We have 73 days to go before the first college football game (obligatory countdown reference).
The Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas made it’s annual offseason splash a couple weeks ago when it finally released lines for what’s dubbed the Games Of The Year in college football. It was more big wave than splash as they drowned us with over 250 lines for the upcoming season. So now we have tons of lines and odds to digest and debate during the remainder of the offseason.
We’re a little behind in discussing these lines (or on any offseason football posting whatsoever). I want to begin by first comparing the lines that are available at other shops. Right now, all that includes is an assortment of games from Week One. The online 5dimes has had a menu of a dozen or so Week One games for the better part of two months. About a month ago, BetOnline released a spread for every single Week One game. Between those shops and the Nugget’s games of the year, that’s all we have at the moment. But it does give us a chance to see how three different books line up at least some of the same Week One slate. In order to do that, we need one of those things the smart people call CHARTS! So, here goes:
|GAME||GOLDEN NUGGET||GN, UPDATED||BET ONLINE||5DIMES|
|So Cal at Hawaii||N/A||N/A||USC -23||USC -21.5|
|Tulsa at Bowling Green||N/A||N/A||Tulsa -3||Tulsa -3|
|UNC at South Carolina||South Carolina -12||So Car -12||So Car -11||So Car -13.5|
|Ole Miss at Vandy||Ole Miss -4||Ole Miss -2||Vandy -2.5||Vandy -2.5|
|Rice at Texas A/M||N/A||N/A||A/M -28||A/M -29|
|Okie St vs Mississippi St||Okie St -14||Okie St -11.5||Okie St -11.5||Okie St -11.5|
|Penn St vs Syracuse||Penn St -6.5||Penn St -6||Penn St -5||Penn St -3.5|
|Washington St at Auburn||Auburn -11.5||Auburn -12||Auburn -13.5||Auburn -13|
|Temple at Notre Dame||Notre Dame -24||Notre Dame -24||ND -26||Notre Dame -24|
|Va Tech vs Alabama||Bama -17||Bama -17||Bama -18.5||Bama -21.5|
|Georgia at Clemson||Georgia -3.5||Georgia -2.5||Clemson -2||Clemson -2.5|
|TCU vs LSU||LSU -4||LSU -3.5||LSU -5||LSU -5.5|
|Colordao vs CSU||CSU -3.5||CSU -2.5||CU -2.5||CU -1|
|Florida St at Pitt||FSU -13||FSU -11||FSU -10.5||FSU -10|
***** Line movement reports at the Golden Nugget are courtesy of Don Best Sports. We’re based in Ohio, not Vegas, so I don’t have first hand accounts of spread shifts.
***** Some of those games above are being played on a neutral site: Penn St/Syracuse, at Giants Stadium; LSU/TCU, the Jerry Dome in Dallas; Okie St/Miss St, Reliant Stadium in Houston; CSU/CU at Invesco Field in Denver; and Alabama-Va Tech, the Georgia Dome.
***** I have no clue why the Golden Nugget’s Bama-VT line is 4 points smaller than the onlines. I also have no clue why gamblers out in Vegas didn’t hit that action when the GN released it. It seems like a lot of value when you factor in you’re laying three touchdowns right now at other shops. Consider what Bama has done in the Saban Era in these early season kickoff classic-type of matches and bowl games. These are games against heavyweight competition with a ton of time to prepare than usual. When Saban’s Death Star is pointed in your direction for too long of a time, you don’t come out in one piece. The Tide are 7-1 SUATS in these types of the games, their only falter being the 2009 Sugar Bowl against Utah. Otherwise, their average margin of victory in those games is 24 points, all were double digit victories with five being decided by at least 21 points.
***** What in the world is going on with the Clemson-Georgia game? If you like the ACC team, take the points and Clemson with Vegas. If you like the SEC team, take the points and Georgia with the offshores. I feel like Clemson, at home, should be slight favorites in this one. But that’s hardly an endorsement on them winning and/or covering. Clemson is annually one of the more flaky teams in CFB, so it makes perfect sense the array of oddsmakers out there differ on their calls of the game.
***** The same situation is going on with the Ole Miss-Vandy game in Nashville on the opening Thursday night of the season. The folks in downtown Vegas have the Rebels as road favorites. The folks offshore pencil the ‘Dores in as chalk. Both those respective lines moved in favor of the underdog. At the Nugget, the line was bet down to the current Ole Miss -2. As for the offshores, when 5Dimes released their smattering of Week One lives several weeks ago, they actually installed Vandy as touchdown favorites. I lean a little Vanderbilt in this one. I think Ole Miss comes into this season a little overrated based on last year’s bowl run (when they beat just one bowl team in the regular season) and the hotshot recruiting class that’s setting foot on campus this season. Vandy beat the Rebs a year ago in Mississippi and won by 23 points when they played on this field in 2011. And they’re 18-9 against the spread the last two seasons, 10-6 in SEC play and 11-2 at home. I think they’re the better team right now and feel they should at least squeak by in this opener by a field goal.
***** The Battle for the Mile High State also has multiple opinions on who should be favored. I don’t have much to say on this game. It’s for degenerates only, everybody should stay away. Then again, it’s the only game on during the Sunday evening window of Labor Day Weekend. On second thought, we’ll keep an open mind about playing and watching this game.
***** The biggest game of opening weekend is probably the LSU-TCU clash at the Jerry Dome. Don’t forget, TCU’s stud defensive end Devonte Fields had been suspended for this game. Three books have a line hanging for this game already and we have three different numbers to play. It’s a shopper’s market.
***** The only Big Ten game in this discussion is Penn St-Syracuse, played at Giants Stadium. Probably still a home field edge to the Nittany Lions, despite the Syracuse following in NYC. That’s just a hunch. I also just discovered that Scot Shaffer is the Orange’s new head coach. The only ACC-Pac 12 bowl tie in this year is the Sun Bowl. Here’s hoping somehow we get Arizona and Rich Rodriguez going up against Cuse and the defensive coordinator he shoved out the door so he could hire GERG Robinson. I might have to do a post later in the summer that gives us a road map to this game happening. As for this game, who knows with the Nits right now? We technically don’t even know who their starting QB is yet, but if hot shot freshman Christian Hackenburg cant win this job, my feeling is that’s trouble for PSU. If you want to bet the Lions in this game, do so at an online where you only have to lay a field goal as opposed to Vegas, which right now has this game almost at a full touchdown spread.
We’ll discuss these games, the rest of Week One and the whole season’s worth of Games Of The Year throughout the summer. This was just a taste…