Tuesday, December 17, 2013

VFV's Adventures in Predicting NFL Line Movement With Darts (Week 15)

Thankfully for everyone involved, this did not become a weekly thing. But now seems like as good a time as any to remind everybody how absurd this exercise really is.

Using lines from Bodog and LVH this time because #whocares.

Chargers at Broncos minus-10.5 (Thursday): The line was re-opened Sunday afternoon at the LVH and the CRIS offshore book at 10.5. Both books were bet down to 10, which was where the Wynn opened it, though they were bet up to 10.5. So, it looks like this line will settle at 10 early in the week, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the public push it back higher toward game day.

Closed at 10 at LVH, was 10.5 at Bodog all week. Good start!

Redskins at Falcons minus-4.5: By the close of betting Sunday night, this had steamed to 5.5 at just about every book that posts early lines, as no one is looking to bet the Redskins. Betting hasn't slowed yet, but I'm guessing it won't get to 7 (or at least not without some heavy juice).

Closed at -5.5/6, but Washington was +7 -110 at LVH for most of Wednesday afternoon, and Bodog had that same price for almost 48 hours during the week.

49ers minus-5.5 at Buccaneers: This was at minus-6 last week and even though the 49ers gutted out a win over the Seahawks (though they didn't cover the 2.5-point spread), this line was re-opened at minus-5.5. Part of that is due to the Buccaneers covering four of their last five and being more competitive. Still, the 49ers are more of a public team, so this will probably go back to 6.

You know, if you could predict line movement just based on which team is "more of a public team," it'd probably be a lot easier. This never got to 6 at LVH, although Bodog did have that price for most of the week.

Cardinals minus-3 at Titans: This opened Cardinals minus-1.5 but was reposted at 3 after Arizona's rout of the Rams while the Titans were blown out by the Broncos. It was bet down to 2.5 at the LVH, so I expect this to waver between 2.5 and 3 most of the week.

This is exactly what happened.

Seahawks minus-7 at Giants: The Wynn went with minus-7 (even money) -- and that's where the LVH moved the line after early bettering -- while William Hill went with 6.5. This will probably hover between 6.5 and 7.

This is...not. See, this is the problem. These posts consistently underestimate how much these lines can move between Monday and Sunday. If you say a line will probably "hover between 6.5 and 7" and it closes at 9 (at both LVH and Bodog)...what's the point?

Texans at Colts minus-6: Earlier in the year, I would have predicted that the public would push this line to 7, but now it looks like we'll see it settle at 6 or 6.5.

Settled at about 6.5. So, correct on this one. However, it seems concerning that the only time these line "predictions" are right is when the line is stagnant throughout the week.

Bills minus-1.5 at Jaguars: This was Bills minus-2.5 last week but the Jags beat the Texans and the Bills were blown out by the Buccaneers, so it was reopened at 1.5 though other books opted for 2. The initial move at the LVH was up to 2, though I wouldn't be surprised if it got bet back toward pick 'em.

Would you be surprised if it closed at Bills -4? Because that is what happened.

Patriots minus-2.5 at Dolphins: This was Patriots minus-4 but they struggled to beat the Browns and lost Gronkowski, plus the Dolphins kept their playoff hoped alive, so this dropped to 2.5. I can't see how this doesn't get bet back to the key number of 3.

Miami ended up being the favorite here, by 2.5 at the LVH and slightly less at Bodog. So I guess it didn't quite get back to the key number of 3?

Eagles minus-4 at Vikings: This has jumped from Eagles minus-3 last week to reopening minus-4 at the LVH. It was then bet up to 4.5 before snapping back to 4, so that looks like the right number at least for now.

No mention of AP injury because #whocares, line closed at PHI -6.5/7.

Chiefs minus-3.5 at Raiders: This looks like the most solid line of the week at minus-3.5. Some books have heavier juice on those taking the Raiders plus-3.5, but they'll probably be reluctant to move to 3, and if they do it won't last long.

The "most solid line of the week" ended up moving from -3.5 to -6.5. We're really struggling to the finish line now.

Bengals minus-3 (even money) at Steelers: This was only Bengals minus-1 last week, but it reopened at 3 (with added juice on the Steelers plus-3) after Cincinnati's convincing win over the Colts and the Steelers' loss to the Dolphins. Some offshores went with 2.5, so it should hover between 2.5 and 3 until the market picks a side.

Closed at -2 at LVH and -3 EV at Bodog.

Ravens at Lions minus-6 (Monday): The advance line was Lions minus-4 but went up Sunday afternoon at Lions minus-6. CRIS went with 5.5 and got bet up to 6, so it's looking like a pretty solid number.

Closed at -5 at LVH and -6 EV at Bodog, so cool I guess.

The  line moves portion of Tuley's column is described as:

Here are the openers from the LVH. We'll look at how we got to those numbers, including where the offshore openers might have differed, how they moved in early betting Sunday afternoon and night [...]

This seems accurate enough.

[...]and how they might move during the week. While the biggest part of winning at football is picking winners, it's just as important to be able to read the market and know when to place your wagers to get the best number.

I realize this is the goal, but seriously, come on. I think at this point we have sufficient evidence that Dave Tuley has absolutely no clue how NFL lines are going to move during the week. Not that we really needed much in the first place, considering he's a rec gambler who happens to live in Vegas and have an ESPN column. Even if you did know that the Bills would move from -1.5 to -4, why in the world would you ever publish it on the internet?


  1. It's bad enough that ESPN would pay TuleyTime to provide this kind of nonsense; it's a borderline insult to include it as part of Insider pay content.

  2. Do you think he sits back every morning and thinks, "I can't believe that ESPN is seriously paying me to write this"? If no one at ESPN is going to fact check him, then he might be smarter than all of us. The more likely scenario is that he's just a moron and no one at ESPN cares, but I just hope he's just cashing checks and trolling the internet.