In this edition of my line moves report, we'll discuss several significant changes in the college football betting markets. Some of the numbers on key games have been out for over two months, and yet some have not moved at all. I'll tell you why and which way I think they will go.
South Carolina at Vanderbilt
South Carolina opened -4, now -6.5
The first game on the board of the 2012 college football season was hit hard at the opening and we can certainly see why with potential Heisman running back Marcus Lattimore returning to action and a defense that is one of the best in the nation starting seven seniors. Vandy was much improved going 6-7 last season from 2-10 two years ago but they are not the sexy public team here. What I saw was early market players grabbing -6 or less, the public and square sharps jumping on board to take it to -7 and then on Monday the market players taking +7 back. In today's betting market you must be prepared to anticipate certain line moves and when they are going to be bought back, because I can tell you from experience there are hundreds of sports bettors out there who do nothing but sit around their computers all day long buying up key numbers waiting to scalp, middle, and hedge games. Yes, there were patient Vandy backers today that made their presence felt but this was a middle move for sure.
Minnesota at UNLV
Minnesota opened -9, now -8.5
We have to give our local Las Vegas team some pub here. Minnesota opened -9 pretty much everywhere and then were quickly bet down to -7.5 and I agree with the move. Now this is not that significant of a move, but the number 8 is slowly becoming a key number with the advent of the two-point conversion – teams will fight to get within 8 points to have a shot to tie the game. A popular tout service (which will remain nameless) released Minnesota and the line went -9,-9.5 and to -10. But it was bought back fast, which tells us that there are plenty of handicappers and sharp players waiting in the wings to take the home underdog, because the Gophers are simply not that strong.
Boise State at Michigan State
Michigan State opened -4.5, now -7
Week 1 college games will always be bet on teams that return a ton of starters or against a team that lost mega talent, especially to the NFL and that is case here with the line move against Boise State. They lost six players to the NFL, three from their defensive line alone, nine defensive starters total and superstars Kellen Moore and Doug Martin. If we are ever going to find out about the coaching and recruiting ability of head coach Chris Peterson, this year will be it. There are -6.5's out there and I see them disappearing. I think this line will close at -7 or -7.5.
Ohio at Penn State
Penn State opened -9, now -6
Obviously bettors are wagering that the turmoil surrounding Penn State is too much for the team to handle. So why hasn't the number gone lower? This will be an emotional contest where the Nittany Lions will try to lift the spirits of the community. I don't see this line going down any further.
Miami (FL) at Boston College
Miami FL opened -2 now -1
Not a huge move, but a significant one. Within 48 hours BC was a -1 point favorite; a three-point move. And of you shop you can still find the Hurricanes +1. We are led to believe that sharp handicappers are betting against Miami. I've talked to several guys and we all had BC as the favorite in our power ratings. Now, Hurricane Isaac has forced many southern teams to travel early and alter their schedules, making this game tougher to gauge.
Michigan at Alabama
Alabama opened -11, now as high as -14
This is a classic example of the betting markets buying a team early in anticipation of the public jumping on the obvious defending champion favorite. This line will come down and if you like Michigan you have to be careful and get at least two touchdowns, because there will be an avalanche of power underdog bettors taking the points in this one.
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