Who Sets The Line

Now that we understand some of the mechanics of betting the point spread and why the line moves, there is a question that comes up regularly about the genesis of the line.

Who sets the line and how do they set it the damn thing?

The first line, also known as an ‘overnight line’ or ‘opening line’ is an educated guess, often by the smart sportsbook guys in Las Vegas or with online sportsbooks. [ See opening lines for each game by clicking on the league navigation links at the top of the page. ]

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Georgia Underdogs to UW Huskies in East

Washington brings flamboyant Isaiah Thomas to the tournament as the 7 seed, a factor many bettors feel is the difference in an otherwise close matchup with No. 10 Georgia.

This East Region battle sees the Huskies favored by 5 points. But it's the Travis Leslie vs Washington's Thomas battle at the guard position that makes this a potentially terrific game to watch and bet on.

The Huskies bring a 23-10 record and the nation's fourth-highest-scoring offense against the 21-11 Bulldogs. Washington was an upset winner in the Pac 10.

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Illinois Underdogs to UNLV in Southwest

The UNLV Rebels have just enough edges over Illinois to think they will win this Southwest Region game and advance.

UNLV, the 8 seed, is favored by just 2.5 points and the Fightin' Illini are talented, but erratic. They are led by Chace Stanback.

The Fighting Illini, No. 9 in this bracket, need tough perimeter defense and creativity on offense to advance against Kansas in the second round. They can shoot the 3-ball so they are threat to pull the upset. [ Best dog line? See Sports Interaction ]

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Marquette vs. Xavier 6 vs 11 East Odds

Bettors have been favoring the Xavier Musketeers in this East region battle against the Marquette Golden Eagles and the majority of brackets have Xavier there too.

So why the nervousness that Marquette can pull the upset here as the 11 seed?

The Musketeers are 24-7 overall on the year and will get high-tempo, high-quality play from guard Tu Holloway. The Golden Eagles are 20-14 and 16-10 ATS on the season. The total has been bet steadily upwards, indicating bettors think there could be a lot of scoring here (it's at 14 at Sports Interaction which is the best OVER line).

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Jayhawks Favored by 23 vs Boston U

Boston University won the America east and earned a No. 16 in the Southwest Tournament. Too bad the story ends there for the Terriers.

Kansas has a knack of failing against low seeds but not this low. The Jayhawks are favored by 23 points and are a good bet to cover that number.

BU's only hope of keeping it close is to bomb away from behind the arc, but Kansas defends the perimeter better than most teams in the country. The main risk here for Jayhawk bettors is the back-door cover after Kansas gets up by 30 and rests its starters.

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Purdue Proud as Peacock in Southwest

How can you not cheer for a team nicknamed the Peacocks?

It's easy if you are a nervous Purdue backer who sees 14-seeded Saint Peter's Peacocks as a threat Friday. Purdue has endured injury trouble all season, but they earned the 3 seed here in the Southwest and are favored by 15 points.

The Boilermakers were 25-7 (18-10 ATS) on the season, while the Peacocks finished as MAAC champs at 20-13 and a terrific 18-7 ATS mark.

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UNC vs Long Island East Region Odds

Long Island got here on the strength of a solid frontcourt and a romp through the Northeast Conference.

The Blackbirds are about to find out that North Carolina is a lot better than teams they have faced all season. But this is not to say LIU, the 15 seed in the East Region, will be routed here by the Tar Heels.

They have size and skill inside and get 20 points to play with for their backers. That number has actually been bet down to -17.5 at 5Dimes so bettors think LIU can play. The total might be the best bet as both teams will run and shoot all game. (The best OVER number was at Bovada Thursday.

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Texas AM vs Florida State Preview

Neither Texas A&M Aggies nor the Florida State Seminoles have been playing great basketball lately and this makes the 7 vs 10 pairing in the Southwest Region a tricky one to call.

The Seminoles' best scoring, Khris Singleton, hasn't played in a month and will slowed if he plays at all. Predictably, bettors don't know what to make of it either, as it hovers around a PK for two teams that lost three of their final games to limp into the tournament.

This season, the Aggies were 24-8 overall and respectable in the Big 12, while the Seminoles are 21-10 in fighting their way through the ACC.

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Top Seed Buckeyes Face UTSA in East

It looks like a college football spread if Ohio State were to face Texas San Antonio - 24 points, which would reflect the relative strength of those football programs.

It turns out the same holds true in hoops with the East No. 1 seed expected to romp over UTSA. It has been a tough road for the Roadrunners to earn the privilege of getting floor-stomped by the nation's No. 1 team.

They won the Southland Conference and beat Alabama State in a First Four play in game Tuesday. The Roadrunners are fast, but they can't hang with OSU.

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Hampton Huge Underdogs to Duke in West

Ten years ago, Hampton did the unthinkable, upsetting second-seeded Iowa as a 15 seed.

Very few bracket contestants and even fewer bettors give them a chance to pull the same stunt against No. 1 Duke Friday in the East Regional.
However, Pirate bettors get 22 points to play with, as Duke fans continue to bet their team even as 22-point chalk.

The MEAC champions don't have the size, skill or experience to hang with Duke, but can the Pirates stay within three touchdowns? That is the question.

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