College Football Week 2 Money Moves

Week 2 of college football action is upon us and the bettors are already going crazy with all the cash they won last week when the books broke even, which basically means the bettors did well. They’ve got cash aplenty and they’re ready to double it up with some sweet Saturday plays.

“We’ve definitely had more action this week than last week,” said Las Vegas SuperBook manager Randy Blum. “We’ve got a couple of great two-way action games with Oregon at Ohio State, Washington at Michigan, and Iowa at Iowa State, but the ticket counts tell a different story.”

Ticket counts tell us who the common bettor is selecting with their small bets, or in other words, it tells us who the average public Joe is betting, the type of bettor who the sportsbooks routinely pay their bills with.

“We’ve seen a 6-to-1 ratio siding with Michigan, 3-to-1 with Iowa, and 2-to-1 with Ohio State,” Blum said.

The South Point’s Chris Andrews is seeing the same type of two-way action with Ohio State on money bet, but the tickets written are siding heavily with Ohio State.

“I haven’t had to move the number all week,” said Andrews, “It’s been a steady 14 with action each way, so I’m just letting it be.”

He’s right. Just because most of the national books are at 14.5, who cares? His business model says 14 is the number, so why get off a key number and get sided.

And 14 is definitely a key number in college. In regulation time from 2014-20, 14 landed 4.3% of all games, which is higher than landing 10 (4.1%), and just below 7 (6.3%) and 3 (6.2%) according to Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White’s college football preview.

The SuperBook’s Blum said they’ve seen sharp action take Miss State at +3, +2.5, to +1.5 for their home game against NC State and also mentioned his surprise at good action on a game that doesn’t look too attractive.

“They like the Miami-Ohio at Minnesota game,” Blum said. “We went from (Minn) -20.5 to -19.5, but it’s standing out in our parlay ticket counts shaded towards Minnesota.”

Gophers senior RB Mohamed Ibraham got hurt last week against Ohio State and will miss the remainder of the season. Head Coach PJ Fleck had built the entire offense around feeding Ibrahim the ball.

Here’s a look at what games loom large for a few Nevada books:

Marc Nelson - Atlantis Reno

  • Public: Notre Dame, Michigan, Army
  • Sharps: Miami-Ohio, Akron, Miss State

Jason McCormick - Station Casinos

  • Public: Michigan, Texas, Iowa
  • Sharp: Miss State, Troy, Akron

Chris Andrews - South Point

  • Public: Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Iowa, Texas
  • Sharp: Texas, Stanford, Liberty

Here are Circa Sports initial college football moves after opening the first spreads in the nation at 11 am PT Sunday morning to where they stood on Thursday at 12:30 pm PT.:

  • Colorado State from -1 to -7 vs. Vanderbilt
  • East Carolina from +3 to +1.5 vs. South Carolina
  • Temple -3 to -6 at Akron
  • North Texas +26 to +23 at SMU
  • Illinois +13 to +10 at Virginia
  • Army -3 to -6.5 vs. Western Kentucky
  • Toledo +20 to +16.7 at Notre Dame
  • Miami FL -6 to -9 vs. Appalachian State
  • Pittsburgh PK to -3 at Tennessee
  • FAU -4 to -7 vs. Georgia Southern
  • Utah -4 to -7 at BYU

What you may have missed in the scroll through where bettors pushed them is the roller coaster ride Circa went on with the spread between South Carolina at ECU which opened Gamecocks -3.

The Circa crew aggressively moved within an hour to ECU -5 after bettors were hammering the game up the ladder as if it was a bad first number posted which it wasn’t. I talked with a few guys who create their own numbers I respect and they all said they had South Carolina -3 to -1.5.

The SuperBook opened ECU -2.5 Sunday afternoon and had flipped to South Carolina -1 on Wednesday and settled at South Carolina -2. “Most of our bets we took on the game was on South Carolina at pick,” said Blum.

Circa had been pushed back and forth by different groups from pick ‘em to Gamecocks -2 on Tuesday and Wednesday and settled at -1.5 all day Thursday.

My first thought when I see something like this is immediately thinking that a sharp group figured they could seed the side against who they like, wait for the rest of the world to follow Circa, and then bet hundreds of thousands on South Carolina at whatever book they could bet at.

I don’t know how true that is, just a theory, but I’ve seen it plenty of times before in the last three decades in Las Vegas and the orchestrator of such an operation was also the bettor of all bettors, Bill Walters.

And just to be clear, the manipulation of a number in a book isn’t illegal. They already have your money. It’s the book that moves the number, and if a bettor I respected made three bets at different numbers on the same team I would move each of the numbers more than usual. Respect the player, and I’m guessing that’s what happened at Circa.

But I would have taken the game down after three moves, re-evaluate why someone finds this line so attractive when no competing lines are available, go through several channels of research, and then re-open it if everything checks out.

So congrats go out to the crafty bettors who cultivated a +5 play on South Carolina, or +2.5, or pick ‘em when the game should have always been South Carolina -3.

South Carolina has two QBs listed in the starting position. First-year head coach Shane Beamer knew one of his new assistant coaches had a year of eligibility remaining and named him the starter last week against Eastern Illinois and Zeb Noland threw for four TDs in the 46-0 win. Sophomore QB Luke Doty is expected to play, but maybe he’s not as good as Noland and maybe that’s what the sharp bettors were banking on.

Lots of avenues to run through and it would be an amazing case study at bookmakers school if there ever was such a thing. We’ll soon find out how this story ends.

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