College Football Bowl Odds: Early One-Sided Action
by Trevor Whenham - 12/10/2010
There is still a lot of time to go before the bowls even start - never mind when they end - so there will be lots of line movement and public action between now and kickoff. The numbers have been posted for a few days already, though, so we are getting the first sense of where the betting affection lies in games.
At this point the most interesting bet distribution is in the games in which the bets have been very strongly on one side. When the early money strongly favors one side over the other, one of two things is going to happen - either the college football odds will move significantly in response, or we will see some odd line movement in response to some otherwise hidden betting action.
Either way, these games are worth taking note of. As of now there are 10 games with very one-sided action - at least 75 percent of bets on one side. They are:
Boise State (-17) vs. Utah - When two non-BCS darlings clash, the public can only have eyes for one. This one would have been much more interesting from a betting perspective if Utah hadn’t been so terrible against TCU. As it is, more than 85 percent of early bets have been placed on Boise State, and the line has moved from 15.5 to 17.
Baylor (-1.5) vs. Illinois – On one side you have the very exciting Robert Griffin and a Baylor team that has been doing exciting things the last couple of years. On the other side you have Ron Zook. That’s a mismatch in terms of interest if I have ever seen one. Almost 80 percent of bettors agree so far - Baylor has drawn the lion’s share of bets. The line has yet to move as a result.
Oklahoma State (-6) vs. Arizona - The Cowboys were one Bedlam win away from the Big 12 Championship and perhaps the BCS. Arizona was never a serious threat to win the Pac-10. The Big 12 is a far more popular conference right now, so it makes sense that more than three-quarters of bettors have favored the highly explosive Oklahoma State offense in this one. The line has not moved yet, and it will take a lot to move it to or over seven.
Kansas State (-1) vs. Syracuse - This would be a much better basketball game than it will be as a football game. Syracuse is a middling Big East squad, and even the top Big East teams are lousy this year, so there’s no surprise at all that the Wildcats are popular here – they are taking more than 80 percent of bets. The line movement is odd, though - it opened on the key number of three and has fallen to one. That would indicate that smart money is hitting the Orange hard.
Nebraska (-13.5) vs. Washington - Like the Oklahoma State - Arizona game, this is a case where the Big 12 gets a lot more respect. That’s amplified here by the fact that Jake Locker and the Huskies were so thoroughly disappointing this year. More than 85 percent of bets have been on Nebraska and the line has climbed from 13 to 13.5. The only thing that could make this one really interesting from a betting perspective is if it is proven that Bo Pelini has been flirting with Miami -- something he and Nebraska deny.
Clemson (-5) vs. South Florida - Again, the Big East is getting no respect - and they deserve none. The ACC isn’t great either, but it looks like the SEC compared to the Big East. The ACC team here has drawn nearly 80 percent of all bets, and the line has move from four to five.
South Carolina (-3) vs. Florida State - This is Steve Spurrier against the ghost of Bobby Bowden. It turns out the public loves Spurrier - the eastern USC has drawn more than three-quarters of all bets. Both teams played in and lost their conference championships, but the SEC is the clear victor when you compare these two conferences, and that certainly helps South Carolina draw the action.
Wisconsin (+2.5) vs. TCU - the one-sided nature of this game - Wisconsin has drawn more than 80 percent of the bets - just shows that people don’t pay attention. Wisconsin has been very impressive, but so has TCU - on both sides of the ball. This one is going to be an epic war, and should not be nearly as lopsided as it is. The line has moved from the key number of three to 2.5.
Stanford (-3) vs. Virginia Tech - The Hokies were the ones that won their conference, but it’s Stanford that has drawn all the love. Given the attention lavished on Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh all year it’s no surprise that the Cardinal are more popular than the champion of a suspect conference - especially when that champion started their season with two high-profile losses. The line hasn’t moved yet.
Nevada (-9.5) vs. Boston College - Nevada gained all sorts of respect in their win over Boise State - one of the craziest finishes to a game I have ever seen. Boston College hasn’t done anything noteworthy since Matt Ryan left. It’s a testament to the power of the media - in a good way - that the non-BCS team is the one getting all the love here. Nevada has drawn more than 80 percent of bets, though the line has not yet moved.
Vegas Sports Informer is one of the strongest college football handicappers out of Sin City and he has utilized his Las Vegas contacts and has found many weaknesses in the college bowl game lines. He will have football picks for all 35 bowl games and he expects to hit better than 60% of these games, so getting on his college football package is a great holiday investment.
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