The replacement refs that caused are sorts of havoc in week two are now affecting Vegas point spreads, the AP reports.
Cantor Gaming bookmaker Mike Colbert — who makes the lines for a number of sportsbooks at Nevada casinos — told the AP that the replacement refs are worth 0.5 points for the home team because they have called more penalties on away teams so far.
This year, 55.1% of all penalties were called on the road team.
“It’s starting to concern us a bit,” Colbert told the AP. "[Refs] should have no influence on the total or the side.”
But it isn't entirely that the refs themselves that are affecting these lines, it's also the public perception of the refs.
Point spreads are meant to get even money on both sides of the bet. So when Colbert says the home teams are getting a half-point advantage, he's indicating that the public is betting like the refs are favoring the home teams.
In short: the replacement refs have thrown an absolute monkey wrench into the complicated calculus of how Vegas bookies make lines. Are the refs favoring home teams? Does the public think the refs are favoring home teams? What happens if the penalty disparity regresses to the mean?
There are a lot of questions now that weren't there before.