Originally posted by no1marauder
Bookies set lines where they think 50% will bet for one side and 50% for other. The SEC has won 6 Championships in a row and is properly believed to be the best conference by a fairly wide margin. Bama is defending National Champion.
It makes sense. But I'll be very surprised if Notre Dame gets blown out.
Your explanation makes sense, and kind of what I was thinking. I just wonder that ND is a national team with a national following, and there would be many bettting on ND. (I made money betting against ND long ago in the past when I used to do that sort of thing.) Alabama has a good coach and talent, but does no look quite as strong this year, though still a strong team. ND is undefeated with a good coach and a lot of talent, and with just as much a national following and positive bias as Alabama? I know the SEC has dominated in recent years, and I guess ND being down for a couple of decades has hurt their perfomance prestige. Anyway, I was thinking Alabama -3 was about right.
This explanation below of how the odds are initially set seems a little internally inconsistent to me. Why put much emphasis on the playing surface, for example, when the bookie is not predicting outcome but instead how people will bet, and I would think the type of playing surface does not much influence people who bet.
Setting the line is a matter of intense research, carefully cultivated contacts, years of experience and plain old intuition. An oddsmaker's reputation is based on his accuracy, and he has many variables to consider when determining the odds:
-The teams' performances this season, in prior seasons, in last week's game, and against each other
-The playing surface
-Home field advantage
-The weather forecast
-Injuries, especially those of star players
-Events in the personal lives of the players
Oddsmakers don't try to predict the outcome of the game when setting point spreads. If a team is favored by seven points, that doesn't mean that the oddsmaker necessarily thinks it will win by seven points. The oddsmaker's goal when setting the line is to keep an equal number of bets on both sides of the game. The betting public's perception of the game can be as important as the actual comparison of the two teams.
Why do oddsmakers try to keep the action even on both sides of a bet? A bookie's worst fear is being "sided." This happens when many bets come in on one side of a game. If that side turns out to be the winning side, the bookie will lose a lot of money. Ideally, half the bettors lose, and their money goes to pay off the other half, who won, with the bookie taking the vig.