John Avello at the Wynn Las Vegas wasted little time in opening up his BCS bowl odds Sunday. As soon as the announcement of the matchup was made official, the Wynn had the lines up within five minutes. It shouldn’t come much of a surprise that Avello and the Wynn were the first because they’ve been the first in the world all season long putting up college football lines.
They already had LSU up as a two-point favorite over Alabama in the BCS Championship game for over a week so there wasn't a mystery with the line, but a couple of the other games did raise some eye-brows, not only with the odds but the actual matchups.
Two teams that likely shouldn’t have been BCS-bowl bound, Virginia Tech and Michigan, are playing each other in the Sugar Bowl with the reason being simply because their alumni travel well. Does Virginia Tech really deserve a shot at playing on this stage after getting pounded twice this season by a questionable Clemson squad?
The ACC is just a notch -- a small notch -- above the Big East. Meanwhile we have Kansas State (10-2) coming from the strongest strength of schedule conference and ranked No. 8, three positions higher than the Hokies and seven higher than Clemson, getting left out because they’re not a strong traveling school.
You can throw Michigan into that group as well, but they always travel well. Who knew that traveling well was one of the BCS criteria? So this what it’s become about in the BS -- or rather BCS -- bowl system, teams that travel well and sell hotel rooms will get the nod from a major conference and become eligible for an invite if their in the top-14 of the BCS standings.
The Wynn opened Virginia Tech as a three-point favorite over Michigan, but were immediately bet against dropping it down to -1 ½. The Las Vegas Hilton opened their numbers shortly after with Tech -1 and have since moved to PICK.
Trying to see who the bettors thought was worse, the ACC or Big East, didn’t take long in Orange Bowl matchup between West Virginia and Clemson. Clemson opened as a 2 ½-point favorite and was immediately bet up to -3. The Hilton opened their number at -3 ½.
The Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl give us a couple of classic matchups that are sure to leave us wanting more, like an extended playoff system to see how the winners would do against the winner of the SEC bowl.
The Wynn opened Oregon -4 ½ against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and it has been bet up to -5. The Hilton opened Oregon -4 and had been bet up to -5 ½ by Monday morning. It’s almost like we have seen this game before with the Big 10 type of team in Stanford not being able to keep up with the speed of Oregon earlier this season.
Oklahoma State did all they had to do in crushing Oklahoma last week in hopes that voters would want to see the best team from the Big 12 play the best team from the SEC, but it wasn’t enough as the terrible loss at Iowa State still lingered in the back of every voters mind.
The Cowboys opened as a 3 ½-point favorite in the Fiesta Bowl against Stanford in what should be a very entertaining game. The two teams have contrasting styles with the physical Stanford squad led by Heisman candidate Andrew Luck and his precision execution to Oklahoma State’s fast paced offense led by 28-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden. So far, this has been the only game with no movement as bettors are showing great respect for each team.
Meanwhile, one-loss Boise State is left out of the mix joining Kansas State as a casualty of BCS politics. Houston was also punished harshly with their loss to Southern Miss falling from No. 6 all the way to No. 19 as if the voters said, “go away already, you’re bothering me.” Southern Miss didn’t get much credit for knocking off the undefeated Cougars moving up only three positions to No. 21.
While the system is surely flawed, South Point sports director Bert Osborne loves the low numbers on the games.
“What the low numbers do is keep the underdog money-line respectable to a point where we don’t lose too much if the ‘dog wins,“ said Osborne. “Everyone thinks that when the underdogs win we do well. But that’s not always the case, especially in the bigger bowl games with huge action. The trend with the public is usually to lay the points or take the odds with the ‘dog at plus-money.”
Osborne opened LSU -2 over Alabama in the Championship with a total of 40. He shortened the money-line about 10 cents to LSU -130 and +110 on Alabama just to be ahead of the game over the counter that always replays itself.