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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Does the UK-UL game Normally Go as Predicted?

The majority of people think they know how Saturday’s game is likely to go.  Certainly, the people betting on the game seem to be throwing their money around towards UL as the spread has gone from 10 to 15 points in 4 days, which is fairly astronomical in betting terms.  And normally, the odds-makers know what they are doing.  Anybody who has ever bet sports of any nature know it is amazing how accurate these guys can be.

But when it comes to the UK-UL rivalry, surprisingly, the spread has not been accurate very often.  Take a look at the result, pre-game spread, and how far off the spread the result was, for each game since 2000.  That is 13 years of  data right there, so I think there are some conclusions that can be made from these numbers.

2000: Louisville 40, Kentucky 34 (OT)
Spread: Kentucky -5
Result: 11 points off

2001: Louisville 36, Kentucky 10
Spread: Louisville -3
Result: 23 points off

2002: Kentucky 22, Louisville 17
Spread: Louisville -13
Result: 18 points off

2003: Louisville 40, Kentucky 24
Spread: Kentucky -6
Result: 22 points off

2004: Louisville 28, Kentucky 0
Spread: Louisville -9
Result: 19 points off

2005: Louisville 31, Kentucky 24
Spread: Louisville -23
Result: 16 points off

2006: Louisville 59, Kentucky 28
Spread: Louisville -22
Result: 9 points off

2007: Kentucky 40, Louisville 34
Spread: Louisville -5
Result: 11 points off

2008: Kentucky 27, Louisville 2
Spread: Louisville -3
Result: 28 points off

2009: Kentucky 31, Louisville 24
Spread: Kentucky -13
Result: 9 points off

2010: Kentucky 23, Louisville 16
Spread: Kentucky -3
Result: 4 points off

2011: Louisville 24, Kentucky 17
Spread: Kentucky -5
Result: 12 points off

2012: Louisville 32, Kentucky 14
Spread: Louisville -14
Result: 4 points off

Kentucky has been favored in 5 games since 2000, but only covered in 1 of those 5 times.  Louisville has been favored in 8 games and covered 4 times.  Meaning the favorite has only covered in 5 of the 13 contests since 2000.  While the underdog has WON OUTRIGHT in 6 of the 13 games since the turn of the century.  Which means you have about as good a chance to see Kentucky win the game outright on Saturday as you do Louisville to cover the 15-point spread the game is currently at.

But what is most amazing is the inability of the odds-makers to have this game pegged year in and year out.  I asked a reputable gambling expert what he considered to be a good line for an odds-maker.  That is to say how close to the actual spread does the final result need to be for an odds-maker to consider his spread to be a good prediction.  This person said within 3 points.  In the 13 games since 2000, the final result of the game HAS NEVER been within 3 points of the spread, and only 4 of the 13 games has it been within 10 points.

Which means 1 of 2 things.  Either Kentucky is going to shock the world on Saturday.  Or Louisville is going to put some kind of whoopin’ on the boys in blue.  Here is to hoping the former over the latter.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

18 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Does the UK-UL game Normally Go as Predicted?

  1. Fake John Robic's Hair
    9:02 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Isn’t the goal of the oddsmakers to get the money to be 50-50 on the game?

  2. Stoops Troops
    9:04 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Come on #BBN there are still tickets left for the game this Saturday. Let’s FILL the stadium up with blue, be LOUD, and CHEER our C-A-T-S to a victory. Still tickets left for ONLY $41.00 it will definitely be worth the price of admission and there’s not a bad seat in CWS. Please help keep the red OUT!

  3. Gonzalez
    9:04 am September 12, 2013 Permalink


  4. Pepe
    9:21 am September 12, 2013 Permalink


  5. AnthonyBBN
    9:26 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Another BTI that ends with no real answers, but this one has been more informative than most. Good job on this one BTI.

  6. UK BBN
    9:36 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    I fear this year may be similar to 2001!

    9:36 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    BTI, your math is off on number nine

    9:37 am September 12, 2013 Permalink


  9. rick
    9:38 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Good article BTI , some people you just can make happy. GO BIG BLUE

  10. SteveA
    10:09 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Were those games the first of the season? If so, I thought that’s the hardest one for odds makers to predict.

  11. lonnieb
    10:27 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Vegas does not care if they get the actual spread right….they are looking for 50/50 betting. thats why this year was 10.5 and now +13 at most off shore books…they want to get more uk backers. This game also kind of has the look of a game that vegas feels uk is gonna keep it closer than everyone expects and knows every public bettor on the planet is gonna take the ville. The line movement between 11/13.5 is pretty trivial in football and if they really wanted more uk backers it would cross over to 14.5, which is a huge change……so in reality the line has changed significantly but not from a bettor point of view….if i liked the ville at 11 i like at 13.5

  12. Musehobo
    11:26 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    I would say that Vegas’ inability to set decent odds on this game has a lot to do with a heated rivalry which is played 75% of the time on the first game of the season. They haven’t had a decent chance to see what each team is working with.

  13. Jorge Pancho
    12:03 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    #1 and #11 get it. Let’s not confuse oddsmakers with game prognosticators. Vegas, in order to consistently make money, sets betting lines where equal amounts of money are likely to be waged on each team. If the final score happens to be approximate to the betting line, so br

  14. Lexington 3
    12:57 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Any “reputable gambling expert” who tells you the goal of a Vegas oddsmaker is to make a line that is within 3 points of the final score is a LIAR. Or else he isn’t actually an “expert”.

    As has been pointed out a few times, Vegas wants EQUAL MONEY on both sides of the game. Whatever line it takes to get equal money on both sides, then that is it. It does not matter in the least how close to the actual final score that line is. By splitting the money equally, Vegas can take the money from the losers and pay off the winners, and hold on to the surcharge that is charged to the losers.

    It does not do Vegas any good to have a lopsided game with much more money on one side, and then have to have a rooting interest in the outcome.

    Next time, show some understanding of your subject matter.

  15. Mark Perkins
    4:46 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Fake John is 100% right. The purpose of a line is not to predict outcome but to entice equal wagers on both sides. Because losers pay a 10% vig as long as the handle within 10% on each side, the bookies win either way.

  16. Megan
    5:59 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    As some of us have already explained (see above), Vegas isn’t predicting what’s going to happen. They’re simply evening the wagers.

    Why doesn’t KSR get this?

  17. Megan
    6:44 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Recruiting opinions are like Vegas odds. They are built on speculation. Don’t make the mistake of believing in them. Though as for that, Vegas odds are at least honest.

  18. bigcatstanding
    10:47 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    UK taking 5 of last 6 would be nice to make it 6 of 7 stranger things have happened, but really think we will retake control starting next year. And of course if this was basketball the prediction would be 4 or 5 more straight wins for Kentucky. Every sense Calipari arrived we have owned them, in just 4 short years Calipari is 4 and 1 against Ricky. GO BIG BLUE. ILF#9