Vegas View: How do Oddsmakers Create College Football Lines?

How do the oddsmakers come up with each week's set of lines for the college football slate?
How do the oddsmakers come up with each week's set of lines for the college football slate? / Wynn Casino & Resort

College football betting season is officially underway, but in order to appreciate the fun of hundreds of games, totals, and props that are available to us as bettors, the process of diving into these matchups and evaluating the proper number goes back months.

WynnBET Sportsbook was the first of the major sportsbooks in the country offering several high profile college football lines for the 2021 season. Back on July 19, the team announced available spreads for several of the larger profile Week 0 and Week 1 games that kick off Thursday - Monday of Labor Day weekend.

So how do they do it? How do oddsmakers begin their process of determining which lines they should open with for all the matchups, especially those that feature teams with many new players, as well as teams who sat out last season due to COVID-19?

WynnBET Senior Lead Trader, and college football insider Matt Lindeman, spoke to BetSided about their team’s process in taking in each week’s matchups, and whether they’ll open the line at consensus, or perhaps a different number relative to their competition.

“Our college football traders will discuss opinions for the following week prior to opening the numbers,” said LIndeman. 

“If someone has a strong opinion – or we come to a consensus amongst traders – we will 'shade' the line, giving out a more advantageous number on the side we think will lose with the intention of taking bets on it.”

As for what comes first, the spread or money line value, Lindeman says the former tends to be the starting point, but it’s really up to each trader at their respective book to determine the process that feels best for them.

“Every oddsmaker has a different approach to creating numbers – but more often than not, a spread is decided on first, and then the corresponding money line is assigned after," he said.

Check out the complete list of every AP Top 25 team's odds for Week 1, national championship odds, as well as the latest Heisman Trophy futures.

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