Friday, December 11, 2009

College Football Bowls: Early Line Movement

By Micah Roberts

When the initial Bowl lines were opened Sunday night, the first spread to get some action was Alabama as a 4-point favorite. By Monday afternoon the line had been bumped to 5.5, but then as quickly as it rose, it fell. By Monday evening the line was back to four after Texas money came in and it hasn’t moved since.

Here’s a look at some of the larger line movements of the week:

Arizona opened at pick ’em against Nebraska in the Holiday, always one of the best games of the bowl season, and was bet up to 2.5 which enticed a little Nebraska money. Arizona is currently a 2-point favorite.

Nevada opened a 14-point favorite against SMU in the Hawaii Bowl and has been bet up 16. The total opened a bowl season high of 74.5 and has bounced around settling at 74

Oregon State opened a 1-point favorite over BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl and has been bet to 2.5, the number Las Vegas Sports Consultants initially recommended. LVSC’s CEO, Kenny White, had made BYU the favorite on his sheet but settled on the Oregon State number due to all the other line-makers in the office having Oregon State favored by numbers of 3 and 4.

Fresno State opened an 11-point favorite to Wyoming in the fabled New Mexico Bowl, got some early Wyoming money dropping it to 10, but then Fresno State action kicked it up to 12.

Games that have sat dormant at the opening number include:

Utah-Cal (-3)
UNC-Pitt (-3)
B.C.-USC (-9)
ISU-Minn (-2.5)
LSU-PSU (-3)
OSU-Ore (-3.5)
ECU-Ark (-7.5)
Troy-CMU (-3.5)

With the initial first wave of action completed, most of the line movements will occur closer to game day from here on out. The main exception will be when news filters in about suspended players due poor grades and possible injuries.

The one game that could change drastically is the Stanford-Oklahoma (-8) game. Stanford QB Andrew Luck is not expected to play and has been instrumental in Stanford’s nearly unstoppable offensive attack. However, Stanford has not ruled out the possibility of Luck possibly playing since he has four weeks to heal a finger on his throwing hand since surgery. The initial line of Oklahoma favored by 9 had the rating built in with Luck not playing.

College Football Playoffs

Interesting to see how College Football’s Division 1-AA has a successful playoff system in place with no issues whatsoever. Somehow they get the concept of crowning a winner by a bracket format. If you’re the best, you move on and on, until finally someone is crowned. There is no what-ifs and everyone is satisfied that ultimately there will be only one Champion with no teams left undefeated except possibly the winner.

The Las Vegas Books have put up Villanova a 3.5-point favorite to William & Mary for Friday night’s semifinal game. Saturday has Montana laying four to Appalachian State.

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