NCAAF opening line report: Big early wagers moving Week 7 pointspreads

Oct 8, 2017 |

We’re ostensibly at the halfway point of the college football season, and heading into Week 7, there’s an unbeaten team in the Pac-12 making a lot of noise. But not necessarily the team everyone thought would be a noisemaker. Covers checks in on the opening lines and a boatload of early movement for a quartet of contests, with insights from Dave Mason, brand manager for offshore sportsbook

No. 9 Washington State Cougars at California Golden Bears (+12.5)

Washington State is unbeaten, already taking down previously perfect Southern California in Week 5, then ripping another good Pac-12 outfit in Week 6. The Cougars (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) went to Oregon as a 1.5-point favorite and hammered the Ducks 33-10.

California (3-3 SU and ATS) got out of the gate with three consecutive SU victories, then had a good showing in a home loss to USC. But the Golden Bears haven’t been able to keep up the past two weeks, losing at Oregon 45-24 as a 17-point underdog, then 38-7 at Washington catching 28.5 points.

“Washington State’s thrashing of Oregon last weekend was one of the biggest college winners of the weekend for the public,” Mason said. “This week, the early bettors jumped all over the opener of Cougars -12.5, moving the number quickly up to 14.5. It’s looking like the house will be rooting against Washington State again. Just 32 percent of the early bettors are taking the points.”

At one point, the line reached 16, before settling back to 14.5 late Sunday night.

No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns (+10.5)

Oklahoma is still looking for the license plate of the bus it got hit by Saturday. The Sooners (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) had a bye week to prepare for Iowa State and led the Cyclones by 14 on three occasions in the first half, yet lost 38-31 as a massive 31-point home favorite.

Texas (3-2 SU, 3-1-1 ATS) looks to be pulling itself together after a season-opening home loss to Maryland. The Longhorns went on the road in Week 5 and beat that same Iowa State squad, then outlasted Kansas State in Week 6 with a 40-34 overtime victory to push as 6-point faves.

“It seems like the early bettors are off of the Oklahoma bandwagon, as 64 percent of them are counting on Texas to cover their fifth straight Red River Rivalry,” Mason said.

Indeed, the Sooners opened -10.5 in this neutral-site game at the Cotton Bowl, and they were bet down to 7.5 in a matter of minutes.

No. 23 Utah Utes at No. 13 Southern California Trojans (-13)

Southern Cal was supposed to be the Pac-12 darling, and may still be, but currently is looking up at aforementioned Washington State, along with Washington. The Trojans (5-1 SU, 1-5 ATS) bounced back from the loss to Wazzoo by rolling Oregon State 38-10 Saturday as a hefty 32.5-point home fave.

Utah had hoped to head to SoCal with a perfect record, but Stanford had other plans in Week 6. The Utes (4-1 SU, 4-0-1 ATS) went off as 3-point home pups and the oddsmakers got it just right, as Utah lost 23-20.

“With a 1-5 ATS record, USC has not been kind to its loyal bettors this season. Utah, on the other hand, has been a covering machine,” Mason said. “This game isn’t getting a ton of early action, but 60 percent of the bettors so far are counting on another Utes cover.”

Those early wagers took the line from USC -13 to -11.5, but it rebounded to 13.5 late Sunday night.

No. 13 Auburn Tigers at Louisiana State Tigers (+4)

Auburn’s only loss this season was a more-than-respectable showing at Clemson in a 14-6 Week 2 setback getting 6 points. The Tigers (5-1 SU, 2-2-2 ATS) have won four in a row since then, including a 44-23 victory over Missouri on Saturday as a 21-point chalk.

Louisiana State suffered arguably the biggest upset of the season in Week 5, falling to Troy 24-21 as a 20.5-point favorite. But LSU (4-2 SU, 1-4-1 ATS) rebounded by squeaking past Florida 17-16 in Week 6 as a 1.5-point fave.

“Tons of movement on this one from the get-go, as Auburn moved from 4-point road chalk all the way to 9-point favorites,” Mason said. “This aggressive line move makes perfect sense considering that Auburn is taking on more early bets than any other team on the college betting board. Only 16 percent of early bettors believe that LSU can cover for just the second time this season.”

That said, LSU money started showing by mid-evening Sunday, drawing the line back down to Auburn -6.5.

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.

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