win, and those who had New England minus 13 1/2 win, while those who bet the game at 14 get pushed. Since the number dropped due to high volume at 14 1/2, the house generally takes a hit as the line was compensated downward in order to alleviate the action at the higher number. This is also the way a person who is looking to make the big hit can beat the house. You bet the 49ers at 14.5 because you think the line is to high, but then you bet the Patriots at 13.5 in order to cover yourself. At worst, all a person is going to lose is the vig. At best, you are playing it hoping for a 14 point game because you get paid off in both directions. Most times, the bettor would take the hit in the situation as the game coming up on the in between number is rare, but the reward for the risk can be great.
StingArmy
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#4 Posted on 26.12.04 1344.29
Reposted on: 26.12.11 1345.01
Wow, thanks. Guess you learn something new everyday. And I suppose that since the Falcons are playing their B-team, more or less (e.g., no Vick or Crumpler, plus their first two fullbacks are on IR now), that line makes sense. With those fullbacks gone, I don't know if the Falcons can continue winning in the playoffs, but that's a different thread.

- StingArmy
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