I agree. I bet a lot of people here would be able to do pretty well betting on Michigan. People here already know everything about Michigan so they only have to research the other teams.
Michigan Betting Advice
1. Vegas and other line settors are not smarter than any other analyst. There is no secret they are hiding. They are smart and do intensive research, but the game prediction you get from Brian is just as good a guess as the line they set.
2. They set the line to get even action not predict the game. A good game to watch this year will be the Florida-Tenn game. The line right now is set at 24. If I had to guess the guys in the backroom looked at all the data and said this game looks to be a 18 point spread. Then they discuss the other factors such as the perception Meyer wants to run it up on Kiffin and now he's got some key injuries let's jack it up to 24 (we need someone to bet on Tenn). As game week appproaches and the stories come back up and Herbstreit is on Sportscenter saying this could get ugly expect the line to grow and grow. You may not win but if you wait until kickoff and bet Tenn you are with the "smart" money.
3. The public is not smart. You may think that gamblers are reading Phil Steele and analyzing each teams strength and weaknesses. The truth is most are addicts or borderline gambling addicts that work all week long wake up Saturday morning look at some lines, call their buddies watch Herbstreit and start firing off bets to their bookie. Listen to the callers on The Ticket talk about UM, they know so little it is frightening. Listen to Terry Foster he's paid to know what's going on and he offers up garbage. People that are not gambler would be amazed at how little info a guy has before he plops $100 down. It's a different world.
4. Opportunity is there. I am not here to tell you that using my system will make you money or that it is a good investment strategy, but if you are going to bet, I think this may help you. Make your strike early in the year with some under the radar teams. If you do your Phil Steele research and look around the internet for team previews and find a team you think might do well hunt down that teams "MgoBlog" and learn all you can about that team. The lines early in the year are generally pretty conservative as nobody has any current info on a team so the lines are based on historical perspective (USC must be good) and preseason predictions( Minnesota returns 18 starters) so if you feel a team could break out you can get good value. A great example was 06 Mich coming off the disaster in 05. Most people here thought Mich would rebound, but the national media continued to pile on Lloyd. Made a ton of dough on that game. There seems to be another team that around here that is getting piled on nationally. If you think Mich is going to come out with a vengeance bet the early lines and pound Mich early. The W. Mich line will be pretty blah, if they come out and put up 50 on them people will take notice but the lines won't change much. They pound ND it's all over. Then the perception is it's Mich they are back and it won't make sense to bet them the rest of the year.
5. Name team vs "scrub" Keep a look out for games involving BCS vs Non BCS teams. A great example would be Nevada vs Notre Dame in Week 1. Everyone loves ND this year, who knows anything about Nevada??(That's that team that plays that wacky pistol right?) Truth is Nevada has a ton of players back and a stud at QB. With Michigan looming the next week for ND you may get great value on Nevada.
6. Hometown bookies are ripe for overbetting. Here in the D a bookie will move lines more fluidly than in Vegas as they have less of a sample size. A lot of UM homers will bet Mich regardless so the bookie may have to move lines that may not be recognized nationally. Good value if you want to bet against the Lions UM or Sparty.
Good Luck this year.
Jamie said earlier in the comments, "But I would caution beginning betters from doing a lot of that, only because I think the heart still wins out a lot in those cases."
I'd strongly agree with that. And for that reason I'd be less certain that most MGoBloggers could clean up just by betting only on Michigan games since I think most of us couldn't be unbiased enough.
I've done my fair share of betting and I have done by far the best betting on Michigan games. You can pretty easily pick your spots to win big (Michigan vs Notre Dame 06, Michigan vs Illinois 07, Michigan vs MSU 05) when you know Mich is underrated.
Anyway, Ziff, what do you think the line will be on ND/Nevada? I saw Nevada play in the Humanitarian Bowl last year and Kaepernick looked very good, although they lost the game because of a few mistakes, I think we will see a lot less of those with another year of experience. On top of that I feel very strongly that ND is over-rated. If that line climbs up to 10 or above I think thats a great bet... Do you think it will?
I would think 10 is a good baseline anywhere from 7 to 13, but sometimes they surprise you. I'm not sure what the books will make of ND and Nevada. They seem to like ND based on the USC line so maybe you get 14 at which point I say load up on Nev.
Good Call on MSU 07 the momentum on that game got out of control. Had to bet UM just cause the line had gotten so stupid. When they gave MSU that TD on the Henne Inc I was stuck in Chicago on business and I almost threw up my deep dish pizza I was so pissed, ultimately it didn't matter.
Ziff, you are going to like this, but the Irish are 17-point favorites in the game.
I have not seen any onlines release any Week One lines. I get this line from the actual Book inside the Golden Nugget in DT Vegas. I got the info in this thread at a gambling forum.
One caveat: These lines are a month old. I have no idea what they look like now. I agree with your sentiments regarding this game. From varoius forums and wagering talk, I think we can say the public and pundits seem to like ND better than the gamblers. I full expect this line to be down to at least -14 when any of my onlines eventually show their Week One hand.
One plug: I actually wrote about this game recently on my blog, www.justcoverblog.com.
The best point made was the local adjustment to the line due to homer fans betting the home team. I have been betting for years and have always done well betting against the local teams due to te inflated lines. I have never went so far as to get bookies in different places(Columbus for example) in order to take advantage of the local inflation in other markets but I may just do that this year.
Take your local bookie and pay the home line and then just find a counter vegas site with the 'true' line and try and do some double dipping.
You hardly are stepping on any toes. I am not an expert gambler, I just play one on some blogs. And its good to see other people talking about sports through this eye. We're all out for the same thing: winners.
And, I am a big believer in betting on games involving your team based on exactly what you said above. But I would caution beginning betters from doing a lot of that, only because I think the heart still wins out a lot in those cases. You look at teams from a whole different perspective when you are a succesful and experience gambler, including your favorite team. That perspective helps you kinda squash your heart in the key moment when you're going to the window for a bet. But, its a perspective that I think takes a while to develop.
The only thing I can add to those reading this diary is dont over analyze what Vegas or the oddsmakers want you to do. They want one thing, for you to lose. I believe that Vegas both wants to set lines for even money, but also has their eyes set on games they can trap a bunch of one sided action and rake.
So, just pick your games the way you pick games. Dont let their numbers push you around or intimidate you into or off of a pick. Its good to talk about what, if any, motives are behind a line, but if you think strongly about something, dont let those shenanigans dictate what you do.
"The only thing I can add to those reading this diary is dont over analyze what Vegas or the oddsmakers want you to do. They want one thing, for you to lose. I believe that Vegas both wants to set lines for even money, but also has their eyes set on games they can trap a bunch of one sided action and rake."
This is the credited response.
You sound knowledgeable so I will respect your opinion and Jamies on this topic but I will have to maintain my stance. Unless you are talking about fixed games, I find this hard to believe based on several points.
1. No one can predict games to that much of a probability to make sense. LV casinos are huge Billion dollar coporations. You are telling me the line maker is going to go to his boss and say "this is a big game we should get 10 million in action. The real line is 3.5, but if we set it at 7 we'll get a ton of action from the Whales and it will all go on team a, but I'm the only person in the world that knows that team b will win. Instead of a guaranteed profit of 1 million let's put 10 million at risk on my knowledge. As opposed to the thousands of people doing analyses on the game. I can't see this plan getting approved. Jamie the casinos are definitely out to make money...the guaranteed kind is best.
2. I've seen a couple of different reports on the way this goes. The lines for most casinos are set by small independent houses and distributed to almost all the books in the world. There is a reason you can't find -3 online and -7 from Las Vegas and -10 from your local book. If 1 casino thought they had an "in" and kept their line at -7 while everyone else was moving their lines down there would be bells and whistles going off all over the place. The key is for these guys not to get the right score but to hit the publics number so they don't miss it. The casinos are at greatest risk if they have to move their line by 3 or more and risk getting trapped paying both sides that is why the lines rarely move over 7 or 3 they move easily from 4 to 6.5, but they start moving the money line to avoid the trap points as you mentioned at 3 and 7 points.
3. Everyones connected, most casinos have reciprocal partnerships with other casinos just like the mob does. If they have a whale come in and skew their money they would ask another casino to take some of their action. The whales have influence definitely but there are thousands of $100 players that diminish the whales impact.
The reason casinos/books are profitable is their house advantage, why give that up to gamble like the people who pay for their fountains?? That would be my main point.
PS Thanks for the ND line Jamie, I'll be waiting online for week 1 spreads, I must have missed that on your blog I'll do a search.
I think you're right about everything you said there. The process is just much more subtle. The one thing that I'd point out is that the books tend to move together because the lines (mostly) come from the same consortium, and because there's no value from being the one oddball in the group. If every book on the strip has Rice -4, -110 and I have them -3.5, -110, the only people who will bet on the Rice game at my casino will be betting one side. There's no value in sticking out.
And hey, maybe you guys clean up every season. I'm sure some do- I have seen it. But it's rare, and I think everyone overestimates how good they are and how easy it is. I suffered several years of losing before I learned that.
Sorry if I sounded like 1 of "those guys" that always wins when everyone else loses. Just thought there were some misconceptions about betting in general and I thought I would put it out there to show how the system works. I'm married with kids and follow the lines looking for a line to my liking win some you lose some small stakes.. I've done well enough in poker to take some chances the last couple of years and do ok. I have enough friends that have gotten in big trouble betting and people in my family are on the other side collecting the dough to know this game is not a money maker in the long run for most. As I have pointed out I think you can take advantage of the media's hype early in the year in some instances. We do a NFL pool each year with 20 guys picking every game. Over 5 years we are 51% good enough to still pay the bookie
Almost everything you said was wrong.
1.) Not true, and the longer you study line databases, the more you come to appreciate just how consistently right the books are. These are the guys with a vested interest in getting things right. Over the long haul, they consistently do.
2.) Not true again, or at least not always true. If the books know they can set the line too far to one direction and still take in more of the money, they'll do so. So if they know that they'll still get %70 of the money at -24 for Florida, and they think the "true line" is -18, they'll leave it there. They might even move it to -23 or -22 before gameday. Different lines serve different purposes, and you need to learn how to read them.
3.) There's two ways to look at this. True, individual bettors are not smart. But bettors in the aggregate are very smart. Otherwise, why would money so often balance around a number which, over time, turns out to be the median of a bell curve of expectations for a given game? The median and mode score of all NFL games over the past twelve years with the line set at home team -3 is home team -3. Same with home team +3. Same with -7 and +7. That is truly remarkable, when you think about it.
But here's the thing: the unsophisticated people think they're sophisticated. This is the trap I see everyone else falling into here as well. I guarantee you that if we took 10 readers and had them pick ATS every Big 10 game this season, at least 8 would finish below 52%. You could run the same experiment with any 5 NCAA or NFL game per week, and you'll get the same result, and I don't care how sophisticated you think they are. Vegas will beat you. It's their job.
The other way to look at this is that the books don't care a whit about the $100 bettor. They care about the syndicate and whales that drop $500,000 a game. Their lines better be good for the whales, because if they're not, they're getting cleaned out. And those guys are sophisticated.
4.) Sports betting is winnable, but not by many. I don't care how much research you do. I've only met one person in my life that claimed to be a sharp, could do actual research, and come out ahead, and I've traveled in gambling circles for quite a while. More consistent- but still difficult- are people who do market analysis type plays. But that's not easy either.
I think your perception is skewed by knowing people who do this locally as bookies. They, by and large, get their lines from people who are thinking about something different entirely. Do bookies try to balance the action to come ahead? Of course- these are penny-ante players that don't have the capitalization or the know-how to play the way that the Vegas books do. It's just a different world in the big leagues.
Your point 6 is probably accurate, and I bet you could win a fair amount of money in the long run and bet every single game where your bookie gave you a two point advantage over where the Vegas lines are set. But that just speaks, ultimately, to the accuracy of the Vegas lines
I couldn't agree more with just about everything you stated.
"The unsophisticated people think they're sophisticated"--the money quote in a well-written piece.
Problem with CFB betting is that there are only a handful of games that really stand out as good bets.....during the entire season.
IMO, the best teams to bet are ones like Florida, USC or Oklahoma. They have the ability to raise the score on anyone and blow an opponent's doors off. The downside to this strategy is the favorite usually spots the 'dog 30-45 points a game. That's a big spread to clear for any team. Works maybe 2/3rds of the time, and when you lose, plus adding in the vig, you are a scratch at best.
Big Ten games are notoriously tough to bet because the games are often low scoring(sucks for over/under bets), and the outcomes are tight versus the spread(your bet is really a random guess)no matter what team is playing.
While it's a blast to talk about...I've never met anyone here in Chicago, or in my many trips to Vegas, who has made real money betting football. A handful of the old guys in the sports books out there have hung around betting baseball, but they are barely making it, and don't have families, mortgages, Visa Card bills etc.
It doesn't happen very often, but I have made some money on Michigan State.
First, I'd generally take the points when they played Michigan, especially in Lloyd's later years. Second--and here's the "didn't happen very often" part--if they beat UM, they were usually a LOCK to lose their next game straight up, and certainly by the points. One game in particular was the year Lloyd was trying to decide between using Brady and Henson. MSU beat UM--I plunked down a rather large sum (for me) of, well, my enire life savings of $186.42 against Sparty the next week and VOILA! I had enough for yet another weekend bender.
Traditionally, Sparty has been a safe bet against in Big Games except for the year before last when they somehow came back from a 24-0 deficit against OSU to make it close at the end, 24-17. No weekend bender for me after that game.
I really try to stay away from betting on UM--agree with others that biases are too hard to overcome. And this year they are way too big a question mark to even think about, conversely, as opposed to other years, in the early games.
The good bettors, the ones who can either make some decent money, or at least the ones who brag about how well they did on Monday morning (without telling you their picks beforehand, of course) probably stick with numbers like over/unders, and the NFL. They also, like the OP did, take a look at who teams play the week before, where the game will be played, and who comes after. But I have always believed, again like previously mentioned, that the college game offers few chances in terms of games that really stand out as potential money makers.
I have done VERY good over the last 2 seasons .. i pick 2 teams i really like after about week 3 and role with them.
2 years ago was Missouri .. and last season was Texas Tech and Cinci ...
I am really feeling us and Oregon State this year ... but i will skip Oregon State on the week they play USC.