Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

Total Moves - Week 1

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College Football Week 1 Total Moves

The first full weekend of college football always brings some significant movement in totals numbers. Lines have been out for much longer which aids in that regard, but the first full month, especially the first week, is more of a feeling out process with where numbers open and ultimately close. It's a good time of year to try and get out and be ahead of some of these moves if you see and edge you really like, or wait on a game if you see it best to go against a big move.

Those two scenarios are the topic of this piece, and while it's tough to use the words 'correct' and 'incorrect' line moves at this juncture – again a feeling out process in the first few weeks – there is always going to be a few moves to agree with and a few that appear best to be going the other way.

Week 1's betting market has already shown some of those, and while it's tough to get down on the “agreeable” move and a much worse number, with all the in-game betting out there now you can use the info that way if there is some early action (or no action) to push the total back closer to the opener. So just keep that in mind for the second game in this piece, but for now it's about starting with the Week 1 total move that should be second guessed.

Week 1 Total move to disagree with:

Duke/Alabama from 61.5 to 57

This move hasn't been all straight 'under' money, and the 61.5 was the original opener back in July – it's been fluctuating between 58.5 and 57 for about 10 days now – but one of the best times to catch an 'over' in Alabama games is in the first game of the year.

Saban's Crimson Tide teams have become known for the 48-6 victory that leaves total bettors on both sides of the number sweating a lot. Taking 'overs' in general in 'Bama games can be difficult because of how suffocating their defense can be, and you do tend to need both teams on the football field to contribute to hit 'over' plays. It's why you will likely see plenty of 'under' money in Alabama games right off the opening numbers, just to see how far the market it will adjust.

But starting in 2008 – Saban's second year at Alabama – the Crimson Tide are 7-2-2 O/U vs the closing line in season openers, and have scored at least 33 points in all but one of those contests. They put up 40+ in nearly half of those 11 games (5), and averaged 39.5 points per game during the entire span. That's not a resounding ringing endorsement because something like a 40-6 game still leaves the 'over' 10 points short. But the other two times they were favored by 30 or more since 2008, Alabama put up 48 points both times. Give them that many points on the scoreboard and Duke doesn't have to pull that much of their weight to get up and over 57 points.

And there may not be a “better” time of year to get a few points up on Alabama as a much weaker foe. Saban's teams (during that same time period from 2008's opener on) have allowed 12.2 points per game in season openers, and allowed at least 10 points in seven of those 11 games.

With 'Bama LB Dylan Moses now gone for awhile, the Tide now have to switch up who calls the signals out on defense and that will bring some growing pains with it. It's not going to hurt Alabama greatly in this game, or likely however many weeks it takes them to work out those kinks, but it could easily hurt them enough to give up multiple scores to a Duke team that understands it's got to take some shots. The best friend of big plays is miscommunication on defense, and Duke gets just one of those and an 'over' ticket is looking alright.

Alabama would name their score against a Duke defense that's hoping for improvement from a lot of returning starters, and if Duke can put up 10+ points early on 'Bama it only forces the Tide to make that number greater in their “name the score” game. Seeing this game land somewhere right between the current total and the opener in July would not be shocking at all, as 52-7 sounds a lot like an Alabama score in Week 1 doesn't it?

Week 1 Total move to agree with:

Oregon/Auburn from 58 to 55.5

The highest profile game of Week 1 in terms of rankings is this Ducks/Tigers game, and I hate to say it Ducks fans, we've seen this story before. Not only specifically with this Oregon Ducks program, but with any Pac-12 team that goes and ventures out to another Power 5 opponent that's known for size/speed and physicality on defense. Oregon dealt with it last year against Michigan State in their Bowl game that ended up in a 7-6 final, Stanford and Pitt played to a 14-13 score in their Bowl game, and Cal and TCU needed OT to help them finish with 17 total points in their Bowl game.

The notion that the Pac-12 is 'soft' is probably not true in the end, but those kinds of beliefs and views don't come about without some speck of truthfulness in there. Now those low scores in last year's Bowl games came about for a variety of other reasons as well, but maybe it's a case of these Pac-12 teams wanting to shed that 'soft' label – especially on defense – and go out and play stout defense of their own. Oregon and Stanford still won those low-scoring affairs, and as much as Ducks fans may want to believe their best path to a victory here is in a shootout 35-30 type game, chances are it will be Auburn's defense who is more likely able to get that key defensive stop late in that style of contest. The Ducks defense will be out to bring it early and prove they are more than worthy of their Top 15 ranking.

The same can be said for Auburn's defense who has no doubt heard plenty about Oregon QB and Heisman hopeful Justin Herbert. Herbert came back to school to play and perform well in the biggest games at the collegiate level and this is his first opportunity in 2019 to do so. But Auburn can help their own cause in a big way by making a point to contain/harass/frustrate Herbert all game long to at least slow down Oregon's desire to play fast.

Auburn's defense only gave up 19.2 points per game a year ago, and they've got seven returning starters from that unit back, including their entire secondary. It will be on the backs of those DB's in the back end that Auburn makes life tough for Herbert in this game, with 50 points being around the range this one tops out.

Other Notable Moves


Utah State-Wake Forest: 62.5 to 59.5
Colorado State-Colorado: 58 to 55.5
Eastern Michigan-Coastal Carolina: 55.5 to 53
Boise State-Florida State: 54 to 51.5
Miami-Ohio-Iowa: 49.5 to 47


Wisconsin-South Florida: 56.5 to 59.5
Akron-Illinois: 56 to 61
Toledo-Kentucky: 59 to 62
Mississippi State-Lafayette: 57.5 to 60

(Current Odds as of Wednesday per Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook)

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