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LVSC Interview On Football Injuries - Part Two by Jeremy Martin
This week Doc's Sports' Jeremy Martin interviews Tony Sinisi, odds director for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, about the importance of injuries in college and pro football in regards to setting the betting lines. LVSC is the only licensed odds service in Nevada and it is responsible for providing odds, injury and weather information to most of the sports books in the state. With millions of dollars at stake each and every weekend of the football season, the company must know every detail regarding injury developments and these oddsmakers must, in turn, apply the right price to the line when a key player is out. Following is the final section of a two-part Q&A with Sinisi on the subject of injuries and the line. This week we will discuss whether college or pro injuries carry more weight as well as the headaches that oddsmakers experience when coaches manipulate the injury report.
Doc's Sports: Are injuries more of a factor in college or in the NFL?
Tony Sinisi, LVSC: I really think that a lot of the time the backup is fine in college. Where there is probably an accentuation in college versus pro is at the quarterback position because you really have a pretty good idea who is backing up a (Titans quarterback) Steve McNair in the NFL because the personnel is pretty well known. When you get into a college situation where the quarterback for New Mexico goes down, there is some ambiguity (about) the strength of the backup. So I think that is a little more magnified in college than pro. Beyond that though, I think that injuries are a little overrated (in college and NFL).
DS: What happens when new injury information comes out late in the week?
TS: Lets say we had McNair starting at the start of the week and it comes out on Friday morning that he is not going to play and it is going to be Billy Volek. That's probably a three or four point adjustment. If that's the case we would tell the sports books to take that game down and issue a fresh number. Basically, you are looking at the game with fresh eyes and we would be telling them to take the game down and (repost) what we think would be the proper number.
DS: As the oddsmaker, is it frustrating when coaches manipulate the injury report?
TS: It can be. That's really our position. As long as (we) know what the bettor knows then I feel comfortable that our office can put out a solid number. It is when you are put in a position where possibly the bettors know more about an injury, or who will or will not play, than we do. That puts us in a precarious position. So when you have teams or coaches playing 'games' with the information that makes it difficult on our end. Because, whether Moss will or will not play, you are not getting any information from a coach that is playing it close to the vest. That makes it difficult on our end, absolutely, because we are put in a position where we don't know but there may be bettors out there who do. That's not a good situation for us to be in.
DS: Is that manipulation of the injury report more prevalent in college or the pros?
TS: (The NCAA) has this new rule where they are not supposed to put out a lot of (information), sort of a confidentiality rule. I have not seen any difference there. I think more than anything where you see that more in college is day of the game (situations). You might be expecting a quarterback to play and all of the sudden he doesn't play. Well, a lot of the times your first inkling of that is because the game starts to move and because somebody knew (the information) before we did. With college you are dealing with so many teams. With the NFL you have a smaller set of teams and it is covered so exclusively that there can be question marks on guys and their injuries but there is so much news out there that typically there are not a lot of surprises. But you get them in college for sure.