We’ve got a few big games in college football’s week 3 action that will surely get the bettors clinging to a side whether it’s Alabama at Florida, Auburn at Penn State, or early bettors taking Tulsa on a 6.5 point ride betting against Ohio State.
“We’re expecting great handle again this week,” said Las Vegas SuperBook manager Randy Blum. “These bettors were a little apprehensive in the first week, but they came strong last week, and we’re seeing similar trends this week.”
Surprisingly, only because I remember decades of games between Nebraska and Oklahoma always being the game of the year, their 87th meeting Saturday hasn’t drawn any interest as the Sooners have been -22 all week at most books.
Station Casinos sportsbook VP Jason Mccormick said their sharpest plays this week have been on Colorado, North Texas (+14 vs. UAB), and Kansas State (+3 vs. Nevada) which all happened after Circa Sports let bettors punch away at early numbers for low limits when opening Sunday at 11 am PT.
Circa opened Minnesota -3 and were pick ‘em by the end of the day. Colorado has been bet up almost everywhere to the 3-point favorite. The Gophers lost star senior RB Mohamed Ibrahim two weeks ago due to a leg injury against Ohio State, but the uncertainty here appears to be what to make of the Buffaloes performance last week in a 10-7 loss against Texas A&M who played with a backup QB for most of the game.
The Kansas State sharp wagers are just a matter of the books and the bettors disagreeing on how much of a difference there is between starting QB Skylar Thompson being out Saturday against Nevada with a leg injury and backup sophomore Will Howard who had lots of snaps last season. Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White says the difference is worth 4.5-point down from Thompson.
The Las Vegas SuperBook has only seen a few sharps make wagers through Thursday afternoon.
“We don’t have a lot of sharp bets in yet, but we did see significant play on Coastal Carolina (at Buffalo) forcing us to move from -11 to -14,” said Blum. “We also saw action on Stanford (at Vanderbilt) that moved us from -10.5 to -12. Eastern Michigan (at U-Mass) moves from -18 to -22, but that was more of a market move for us.”
Then there’s the cautionary move with the market’s number even though no action has forced it. The air move when questions persist about a key player’s health. Keep the book safe, while also giving out a few extra points on the other side for those that want it.
“We moved Utah from -7 to -9, but it was just a precautionary move based on public perception seeing that San Diego State’s quarterback was questionable or didn’t practice,” Blum said. “We didn’t take any action on it either way.”
Aztecs QB Jordan Brookshire didn’t practice Monday and Tuesday and if he doesn’t start Saturday at home (Carson, CA), sixth-year senior backup QB Lucas Johnson will get the start. Johnson appeared to be the front runner for the starting job coming out of spring. There’s really not a dropoff between the two. Most books are still sitting with Utah -9. If it’s announced Brookshire is indeed out, expect another short rise in the number.
But it’s the big games driving the traffic to the books this week. Penn State has won and covered six straight since last season and Auburn has averaged 61 ppg in their first two games.
“Our largest handled game of the week so far is Auburn at Penn State and it’s had great two-way action so far,” Blum said. “We opened Penn State -7 but moved fast downward. Most of all the action on both sides is just the general public.”
Just an FYI on the Penn State game: It starts at 7:30 pm ET and every attending Beaver Stadium has been notified to wear white for the white-out under the lights. Sounds intimidating. Ask yourself why this total has dropped from 53.5 down to 50 when one of the teams has averaged 61 points in two games.
We saw Florida give Alabama a scare in the SEC Championship game last season. The Tide still won, 52-46, but the +16 on a neutral field had Florida bettors cheering with no sweat. Florida’s QB from last season is gone, but so is Alabama’s.
“Alabama at Florida doesn’t have any sharp play yet but we’re seeing good two way action,” Blum said. “I think they (sharps) have a side they like but want to wait until their desired number finally shows before they bet.”
It’s interesting to note that two of the three new QBs at elite programs have already lost with CJ Stroud at Ohio State and DJ Uiagalelei at Clemson. Alabama’s Bryce Young is going to get his first SEC road test at Gainesville. It’s a big step but most bettors are taking a side based on how he does in that spicey environment.
Atlantis Reno sportsbook director Marc Nelson said his top public plays for Saturday are Cincinnati (-3.5 at Indiana), Iowa (-22 vs Kent State), and Alabama. McCormick at Stations has two of those three with Marshall (-10 vs. ECU) instead of Iowa.
Lots of total movement this week but Blum recalled one of his sharp bettors seeking out one game.
“We had sharp money bet a total hard,” Blum said. “They bet the over in Utah State at Air Force pushing us from 50.5 to 54.”
Here’s a look at some of Circa Sports biggest Week 3 moves:
Liberty from -23 to -29 to -27.5 vs. Old Dominion
Arkansas -18 to -23.5 vs. Georgia Southern
Colorado +3 to -3 vs. Minnesota
U-Mass +21 to +17 vs. Eastern Michigan
UTSA -9 to -13 vs. Middle Tennessee State
Tulsa +31 to +24.5 at Ohio State
Baylor -14 to -17.5 at Kansas
San Jose State -3 to -6.5 at Hawaii
Texas A&M -25 to -30 vs. New Mexico
Michigan -24 to -26.5 vs. Northern Illinois
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