Tuesday, November 10, 2009

College Football Notes: Bad SEC Officiating Affects Vegas Bettors

by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

Best college football games attract the most action

Many of the big games last week had equally big moves led by the cash of some of the sharpest groups in town. Over the first nine weeks of the season, the majority of the line movements have been on middle of the pack ACC teams, MAC teams and an occasional Big West or Mountain West side.

Last week we saw the biggest of all the games such as LSU-Alabama and Ohio State-Penn State get played by the sharps. The big games always attract the most action from the public because of the pre-hype of radio, television, internet and even newspapers – if there are still any subscribers in the country.

Regular fans know the game is on TV and they have been talking point-counterpoint with their buddies all week and get pumped up enough to make a wager on the game, usually coming Friday or Saturday morning. The normal Sharp philosophy is to find the best games available regardless if it’s broadcast anywhere, using the value of their information in lesser known attractive teams and games to their advantage.

So witnessing Alabama drop from a 10-point favorite to 7 by kickoff came as somewhat of a surprise. The Penn State game moved from being a 3.5-point favorite to 5 by kickoff. In both instances they got beat, except for the short span that they got LSU with the 10 and 9.5. The majority of the money came after those moves.

In both instances, the public and sharps were on LSU and Penn State, meaning the book did very well by knocking off two of the most bet games of the day eliminating risk on future parlays for the remainder of the day.

Moves that didn’t get there for the Sharps last Week: Notre Dame losing outright to Navy, Wisconsin barely winning at Indiana and Michigan losing outright to Purdue.

Moves that won for the sharps last week: Michigan State clubbing Western Michigan, Louisville hanging tough with West Virginia, Arkansas hammering South Carolina and Baylor winning outright at Missouri.

Just by looking at the games they did well on and the games they didn’t, it gives an example of what they have been more successful at over the years picking the lines apart on the lower class teams and shying away from the bigger games.

However, it should serve well to note that in November with so much more data and tendencies accumulated through this length of the season, there can be a more accurate read of the higher profile teams.

SEC Officials At It Again

All season long the SEC officials have been ridiculed by the media, fans, and coaches for their lack of vision. The SEC even acknowledge their errors by suspending an entire crew after the Florida-Arkansas game, but last weeks error in the Alabama-LSU game cost a whole lot of bettors some money because it happened to mess with the spread.

With 5:54 left in the game and Alabama leading 21-15 – where the spread closed at Alabama -7 with nearly everyone having LSU – the Tigers appeared to intercept a Tide pass at the 31 yard line. After several reviews clearly showed both feet in-bounds, the officials said no catch and gave Alabama the ball and they went on to kick a field goal that just about killed everyone’s LSU bet making the score 24-15.

LSU may have been hard pressed to go 69 yards and get the win had they gotten the call their way. They had a back-up QB running the show who didn’t move the ball well upon coming in, but at least give the kids a chance based on what really happened on the field. What good is replay when even the official reviewing can’t see straight?

A few conspiracy theorists in the wagering public may think otherwise as they often suggest after bad beats, but this isn’t about any kind of point shaving or a question of scandal in those regards, it’s simply about making the right call which this conference has trouble with every week. Even Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer, who has been the beneficiary of several of these calls, got fined $30,000 two weeks ago for speaking out against the officials.

"The difficult issue that I have is telling my team," LSU Head Coach Les Miles said. "The issue is telling Patrick Peterson who, in his mind, knows that it’s an interception."

The only conspiracy theory that can be logically conjured up is the SEC’s greed to have two undefeated teams going into the SEC Championship game which ensures that at least one of their teams will play in the National Title game. With it comes big Title game money for the conference and all the schools.

The conference definitely has a problem and it’s likely to play out all this week in the media everywhere, a voice the SEC can’t just fine to shut-up. Just call the game fair and don’t do any rash anti-get-back calls like happened in the Big-10 last week with Iowa against Northwestern where it appeared the officials tried as hard as they could to be tough on Iowa for their own mishaps in previous Iowa games.


A week after losing 37-0 at Wisconsin, Purdue went to Michigan and took out the Wolverines 38-36, their first win in the Big House since 1966 when Bob Griese was the quarterback. Not even Gary Danielson, Jim Everett, Drew Brees, or Kyle Orton could do it.

Joey Elliott was able to make the feat happen that no one else has in 43 years by throwing for 367 yards and two touchdowns, but how he did it is a matter of roots.

"He’s (Griese) an Evansville (Ind.) native, just like myself," Elliott said with a grin.

Purdue now sits 4-6 with a chance of making a bowl by winning out against Michigan State and Indiana. Regardless if they make it, 2009 will definitely be a memorable year just for upsetting The Ohio State University and winning at Michigan. With a couple of bounces their way at Oregon or Northwestern and maybe a few Protestant officials at Notre Dame, Purdue might be playing for one of the higher ranking bowls.

Stanford Goes Bowling

Toby Gerhardt ran for 223 yards and three scores to clinch Stanford’s 51-42 win over No. 7 ranked Oregon, a week after the Ducks had just knocked off USC. With the win, the Cardinal will be eligible for a bowl for the first time in eight seasons.

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