COLUMBIA — Despite being ranked No. 1 in the polls, Missouri’s success last weekend against Kansas hasn’t convinced Vegas oddsmakers to pick the Tigers over the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship.
But as kickoff approaches and more fans bet on the big game in San Antonio, professional gamblers know the odds are subject to change.
“Every few hours (the odds) could move a half point to a point or more,” said Danny Kadoche, a marketing manager for VegasInsider.com. “Usually, there are a lot of changes by Saturday morning.”
Oddsmakers, like the casinos and private consultants listed on VegasInsider.com, follow teams all year, and odds are set each week depending on the team’s opponent.
Each oddsmaker has its own method of determining a favorite, said Mike Seba, a senior oddsmaker at Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which is used by VegasInsider.com.
“We have to think about things like injured players, home field advantage and extra incentives to win,” Seba said.
At Las Vegas Sports Consultants, Seba and his four colleagues confer before sending out their final picks to clients, he said.
Even though the Tigers were listed as underdogs Tuesday, it’s possible that could change by game time. If someone makes a large bet on Missouri, he or she could upset the odds of the entire game.
“There’s almost always a last-second change of big money that throws the odds,” Kadoche said.
For example, when betting opened Nov. 19 in last week’s game against Kansas, Missouri was only receiving 37 percent of bets. By game time, that had jumped to 54 percent.
Betting trends also change depending on odds listed by the booking agencies.
At one point before the Missouri-Kansas game, only 8 percent of bettors were putting money on Missouri. That meant a bet on the Tigers ensured a higher payoff, and before long, Missouri received more bets, and the odds changed again.
And while oddsmakers aren’t leaning in favor of MU this weekend, overall their odds to win the National Championship have improved dramatically since the start of the season.
At the season’s outset, MU had a 150-1 chance to win it all. Now, the team is at 2-1.