Friday, November 5, 2010

Week 10 College Football Betting Moves in Las Vegas Sports Books

By Micah Roberts

On Monday, many sports books opened Oregon -28 ½ for their home game against Washington. At about 12 pm (PDT), an alert came out saying that Jake Locker was out for the Huskies. Most books took the game off the board and wanted to re-evaluate the value of Locker and how it related to the spread. Other books made subtle adjustments of 3 or 4 points and re-opened the game, likely prematurely.

In the NFL, a quarterback rating for a superstar player can be worth sometimes up to 5 points, but in College, it can a should be higher, especially for a player that is the entire team. In Washington’s case, their rating without Locker playing drops nearly 8 points. Some books who adjusted too little found out the hard way as bets pushed the number up, while the others that waited to offer a sound line of -35 to -36. It doesn’t mean that Oregon will cover easily, but it is much likelier that Washington will have a more difficult time scoring with back-up Keith Price starting.

In a similar situation, Miami opened 10 ½-point Favorites for their home game against Maryland. The difference in this game from the Washington game was that the sports books knew Miami quarterback Jacory Harris would be out. The bettors still saw value in taking the points with Maryland because of seeing backup Stephen Morris throw two picks and lose at Virginia last week, despite a valiant effort late in the fourth quarter. By Thursday afternoon, the game moved to Miami -7 ½.

Syracuse is on a roll right now having bumped their record to 6-2 and they face an injury riddled Louisville team this week. Louisville’s star running-back Bilal Powell was known to be out and was put into the opening number of Syracuse as 6-point favorites. But then Thursday night it was announced that Louisville’s starting quarterback, Adam Froman, would be out as well. The sports books all took the game off the board with most readjusting to -7, a one point move. Froman isn’t in the same caliber of Locker or Harris, but he has been the starting quarterback all season and fared very well for the Cardinals. His value to the team, combined with Powell being out, might warrant a larger adjustment.

The big game of the week between No. 3 TCU and No. 5 Utah will be a game that most in the nation will not be able to see. The television package the Mountain West conference has is brutal and who could blame BYU for skating for richer pastures on their own. It’s pretty sad when an individual school like BYU -- not exactly a powerhouse in collegiate athletics -- can go out and do better on their own than the entire conference can. A conference like the MWC that has demanded respectability from everyone can’t even get it within television, let alone an automatic BCS bowl birth.

Between DirecTV and Cable, many will be able to see the game on CBS-College, but not all cable outlets have the network. So while top-5 teams are battling it out in Salt Lake City, the entire nation will be watching Alabama at LSU on the real CBS which is sure to be seen, and influence all the votes that get fed into the BCS computer much more than the blip registered from a three digit TV channel.

TCU opened as 6-point road favorites and was bet against early taking the game to -4. Alabama, by the way, is steady at -6 ½ all week.

Here’s a look at some of the other College Moves of the Week:
Louisiana Tech opened as 2 ½-point home underdogs against Fresno State, but are now favored by 2.
UTEP opened as 8-point home underdogs against SMU and has been bet down to +6 ½.
UAB opened as 9-point home favorites against Marshall and have been bet to -10 ½.
Washington State opened as 15 ½-point home underdogs to Cal and are currently +14.
New Mexico opened as 11-point home underdogs to Wyoming and are now +9.
Mississippi opened 26 ½-point favorites to UL-Lafayette and are now -28.
North Texas opened as 13-point home underdogs to Troy and are now +11 ½.

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