The first Saturday of the college football season is upon us and NCAAF bettors – sharp and square – are having their say when it comes to the numerous adjustments on the Week 1 board. We talk to sportsbooks about the biggest moves from the first weekend of NCAAF action.
Note: Line moves are updated as of Saturday morning at 9 a.m. ET. For the latest odds and line histories, click here.
Alabama Crimson Tide at Virginia Tech Hokies – Open: +18, Move: +21
The two-time defending national champs are getting the respect from bettors, who have walked this spread all the way to the key number of -21. And that may not be its last stop if action on the Crimson Tide continues to roll in.
“So far we haven’t been able to book much action on the dog and I could see us closing 21.5 as our customers will continue to play the favorite in this game,” Peter Childs of Sportsbook.ag tells Covers. “With just over 80 percent of the early action on the favorite, we’re going to keep moving this game and force some Virginia Tech money.”
Georgia Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers – Open: +1, Move: +2.5
Linesmakers originally sent out this game at Clemson -1 but sportsbooks switched the Tigers to +1 home dogs before posting it. Action on UGA has tacked on another point and a half for this primetime matchup and even though sharp money is beginning to show on Clemson, books are standing strong at the current spread.
“We saw several sharp bets on Clemson +2, but we didn't move our number because the public keeps backing the road favorite,” Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with CarbonSports.ag, tells Covers. “With nearly 75 percent of the action on Georgia, we went to UGA -2.5 this morning.”
BYU Cougars at Virginia Cavaliers – Open: +3.5, Move: Pick
The Cougars opened as 3.5-point road chalk but wiseguys have sided with Virginia and have moved this spread all the way to a pick’em at some books and +1.5 as of early Saturday morning.
“Virginia has been a steady play since the line opened,” Aron Black of Bet365.com tells Covers. “Sharp money says the home dogs are underrated. This one will probably go off as a pick.”
Miami (Ohio) Redhawks at Marshall Thundering Herd – Open: -17, Move: -19.5
This may not be the sexiest game on the Week 1 schedule but it has certainly caught the eyes of someone out there, who has made major moves to push this spread as many as 2.5 points at some books. As of Saturday morning, most books had this line at higher than 20 points and some as high as -21.
“We had sharp action on Marshall -17 and made a move to -18 but continued to take action and we now have Marshall listed at -19.5,” Greg Sindall of SportsInteraction tells Covers.
LSU Tigers vs. TCU Horned Frogs – Open: +3.5, Move: +6
Some books have taken one-sided money on LSU, moving this spread as many as 2.5 points. The Tigers are favorites in this neutral-site showdown at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. You would think TCU would have a home edge staying in Texas but no one travels like LSU faithful. As of Saturday morning, most books had this line at +4 or +4.5.
“This is another lopsided game where we’re seeing a ton of one-sided action,” says Childs. “Just like the Alabama side, we’re booking all one-way action here. With over 80 percent on LSU, I could see us going to LSU -6.5 in the coming days.”
Mississippi State Bulldogs at Oklahoma State Cowboys – Open: -12, Move: -14 (back down to -11 as of Saturday morning)
Sharp action got the ball rolling on this line move. Since then, public money has piled on the Cowboys and could have this one climbing right up until kickoff. Some books have already crossed the key number of -13 while others are holding their breath, fearing big buyback on the Bulldogs from sharps if they spread moves to two touchdowns.
*Update: This line was bet down to -11 by Saturday morning at most online sportsbooks.
“Because we respect the wise action we took on the favorite, combined with the fact that the public is also backing the favorite, we've been very aggressive with this game and just this morning we went to Oklahoma State -14,” says Stewart. “It's safe to say, the sharps and the public are lining up on the same side in this game which makes for a lopsided game and again, forces us to be ultra aggressive in going from 12.5 to 14, going through a key number of 13 and going all the way up to another key number of 14.”
FIU Golden Panthers at Maryland Terrapins – Open: -19.5, Move: -23 (and back down to -21 as of early Saturday morning)
Florida International has been beaten up badly this offseason, prompting sharp money to side with Maryland and move the spread nearly four points since opening. However, late Friday night and early Saturday morning this line was bet back down to -21.
“Main moves are recent due to FIU RB Anthon Samuel ruled out for season due to concussion, and also questionable status for numerous players on Florida International,” says Black.
Eastern Illinois Panthers at San Diego State Aztecs – Open: -19.5, Move: -14
Money is siding with the FCS programs in this Week 1 matchup. Eastern Illinois is the team to beat in the Ohio Valley Conference and presents a challenge with its high-octane spread offense. Wiseguys have already had their say, marching this spread as many as 5.5 points at some books.