Making a Market in Peyton Manning

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,117

The sports gambling world is remarkably similar to Wall Street market making, and is therefore normally a pretty boring affair. A sports line is set according to the balance between buyers and sellers. Set the line on the favorite too high, and money floods in on the underdog, and vice versa.

So I was pretty shocked to see the opening line on next week's Denver vs. Jacksonville game, like many in the sports betting world. It's no secret that Peyton Manning is on a hot streak and is breaking records left and right, but here's one even he has to be surprised at: the Broncos are favored by 28 points over the Jaguars, making it the largest spread on an NFL game in Vegas history.

Let me put that in perspective for those of you who don't bet. The Jacksonville Jaguars are winning by 28 points before the coin toss. Before a single play is called, before Manning even takes the field, the Jags are up by 4 touchdowns.

Some of you may be wondering where Vegas figures out opening lines. Having a bit of experience in this area, I can tell you that before Vegas ever sets an opening line, there is what is known as an "outlaw" line. The outlaw line is basically what's going on in the Wild Wild West of sports gambling. It is usually set by a group of small timers and then the market reacts, adjusting the posted line in Vegas one way or the other.

This is all some beautiful free market stuff at work here. Courageous bookies can offer outlaw lines to their clients (outlaw lines come mostly from offshore sources, so the bookie has to be fairly tech savvy) knowing that the line is going to shift (often dramatically) before kickoff. The purpose of all of it is to strike a perfect balance between those betting on the favorite and those betting on the underdog.

As loathe as I am to bet against Peyton Manning in the middle of this streak he's on, 28 points in an NFL matchup is unheard of. Making Jax a 28-point underdog shows so little respect for a professional football team that it's almost too good to pass up. But I once had 55 points going into a college game and ended up losing, so I'm hesitant to bet the ranch.

What do you guys think? Is Manning a 4-touchdown spot good? Is Jax that bad? You almost have to take the points, right? What is the trader in you telling you to do?

Comments (42)

Oct 8, 2013

Jacksonville is just that bad. I'm not a big sports better (aside from the few $$ on fantasy and pick'em), but I would feel more confident taking the Broncos -28. The Broncos are averaging near 50 points a game and the Jags are simply terrible. My biggest issue is that I think they are slightly improved with Blackmon adding a bit of a deep threat and giving Gabbert someone other than the opposing team to throw the ball to. Anyone going to be putting money on this one?

Oct 8, 2013

Denver has won 3 of its 5 games by 22+ and JAX has lost 3 of its 5 games by 26+. The primary worry is Justin Blackmon's return; I've never bet on sports, but it's tempting to still take Denver on this one.

Oct 8, 2013

I'm a bears fan and the bears almost beat the jags by four touchdowns last year at Jax. I would take this bet - the big determining factor is going to be how far they run up the lead and leave peyton in.

Oct 8, 2013

Tease two games and take the extra 6 points to make it Jags +34. The other game I would do this is Bears at home -7.5, moving it to -1.5. So basically you gotta win Jags +34 and Bears -1.5 for even money.

Oct 8, 2013

Manning has already beat one team by that (philly) and the jaguars, being 0-5, have lost 2 of their 5 games by 28 pts or more with another game having been lost by 26 points. I bet on football pretty regularly and I'm not willing to take 28 pts against the jaguars, huge line yes, but I would not be shocked at all to wake up Monday morning and see he won by 30 or more points.

Now if you tease this thing 7 and get 35 points, that I would take.

Give me a kid whose smart, poor, and hungry...............

Oct 8, 2013

As a guy who bets on sports very frequently, here is how I'm going to play it. I am going to take the Jags in a teaser at +34.5 (I don't know who I'm taking on the other side yet). The Jags showed some signs of life last week vs StL and I really like Henne starting this week rather than Gabbert. I also think the addition of Blackmon could be a huge boost for that offense and will free up Shorts on go routes. There is too much parity in the NFL for a spread this large and it only takes a few fluky turnovers or special teams plays for Jax to stay in the game, at least for a while.

Oct 8, 2013

Does your guy give you 6.5 on the tease, or are you buying the hook? Normally a tease is 6 points. And they're almost always a sucker's bet.

Oct 8, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

Does your guy give you 6.5 on the tease, or are you buying the hook? Normally a tease is 6 points. And they're almost always a sucker's bet.

The 6.5 is my standard... I'm surprised you think of the teaser as a sucker bet. The reason I like a teaser is that if Vegas is fairly close to being right you win on either side of the bet and Vegas is pretty damn good. I don't have any statistical evidence but I would think the probability of winning a teaser would be better than a straight up bet.

Oct 8, 2013

I could see them going up four TDs in the first four drives. I want Peyton to get the TD record back from Tom "Spygate" Brady so badly. 64 TDs isn't out of the question!

Oct 8, 2013

I think it'll happen!

Oct 8, 2013

It is hard to beat the spread on this one. I see more upsides betting on UNDER 56.5. I just don't see the total going up that high, esp given the Jaguar's demonstrated offense capability (or lack thereof).

btw sports betting is fun, especially if you do it in Vegas. I just love watching the games I am betting on live at MGM Grand's Sportsbook. It is much more fun than doing it online via bovada etc.
Having some money at stake definitely makes games much more interesting to watch, particularly the ones that I would not have cared much for otherwise
As Hyman Roth said in Godfather II, he became a life long baseball fan ever since Arthur Rothstein fixed the 1919 World Series (say it ain't so, Joe!).

Oct 8, 2013

@"brandon st randy" MGM's sports book is the gold standard. Bar none my favorite place to watch games/get shitty/lose my ass.

On a side note, they could jack the Under up to 80 and I still wouldn't take it with Manning on the field this year.

Oct 8, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

@brandon st randy MGM's sports book is the gold standard. Bar none my favorite place to watch games/get shitty/lose my ass.

Indeed. It is not the most spacious or luxurious but the MGM sportsbook has just the right combination of location, size and set up.

Oct 15, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

On a side note, they could jack the Under up to 80 and I still wouldn't take it with Manning on the field this year.

19+35

Oct 8, 2013

I'll take the points. I estimate you have greater than a 65% chance of winning with 28 points. Denver might have the B team in relatively soon, given how good they are and how miserable the Jags are.

Oct 8, 2013

The Jags have 51 points this season. Total. Peyton Manning and the Broncos put up 51 points last game.

The donks could start Osweiler for the second half, the 3 starting defensive players who were injured last Sunday could sit out and rest, or Henne could manage to squeak out a garbage TD or two to Cecil Shorts in the 4th. Several situations could occur wherein the spread is tested--otherwise, the Broncos might win by 50.

The smart money here doesn't leave your pocket.

Oct 8, 2013

Speaking of bookies, anyone know a good one in DC?

Give me a kid whose smart, poor, and hungry...............

Oct 8, 2013

Kind of love sports betting theory so I may look into creating a model to back test teaser strategies.. A few I can think of looking at are: picking the highest two spreads and taking the underdogs, highest two spreads and taking favorite, taking two highest home underdogs, taking two highest home favorites, etc.

Anyone got a good site for scraping raw data on pre-game lines and final results?

Oct 9, 2013

You should look up a paper by Stanford Wong. Wong teasers are a fairly reliable way to play and win. Essentially you're looking to move past the key numbers 3 and 7. It's been a while since I've bet seriously, but I made a good bit betting the system.

Oct 9, 2013

Makes sense to me, in those two cases you are basically going from a pickem to a touchdown favorite or going from a field goal favorite to a field goal dog (or reversed) which is a big swing. I'll look it up, thanks.

Oct 8, 2013

Blaine Gabbert is NOT starting, Jags are the easy pick here.

Oct 8, 2013

I'm not discounting the peyton effect but the jaguars have the worst offense in the NFL. I've been killing my fantasy leagues by slip streaming whichever defense is playing jacksonville that week into my lineup.

Oct 8, 2013

In honor of Rogers and Templeton, I might have to take Jacksonville.

Oct 9, 2013

Probably the best way to determine whether or not something is a "sucker's" bet is if your bookie charges you vig on the bet. No vig (as is the case with teasers, parlays, and exotics) = sucker's bet. No need to charge a vig when you have a reasonable expectation of keeping all your client's money.

Oct 9, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

Probably the best way to determine whether or not something is a "sucker's" bet is if your bookie charges you vig on the bet. No vig (as is the case with teasers, parlays, and exotics) = sucker's bet. No need to charge a vig when you have a reasonable expectation of keeping all your client's money.

The vig is baked into your winnable amount. 2-pick parlay for example: you have 3 ways to lose, 1 way to win. Fair odds say you should be paid 300 for 100, but in sports betting you win ~275

Oct 9, 2013

If you guys like JAX +28 here I'd advise taking the Over instead. There's absolutely no way the Jags can stop this Broncos offense.

Oct 9, 2013
nelly0:

If you guys like JAX +28 here I'd advise taking the Over instead. There's absolutely no way the Jags can stop this Broncos offense.

With an O/U of 54 and spread of 28 -> the market is DEN 41-13. The question is, do you also want to bet on JAX's offense?

Oct 9, 2013
Oct 9, 2013

I'll take the points.

Henne + Blackmon changes this bet a lot.

Oct 10, 2013

Henne + Cecil Shorts will have a bigger impact imo. Henne loves targeting the kid Cecil.

Both will be largely irrelevant with Champ and Rodgers-Cromartie on the field.

Oct 13, 2013

Well sports fans, the 1pm kickoffs are in a few hours and I took the Jags and Tampa Bay teaser

Oct 13, 2013

Should've put down real money...

Oh well.

Oct 14, 2013

Oct 14, 2013
Comment

Pages