College Bowl Betting Heavy in Opening Weekend
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 12/21/2010
Normally contests involving schools like Troy and Texas El-Paso aren’t among our most popular with bettors, but add ESPN to the mix and you’ve got the formula for good action. Yes, it was a busy time for Bodog as the NCAA college football bowl season kicked off Saturday with three games.
Perhaps the most interesting match-up from a betting standpoint was the Humanitarian Bowl between Northern Illinois and Fresno State. We opened the wagering at Fresno State (+3) and immediately saw support for the underdog. Such was the support that heading into the weekend the line had moved all the way to +1, at which point we booked significant buyback on the favorite. By kickoff, the line had shifted back to +1.5.
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In other words, there was plenty of managing for us to do on this one. And at the end of the day, we were happy when the Huskies took out the Bulldogs, 40-17, so a job well done.
The big game for us this week will undoubtedly be the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl with Boise State facing off against Utah on Wednesday. Obviously this isn’t the bowl either team wanted to be playing in, and that probably goes double for the Broncos. A shock 34-31 overtime loss to Nevada on Nov. 26 ended Boise State’s national championship aspirations, not to mention its 24-game winning streak. The fact the Broncos held a 17-point lead at halftime made the defeat even harder to take.
As for the Utes, they had similarly high aspirations before losing its first game of the season on Nov. 6 to TCU. A loss to Notre Dame the following week only added to the disappointment.
We opened the betting for the Las Vegas Bowl with Boise State as a big 17-point favorite, but apparently that wasn’t enough for the majority of bettors, who forced us to move the number to 17.5.
I’ll be curious to see if motivation is a factor for either team considering both squads had their eyes on a BCS berth only a short while ago. You’d have to think a win for the underdog Utes would mean more than one for the Broncos, but there’s really no question the latter is the superior group.
The total for the game has been set at 61 with a slight majority of the early action coming in on the under. Boise State surrendered just 13.6 points per game this season, good for fourth in the nation, albeit against questionable competition if you’re an SEC fan.
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