How the Sports Betting Line is Made by RJ Bell

People think it’s much more complicated, but it’s not.”

Once a game’s power rating based pointspread is determined, the oddsmaker will make adjustments to that line after considering each team’s most recent games played and previous games played against that opponent. In our extended interview, Seba explained that there are 4-5 oddsmakers assigned to make lines for each of the major sports (pro & college football and basketball; MLB, NHL, boxing, golf). Of the 4-5 oddsmakers, generally the 2 most respected opinions are weighed more heavily by the Odds Director before he decides on the final line. For example, if the pointspread on a game is 7 and most of the money is coming in on the underdog (taking the +7), sportsbooks will then move the number down to 6 ½ to try and attract money on the favorite.

The opening line is the first line created by the oddsmakers, which is then sent out to sportsbooks. Also, adjustments are made after reading each team’s local newspapers to get a sense of what the coaches & players are thinking going into the game. Reasons for such adjustments include:

How the Opening Line Is Made

Power ratings are the oddsmaker’s value of each team and are used as a guide to calculate a “preliminary” pointspread on an upcoming game. Stated another way, they want to create a line that half the people find appealing to bet one way while the other half find it appealing to bet the other way (known as ‘dividing the action’).

Divided action means the sportsbook is guaranteed a profit on the game because of the fee charged to the bettor (called juice or vig – typically $11 bet to win $10). For example, the public might have heavy betting interest week after week on a popular college football team such as USC.

Individual books having players who consistently bet with certain tendencies (such as an extreme bias toward favorites or toward a certain popular team like USC)

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“The main objective is that our clients get equal action on both sides,” Seba said.

Moving the line is the oddsmaker’s effort to balance betting action, and often times such moves can have a major impact on a bettor’s decision. Obviously, if the line comes out a week ahead of the event (which is the case in football), there is much that could happen during the week leading up to the event that could affect the line.

Once betting begins, sportsbooks can adjust the line at any time. Seba explained that it all starts with each oddsmaker creating a line on each game based upon their own personal approach. Of course there is an entire method to the madness on how the opening line is created. By moving the line, sportsbooks can influence how the public bets on a particular game.

Oddsmakers can also change the line depending on various event-related factors such as player injuries or weather. If an oddsmaker comes up with a preliminary line of USC -7, then an adjustment up to -7.5 or -8 would be made in response to the public’s expected USC bias. If we’ve done that, we’ve done our job.” .

A round-table discussion among the 4-5 oddsmakers involved in making the line for each sport is then conducted and a consensus line is decided upon by the Odds Director before it is released to the sportsbooks. In doing so they attempt to make more attractive the team that is getting less action.

Why the Line Changes

There is a common misconception that point spreads represent the oddsmakers’ prediction of how many points the favorite will win by. We do this by drawing from past experiences and applying them to current situations.

Since the oddsmaker’s ultimate goal is equally dividing the betting action, public perception and betting patterns must be taken into account.

Experts working for the individual books having a strong opinion on the game

What Is the Line Trying to Accomplish?

The last step in the line-making process for each oddsmaker is taking one final look to determine whether or not the line “feels right.” This is where common sense and past experience with how games are bet enters into the picture. Each of these oddsmakers bring unique opinions, strengths and weaknesses to the process.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants (LVSC) is the world’s premier oddsmaking company and the most respected authority on making the lines.

Once the opening line is released by LVSC, the individual sportsbooks decide if they want to make any adjustments before offering it to the public. This usually includes having up-to-date power ratings on each team.

“You either have a passion for it or you don’t,” Seba said. The power ratings are adjusted after each game a team plays. Examples of non-game factors that would require an adjustment to a team’s power rating are key player injuries and player trades.

Oddsmakers at LVSC are professional sports junkies who love what they do and would probably do it for nothing if you asked them, but they do get paid for it.

RJ Bell

© 2006


“The #1 thing for us is to make a line for each game that creates good two-way action. That is not the case at all – their intent is NOT to evenly split the ATS result between the teams; rather, their goal is to attract equal betting action on both sides. By necessity their approach is very research-oriented and concise, since with millions of dollars at risk there is little margin for error. Mike Seba is a Senior Oddsmaker at LVSC and has been making lines for the last six years. “We’re not trying to pick the team that covers the spread, we’re trying to make it a coin flip, a tough decision (for the bettor). Oddsmakers have to determine if any changes are necessary and send out an “adjusted line.”

The purpose of these adjustments, like all line adjustments, is to more equally divide the betting action

Dr. Bob’s College Football Best Bet

My math model and situational analysis combine to help me find those games in which public perception strays too far from reality, and I’ve profited from that over the years.

Riley’s teams have a habit of starting the season slowly, but the Beavers tend to get hot in October and stay hot. I’ll start with one of my Best Bets for this weekend’s college football. This makes it possible for me to find point spreads that are significantly different than what they should be, which is called line value.

I’ve used my talent for statistical analysis to come up with mathematical models that have proven to be far more advanced than what the Vegas odds makers are using. I also study performance patterns to find situations in which one team may be more ready to perform at a high level or to perhaps suffer a letdown following a good performance or two. In addition to the favorable team trend, my math model gives Oregon State at 56% chance of covering at -13 points based on the math alone. There is no doubt that Oregon State’s good attack (5.7 yppl against teams that would allow 5.0 yppl to an average team) will be able to score a lot of points against a horrible Washington defense that has allowed 6.5 yppl or more in 8 of their 9 games. The public tends to focus too much on recent performance of a team rather than their long term performance level. The only reason Washington won that game was because they did not commit a single turnover while USC turned the ball over 3 times with 1 interception and 2 lost fumbles. The lack of public understanding of variance is what creates the line value.

The strength of Washington’s team is their offense, which rates at 0.7 yppl better than average and the Huskies do have a 0.4 yppl advantage over a good, but not great Beavers’ defense (5.6 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.9 yppl).

. However, more often than not teams that are playing well above expectations (i.e. The likelihood of covering is enhanced by technical analysis favoring Oregon State and I recommend a play on the Beavers at -15 points or less.

In addition to posting game analysis I also plan on writing about other sports topics, some betting related and some not.

For instance, a mediocre team may win 2 or 3 games in a row in seemingly impressive fashion and the price you have to pay to bet on that team may go up because of it. However, Oregon State has a 1.8 yppl advantage when they have the ball and that Beavers’ attack is improving, as is usually the case with Mike Riley coached teams. I’ve had good success over the years with my predictions and my analysis influences the point spreads around the world, as chronicled by the Wall Street Journal and ESPN. In fact, Oregon State is 40-17 Against The Spread (ATS) from game 5 on, including 4-1 ATS this season.

For analysis on all of this week’s NFL and College Football games visit my site at

OREGON STATE (-13) 42 Washington 21

Saturday, November 14 – 3:30 pm Eastern Time.

Washington’s early season 16-13 upset of USC thrust the Huskies into the national limelight and created a situation in which they were overrated.

As it turned out, Washington has proven to be a bad team that has been out-gained 5.5 yards per play to 6.8 yppl this season and the Huskies are so bad that they managed to lose to a mediocre UCLA team last week despite being +4 in turnover margin. covering the spread) in recent games tend to come back down to normal performance levels just when the public sentiment has led to an adjustment in the price to bet on that team. Washington was out-played in that game, averaging just 4.3 yards per play (yppl) while allowing USC, with their backup quarterback, to average 6.6 yppl.

You know that gambling has become more than accepted in America when the greatly respected Huffington Post sets up a blog for a sports handicapper.

I’ve been giving sports gambling advice professionally for 23 years, since my days majoring in statistics at UC Berkeley.

The point spread should be viewed as the price it costs to “buy” a certain team in a game, and that price is heavily influenced by public perception rather than reality. Interceptions are 65% random and fumbles are 90% random in college football, so that upset win over USC was nothing more than random positive variance for Washington which hid the fact that Washington was badly out-played by the Trojans. The “hot” streak usually turns out to be nothing more than random variance

12 Effective Tips to Get Rid of Gambling Addiction

Here are some useful tips regarding lifestyle changes to get rid of a gambling addiction.

‘Problem gambling’, also known as ‘ludo mania’, can destroy the life of the gambler and also of his/her family members. Gambling addiction is referred to as ‘compulsive gambling’ or ‘impulse-control disorder’, where the behavior of the gambler is similar to that of a person who has substance addiction.

When an individual realizes that gambling is destroying his family and social life, he thinks of quitting, but in just a few hours or within a couple of days, he is again found in a gaming zone or casino. To experience the same excitement, he needs larger wagers or more frequent gambling.. He lies to his family and friends, borrows money, and loses control over his mind and behavior. Researchers have noticed increased rates of mental health disorders in gamblers with severe ludo mania. Despite being aware of the serious negative consequences, or despite having a strong desire to quit, he cannot stop himself from gambling. Study results show that a gambler who has not been treated for compulsive gambling during his desperation phase is likely to commit suicide. When a gambler with severe ludo mania meets certain criteria, the condition is diagnosed as ‘clinical pathological gambling’. There are chances that he has other psychiatric problems at the same time; for example, substance use disorder, mood and anxiety disorder, personality disorder, etc. Analysis of casino customer data may help identify problem gamblers, but casino owners do not share this data for fear of losing their most lucrative customers (may be 25 – 50%). Addiction to gambling at a young age increases the risk of suicide. As he spends more gambling, he requires more money to recover his losses. But studies show that suicide attempts are usually made by older people with problem gambling. He may lose his job and may commit crimes to get money for gambling