Vegas is regarded as the gambling Mecca of the world. More money is transacted in Vegas than anywhere else in the world. When it comes to sports betting, everyone goes through the odds that “Vegas” places on the events. Vegas is not in the business of predicting the final score; their priority is predicting what the public thinks the final score will be. This is the important difference one needs to bear in mind when looking at Vegas and their odds-making process.
Vegas has endless amounts of data regarding betting trends and where lines have been opened/closed, as well as algorithms that have been established over a very long period of time. The sportsbooks in Vegas make it their business to amass highly detailed player stats that most people don’t know or think about. The people behind the odd-making would be able to recite Tom Brady’s passing percentage on a Monday night road game at 9pm when the barometric pressure is at 30 inches during a full moon with 51,542 people in attendance with medium cloud cover and a 30% chance of rain, for example. These odds-making experts leave nothing to chance and have the research and information storage capacity that no individual will ever have.
How it Works
The reason why it may seem “Vegas” is so accurate is that they set odds for every game of the year for every sport that exists. They accommodated troves of data and use statistics and complicated models to try and determine the best possible opening line.
Once this is done every variable imaginable is taken into consideration including players injury, home court advantage, the situation of the games – if it is a play-off or elimination game – and winning streaks to mention a few. Even the impact the referee might have is considered.
Vegas books are continually evaluating and adjusting their odds day in and day out based on how much of where the money is going to try and divide it. They are always striving for their most profitable 50/50 type play in the books. In some cases, say for example in a Basketball game where it is clear by the end of the first half that the spread was off, and this is often due to statistics, then the money is pretty much split through the line.
When did Vegas get it Wrong?
The house doesn’t always win. In February of this year, the Eagles showed Vegas that all the stats in the world could not beat sheer heart and determination with their 41-33 upset, beating the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl 52. This was one of the darkest days for Vegas sportsbooks. Another great example of a person who beat the odds was a mystery bettor winning around $10 million by going against Vegas on his World Series wagers.
In June of this year Vegas got it horribly wrong once again. NHL’s Washington Capitals beat the Golden Knights 4 – 3 to win the Stanley Cup. The odds on the Knights winning were as high as 500 – 1 in the pre-season Westgate sportsbook and a staggering amount of money was lost with 13 bets taken at those odds. 350 future bets were taken in the Knights favor at 100 – 1. Vegas books lost between $7 and $9 million on this one.
With odds of 53% in their favour, it appears Vegas mostly gets it right, but there are times when the underdog beats the system and comes out on top. Vegas has years of experience and data to assist with pretty much consistently correct odds. It is difficult to beat Vegas, so we look forward to seeing the effect of their odds-making abilities with the advent of legal sportsbooks nationwide.