We know the oddsmakers have one primary goal. That's to provide opening lines that will facilitate two way action for their subscribing books. In order to establish these opening lines the oddsmakers go through a comprehensive three step process:
1) They review all the objective data, e.g., team power ratings, home field advantages, injury reports, strenghts/weaknesses, team-to-team matchups, weather reports, player matchups, and many more variables.
2) After an analysis of all the available data they construct preliminary, or early lines. These "unrefined" lines are then allowed to be bet into by a select group of "sharps" with certain limits. These sharps may have knowledge not available to the oddsmakers as it might relate to players, and might affect their game, e.g., so and so has a blister on his foot, QB has family problems, etc.
3) Finally, after the early lines have been "fine tuned" by the sharps, they are released to the oddsmakers clients as the opening lines. In essence, the opening lines represent all the known objective data at the time the lines are set, as well as the input from those who may have additional relevant information.
All subsequent line moves (with the exception of something happening after the line is released, such as weather changes, player arrests, coaching changes, etc.) are based on sentiment, which is merely the betting publics subjective opinions. This conjecture is shaped in part by touts with large followings, which in turn evolves into a self-fulfilling prophecy (steam).
JACKSONVILLE VS PITTSBURGH
OPENING LINE Steelers -1 closing line JAGUARS -2.5 (FAVORITE)
Here is what we know. In this heavily bet playoff game , Vegas quickly moved the line from Steelers -1 to Jags -1 1/2.
This happened extremely early. Most did not get a shot at betting the opening line. Of course they got more information at that point and moved the line to -2.5 jags. This is the line the true public bet into all week long.
2/3rds of all bets came in on Jags -2.5 (meaning they had to win by 3 for a Jags backer to get paid)
the Rest of the bettors were backing Pittsburgh for a straight up win. Most steeler bettors in this circumstance will forgo the points and take the Extra money that comes with a steelers outright win. Vegas was careful to not move the line to -3. Some books did, but most quickly moved back to -2.5. Very simple reasoning. The Public see's very little importance in take 2.5 points. Now if it goes to 3, well then that's a field goal. And many games end on the toe of a kicker. Therefore taking the 3 points is what the Public would do. But 2.5? Nah. Just give me Pittsburgh outright. Of course their not going to take Jacksonville outright, cause they would have had to lay -150 juice to only win 100. So they will lay the 2.5 at -110.
Therefore we know that Vegas needs Jacksonville to win , but not cover the 2.5 points. This would guarantee a maximum profit for the bookmakers.
We know that 2 things happened in the 2nd half of that game. In which one of them the NFL apologized for 3 months later. That apology 3 months later made little sense to anyone. my guess is that the NFL found out that the fix was in.
The first thing that happened was holding flag thrown by official Jim Quirk on the two point conversion try. The Try was successful until the hold moved them back to no man's land. Tomlin went for it again and failed. Mathematically, this was needed for the Steelers game to finish with a weird spread margin of lets say "2."
Of course were not saying the official rigged this. Its not like Jim Quirk had any reason to do so. Except for this that happened to him 1 week earlier when he lost about 9 thousand dollars.
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The next thing that happened was the NON call on the hold that took place when Garrard moved into field goal position at the end of the game. The NFL later apologized for this miss call. This allowed the Jags to kick a game winning field goal.
JACKSONVILLE 31 PITTSBURGH 29
chew on that for a couple of days.