An Inside Look At How Circa Sports Prepares For NFL Season

Written By Nicole Russo on August 5, 2022
Circa Sports

The NFL season is quickly approaching, and there has been no shortage of breaking news lately when it comes to trades, suspensions, and odds shifts in the market. Sportsbooks like Circa Sports are preparing for the influx of betting action in the fall.

TheLines sat down with Circa Sports Director of Risk Chris Bennett to discuss betting on the NFL.

Director Of Risk Chris Bennett Talks Circa Sports Odds

When it comes to Super Bowl Futures, what are the biggest line movements you’ve seen so far?

The biggest one has been the LA Chargers. We took some money at 30-1 to win the Super Bowl, and they are down to 11-1 now. They had several free agency signings, but nothing really crazy because they have the same quarterback as last year.

The Tampa Bay Bucs have had a lot of fluctuation because we didn’t know if Tom Brady was going to come back when we first published the odds back in January. At one point, they got up to 25-1 or 30-1 and somebody knew Brady was coming back before we did and we took a meaningful bet at 25-1. Now they are all the way down to +725. That is driven so much by Tom Brady specifically.

What is Circa Sports’ biggest liability?

It is very close between the Steelers and the Raiders for very different reasons. The Steelers…I don’t know if people thought they were going to get a good quarterback that wasn’t already on the roster but they didn’t. They went and got Mitch Trubisky. I think it is going to be really tough for them. I put a number out there saying “go ahead and bet them but I think there are a bunch of teams in the AFC that are better.” We took some bets before a lot of the stuff with quarterbacks had shaken out. After they signed Trubisky, Brady went back to Tampa, Russell Wilson went to Denver, and it became clear they weren’t getting a star quarterback. We are at even longer odds now than we were when we first took those bets. But that was by far our biggest liability for a time.

Now the Raiders, being the local team and having a good year last year, people like them even more now because they got Davante Adams. We have taken an accumulation on them. Those two right now are our biggest liabilities on the Super Bowl.

You touched on odds movements after sports news breaks; how quickly does the Circa Sports team have to react to that?

With the NFL, it can be really challenging because certain players are extremely valuable. The QB position is extremely valuable to the game’s point spread, point total, Super Bowl odds, and all sorts of different things. It’s only a 17-game schedule, so every game is very important for a team’s Super Bowl chances and playoff positioning.

Depending on what that news is and what player/players it is impacting, if we don’t do something proactively, someone is going to be getting a really good bet that you otherwise wouldn’t want them to get. At any given point in time, we can say, “our number here is good, and there’s no clear value on either side,” but when information changes then that’s no longer true. You can be reactive and make line moves based on bets that have come in, or you can be proactive and do everything you can to get that information before the betting public does. Maybe you save yourself from taking bets you don’t want to take.

Like the Tom Brady situation…if I knew he was coming back, I wouldn’t have been offering those odds at the time. Sometimes it will happen where the bettor gets the info and makes the bet before you know as the bookmaker. Sometimes it is known concurrently with the public, like when Adam Schefter tweets something out. Twitter is very important to how this all operates.

We are dialed in to certain Twitter accounts we know could be sharing important information like that, but so are the people betting. If we can react fast enough, maybe we can move the number before someone gets down another bet. It is a cat and mouse game.

Someone who is a good bookmaker is going to be good at betting as well. There are a lot of similarities between the bookmaker and the bettor. We have to bet on both sides at every minute. When you’re betting, you are playing offense. You can pick and choose your spots. We are open 24/7 so we (sportsbook) are playing defense nonstop.

We hear all the time that a sportsbook is looking for 50/50 action on both sides of a bet. Is that always the case?

I would say almost all of the time we are comfortable having one side that we win to and one side that we lose to. In practice, it’s actually really hard to get things balanced. The higher your limits are, the harder that is. You could have a game where you’re completely balanced and it’s one minute before the game starts and someone comes in and makes a really big bet and now you’re not balanced anymore. So what do you do? Cut your limits down to zero? That’s not a smart way to do it.

For my own personal philosphy on bookmaking, you can’t make money if nobody wants to bet. You have to put out numbers and prices that somebody wants to bet. At the same time, you can’t just put out terrible odds. So I hope to maximize the ratio of public money to sharp money. You don’t want to be at either extreme.

There’s a lot of competition out there. How does Circa Sports differentiate itself and what sets it apart?

We offer what we consider to be fair limits to everyone regardless of their skill level. It is a really important part of the business. We want to be welcoming to every type of bettor.

It is up to us to utilize the information that a bettor is giving us by placing a bet. A bookmaker should have a skill. You can’t just sit back, put the lines up, and everyone who makes a good bet or shows they can be a long-term winner gets shut down or has their limits made obscenely low, so it doesn’t even make sense for them to continue betting with you.

Alongside all of that is transparency. We put what the limit is for a given market on all of our customer betting sheets, the app, and the website. You don’t have to play a guessing game. When that comes into play is where you have some type of approval system in place where somebody sees a bet they want to make, but they know at some threshold it won’t just go through…it will go for approval. They have to hope it will get accepted.

We just like to have it staring you right in the face. You will know, for example, the limit is $5,000 on this market.

We are trying to be really competitive, if not the best in the industry when it comes to pricing. Taking a look at MLB, our pricing overall should be better than a lot of sportsbooks. If you care about the price you are getting, we are likely going to be the best price on either side of the game.

Follow TheLines

Nicole Russo Avatar
Written by
Nicole Russo

Nicole Russo is the Brand Content Strategist for TheLines.com. Previously, she covered the gambling industries in Tennessee and Indiana as a content editor for PlayTenn.com and PlayIndiana.com. She comes from the world of poker, leading the marketing efforts for online poker in Nevada and New Jersey with the WSOP. Russo also assisted with the marketing efforts for the Caesars Sportsbook launch in 2019.

View all posts by Nicole Russo
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]