Welcome to the first installment of “Trending in Vegas.” Sorry, this won’t be your update on what young socialite is snorting coke in the VIP section of some overpriced dance club this weekend. I know absolutely nothing about Hollywood celebrities and even less about social media. This is about the trends in Vegas that really matter…betting trends.
Before we start talking about trends, we need to clear up a few things when it comes to some betting slang and abbreviations. This is not a complete list and I am sure I will have to add to it as time goes on.
- Action – A bet
- Getting Down – Making a bet
- Spread = Point Spread
- Favorite – team that is giving or “laying” the points
- Underdog – team that is getting or “catching” the points
- Chalk = Favorite
- Dog = Underdog
- Against the Spread (ATS) – winning and losing when factoring in the spread
- Straight Up (SU) – winning and losing without factoring in the spread
- Money Line (ML) – betting a team to win straight up
- Side – a bet placed on 1 team or another to cover the spread
- Total – the number of combined points scored by both teams in a game
- Over – a bet placed on the combined points being more than the Total
- Under – a bet placed on the combined points being less than the Total
- Juice – Extra money collected by the house on a bet to give the house an advantage. Standard is 10% or -110
- Price – the odds of a bet. Sides and Totals are almost always -110 and are assumed to be so unless stated otherwise. Money line bets vary with the favorite being minus (-) and the dog being (+).
- -110 – means you have to bet $110 to win $100
- +110 – means you have to bet $100 to win $110
- Cover – to beat the point spread
- Back Door Cover – to comeback and beat the spread at the end of the game
- Hook – ½ point
- Parlay – type of bet where you combine multiple picks but you need to get them all right to win your bet. The more selections you make, the more money you win
- Teaser – a type of Parlay where you can move the point spread in your favor in exchange for a lower payout
- Wiseguy – Professional Gambler, also know as a Sharp
- Square – Amateur Gambler who mainly bets Favorites and Overs
- Dime – $1,000
Now be careful because some betting trends mean jack shit, like the sign above the roulette wheel that tells you which numbers were the last 10 to hit. Incase you didn’t know, what happened on the previous spin of a roulette wheel has absolutely nothing to do with the next spin. And yes, roulette has the worst odds of any table game in Vegas (the house’s edge is 5.26%) so if you are smart, stay away! What is the sports betting equivalent to roulette? The parlay. The house tempts you to make a stupid bet that you have little chance of winning with what looks like a high payout. The truth is the payout is never equal to the odds that are against you so the house’s edge is huge.
What is the sports betting equivalent to the sign above the roulette wheel? The pointless sports betting trend. For example, did you know that the Jacksonville Jaguars are 9-23-1 ATS in their last 33 games in which they allowed more than 350 yards in their previous game? No, but we all know that Jacksonville sucks and it you don’t need to use so many words to say it. What I do find interesting is that the Texans are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 home games and 4-1-1 ATS vs the Jaguars the last 6 times they played in Houston.
When I am looking for meaningful trends I am looking for something that has an impact on the actual game, not some strange coincidence that is based on games that were played 50 years ago. Home field advantage is huge in sports so finding teams that play better than average at home or below average on the road can be a really good angle to play. There is no better example of this than the Seattle Seahawks who are 5-0 ATS at home this year and 2-3 ATS on the road. The Vegas sports books consider the Seahawks to have the biggest home field advantage in the NFL, but be careful because they factor that into the point spread.
Something you shouldn’t factor in a bet is how many national championships your school claims to have won before the legalization of the forward pass. I know Michigan fans love to beat their chest about how many games and national championships the Wolverines have won but it doesn’t count for any extra points once the game starts. If anything it just helps inflate the spread and overrate Michigan even more. Since 2000, the Wolverines are 68-87-2 ATS and please don’t forget that the Minnesota Golden Gophers still have twice as many AP National Championships as the Michigan Wolverines.