Here's a couple points of reference - I understand this is a bit weak; a little like Wikipedia - but there's not too many news releases on point spread moves - this is regarded as "ordinary information" in the business: http://www.docsports.com/line/moves.html
College Football: http://www.vegasinsider.com/college-foo ... las-vegas/
- College is much more notorious for big line moves.
One of your "Big points" is the idea that Vegas won't take a chance and put themselves in a position to lose twice by the lines chasers. They do it ALL THE TIME. It's not as frequent in the NFL; mainly because (in my opinion) the NFL can be counted on to be more statistically relevant. But I used to make money finding the errors that Vegas made in those statistics or factors I saw that they didn't.
As for the fighter that bet on himself - I can't find the link... I thought it was Bodog or Bovada and he bet on himself and tattooed the offshore casino on his body somewhere and bragged about it... Here was a guy who did; you might be able to find the associated line move somewhere - but I won't take the time to do it: http://www.proboxing-fans.com/fighter-p ... d-hopkins/
In any case, you need to understand that this or any other than any external factor can move a line. A little or a lot. Whether it's wise guys, weather, whales, or just the public perception. The line CAN move to where Vegas can lose both sides - but you absolutely have to remember that if there were only 10 bettors and the line moved enough to attract 5 more bettors to the other side - at the end of the day (statistically speaking) - the numbers balance out. That's why they have to move the lines.
To your other point - in CFB or even NFL - betting with bias simply means that people choose who they bet on for various reasons. Lots of reasons exist, popularity is just one of them. If the 49ers are 5-0 ATS their last 5 - then guess what? I think it's a pretty good trend that I'm going to take the 49ers on the next game. If they are 9-1 there last 10 night games ATS and 15-0 against rookie QB's ATS - HELL YES - I'm taking the 49ers. But that's just a small amount of data in the grand scheme of things. Over the next 10 years, all of these numbers will even out. That's the difference between micro and macro. That's why the sports bet exists.
One of my favorite sites to find little statistical loopholes and trends is here: http://sportsdirect.usatoday.com/odds/u ... /odds.aspx
- USA Today has put this stuff out for over a decade. It shows those micro trends that sometimes help something jump off the board and smack you in the face. I have been on that page 100's of times and caught something only to see the line reflect it on game day. Danny Sheridan's lines are equally helpful in finding these little gems. Look at this one: http://stats.denverpost.com/odds/nfl.aspx
- full line moves in the NFL of over 1 point. I don't get what you are saying, honestly. This is COMMON KNOWLEDGE and I feel like you are just trying to say, "hey look, I just out maneuvered the .NET Sports Handicapper" - "Look how smart I am" - that's not what's happening here. You are taking weird angles and twisting them. What I am explaining is very common knowledge.
Again, it is VERY SIMPLE....
The books set the lines where they think the money will be bet fairly evenly. Every week they get close on a lot of games statistically, but often they get it wrong - even when statistics tell you otherwise. One of those stats is popularity. That is why I think the 49ers got a little bump in point spread. If this game is played on Sunday, the line is closer to the 3.5 it should be. Over time, if you played that game 100 consecutive times with 100 different opening lines, I'd be willing to stake my reputation on the fact that you would be 100% right about one thing - everything would gravitate towards 50%. But... we are playing on ONE game on Thursday - which is why there is a weighted preference for the 49ers. They set the line there so you can have that little battle in your head of "jeez, should I bet Seattle because the line is so much in their favor?" - that's the conversation they WANT you to have. Your "sharps" probably are betting Seattle. The whales are probably betting SF. The general public has trended toward betting Seattle based on the fact the line has moved down... And, according to the Denver Post and USA Today, it's done that by a full two points.
You gotta understand - if it's 10 bettors, you'd see this happen in much wider fluctuation - there's not 10 bettors, there are millions of them. Even a 1/2 point is a huge deal to some people. You can see on Denver Post and USA today that the line actually opened much higher - and now you can see it level out at -7. It's going to move again by Thursday night. There are so many people betting on this game and statistically they know what they are doing and how to get people to do what they want. Are there extreme cases where in CFB Florida State has a multiple point advantage if you have them at MGM vs. Hilton? YES!!!! It happens ALL THE TIME. EVERY WEEK. Are there games that the line moves and it lands right in the middle? YES... EVERY WEEK. But that really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things because it's MACRO to the casinos. For all the bettors, it's microcosms...
** Edited and Added **
One other point regarding point spreads... you can see the microcosm aspect in play if you go to a sports book in NYC, Miami, or Dallas - when you get a line from a bookie in those areas, they get way too many people betting on the home teams. They have to pump their lines up to balance it out. When *clears throat* "a guy I knew in college" used to bet through the greek system's bookies, Washington was in the national championship hunt every year. They were the best team in the Pac-10. You book through them and Washington was a solid 10-14 points different from the betting line published in the newspaper. I remember seeing one week Washington vs. OSU, and the papers had Washington as 15 point favorites or something. This bookie had it at Washington -28. It's because he was getting killed and Washington was probably going to win by 35. If I recall that year, the Huskies pretty much covered every game - but that's not really the point now is it? The same thing happens in the SEC, ACC, BIG 10, WAC, etc. every single week. Add the NFL to that list...