College football bettors are over the hump and heading down the home stretch of the schedule. There are plenty of lines on the move as Saturday’s slate draws near.
We talked with veteran oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro of William Hill Sportsbooks in Nevada about the biggest adjustments on the Week 9 board:
Texas Longhorns at Kansas Jayhawks – Open: +22, Move: +19
Bettors are fading the No. 24 Longhorns after two losses and a close win over Baylor last weekend. The Jayhawks, losers of six straight, are drawing money – a rarity in Big 12 betting this season.
“Kansas is abysmal but Texas is a bit overrated,” Vaccaro told Covers. “We took a little money on the favorite but it’s been all Kansas money since Wednesday. On the surface, this looks like too many points.”
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Rice Owls – Open: Pick, Move: -2.5
The winless Golden Eagles are not only dealing with a MASH unit under center but QB Anthony Alford’s mom was arrested following an altercation at last weekend’s 59-24 loss to Marshall. Just another log on the fire that burns beneath the seat of Ellis Johnson.
Alford is doubtful for Saturday due to a case of turf toe, leaving the Golden Eagles to turn to senior Chris Campbell, who was cleared to practice this week, if Alford can’t go. Campbell has been out since September with a shoulder injury.
“You’ll get some towel tossers,” says Vaccaro. “From what everyone expected (from Southern Mississippi) this year, the towel tossers are a little more prevalent when hopes are that high. If they get down in the third quarter, it’ll show a lot more.”
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Kansas State Wildcats – Open: -5.5, Move: -7.5
Sharps and public bettors are both sold on Kansas State, moving this number past the touchdown heading into the weekend.
“The number looked a little short and a few respected handicappers came in on it early,” says Vaccaro. “It’s a bet on KSU game. We undervalued them. When you get the public enthralled by a team, they push through those numbers with ease."
Vaccaro doesn’t expect any buyback on Texas Tech, which has covered in all six of its wins and ranks 17th in the nation.
Ohio State Buckeyes at Penn State Nittany Lions – Open: -2.5, Move: +1, Move: -1
This line has jumped the fence numerous times since post and Vaccaro believes it will jump sides one more time, projecting a closing spread of Ohio State -2 before the 5:30 p.m. ET kickoff. Buckeyes QB Braxton Miller is ready to go after a scary hit last weekend.
“It’s a tough game to gauge as a capper. But for us, we know it’s going to be all Ohio State money coming Saturday morning,” he says.
Washington State Cougars at Stanford Cardinal – Open: -21.5, Move: -25
The Cougars have been a disappointment in their first year under head coach Mike Leach. However, a laundry list of injuries hasn’t helped the cause and has swung this spread 3.5 points in favor of the home side.
“Injuries plus expectations,” says Vaccaro. “You want to talk about expectations, with Leach coming there. It’s all kind of unraveled. I supposed he inherited a team without any really good players. You would have never made this number back on August 31.”
Syracuse Orange at South Florida Bulls – Open: -6, Move: -3
Two Big East teams heading in different directions have plenty of bettors putting their green on the Orange. Syracuse has won two of its last three and gave Rutgers a fight two weeks ago. The Bulls, on the other hand, haven’t won since back-to-back victories to open the schedule, dropping five in a row heading into homecoming.
“There is a lot of money on this,” says Vaccaro. “A lot of money on SU.”
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Oklahoma Sooners – Open: -9.5, Move: -11.5
The early money is on OU, fading the Fighting Irish’s perfect 7-0 record. However, Vaccaro expects buyback from wise guys as this primetime matchup draws closer Saturday night.
“I think more than just the public is going to be on Notre Dame,” he says. “I think some of the smarts are waiting to see how high this will go. They’re getting a lot of points.”
The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas released a spread of Oklahoma -11 versus Notre Dame as part of their Games of the Year back in June.
“It looked right then, and seems about right as of now,” Vaccaro says of that early line. “I’d love to have 15 games like this every Saturday.”
Check out all of Week 9 NCAAF line moves on our live odds page.