Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM
College Football Week 'Zero' Money Moves
College Football opens the season with four games on Saturday kicking off with a Big Ten clash as Nebraska seeks revenge at Illinois (1 pm ET). It’s the perfect practice session for Las Vegas bookmakers to get their football chops acclimated again after what seems like an eternity since Alabama beat Ohio State, 52-24, January 11 in the National Championship game.
But the excitement hasn’t been felt yet by the betting community, or at least as much as Las Vegas Superbook manager Randy Blum figured it would. “We haven’t seen as much action as last year, but it’s a little different situation,“ Blum said. “I’m sure we’ll the action pick up tonight (Friday) or Saturday morning.” Maybe why no one is running to the bet windows is because we’ve got a combination of big numbers, lower-tiered Big Ten teams, no ranked team, New Mexico State playing, and one team who took the COVID-19 season off.
NEBRASKA AT ILLINOIS (1:00 P.M. ET)
“The game with the most money is by far the Nebraska/Illinois game with the underdog (Illinois +7) having the most tickets written and the most action,” said Blum who opened Nebraska -7.5 and got as low as -6.5 for two days until jumping back to -7. “We don’t have any big bets on the game, just small money adding up large on the dog.” The Superbook has also taken small action on the total under starting at 55 and settled at 54 on Friday afternoon. Last season, Illinois went into Lincoln and beat the Cornhuskers 41-23 and will be bringing most of that same team, including senior QB Brandon Peters who engineered the win as a 17-point underdog.
HAWAII AT UCLA (3:30 P.M. ET)
The afternoon game with Hawaii traveling to UCLA (3:30 pm ET) has a lot of people puzzled because the big number (-17.5) scares them. Hawaii showed some good ball movement last season and return 18 starters. UCLA has 19 starters back from a 3-4 squad and many experts are saying they will contend for the Pac-12 South division. “The UCLA game is our lightest handled game of the week so far which is surprising because we usually get the L.A. crowd in town betting their teams all the time,” Blum said. The SuperBook opened UCLA -16.5 and got slowly pushed to -18 on Tuesday for one day before going back to -17.5. People liked the +18, but I found something else way more interesting that Blum told me. “We have a lot more people betting UCLA for next week’s (home) game against LSU,” Blum said. “They took the +4.5.” Sharp bettors think they see value already regardless of what happens against Hawaii. Anyway, LSU is now painted -4 across the states.
UCONN AT FRESNO STATE (2:00 P.M. ET)
Connecticut football is the team that took 2020 off and most of the same players are back due to getting an extra year of eligibility due to a pandemic. But those players returning went only 3-21 combined between 2018 and 2019. Their first game will be to travel across the country to lovely Fresno (2:00 pm ET) where the Bulldogs opened -27 and are now -27.5. “We took a small bet laying 27 with Fresno, but not a lot of action at all, “ Blum said.
UTEP AT NEW MEXICO STATE (9:30 P.M. ET)
The South Point sportsbook’s biggest risk is UTEP at New Mexico State (9:30 pm ET) which will be the last game posted and compound the risk already tied to the game. Book director Chris Andrews opened UTEP -7 on July 8 when no one else had it posted and it ran to -9 by August 5. He made the move to -10 on Tuesday and was at -10.5 for an hour on Wednesday before going back to -10.
Blum says the Superbook has a few UTEP bets but their moves on the game have been to just stay with the market rather than letting the money push them. He’s also received over action to push their total from 54.5 to 59.
That’s all for the soft opening of college football. All the best!
However, Blum gave me a few more sharp sides in addition to UCLA that bettors have been jumping on for next week’s games. He said Rice +20 at Arkansas and Marshall -2.5 at Navy were the heaviest early liability.
I’ll be back next Thursday for more updates on those games and more.