The odds for bowl season are still fresh on the college football board but books are already getting an idea of what matchups will draw heavy action this postseason.
We talk with Aron Black of bet365.com about which non-BCS bowls early bettors are gravitating towards and which lines are making the biggest moves.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Clemson Tigers vs. LSU Tigers (-4, 58.5)
Louisiana State opened as a 3.5-point favorite and has since been bet up to four with early money on the Bayou Bengals. Black says Clemson is a dangerous team but thinks bettors are drawn to the name power of LSU and the SEC.
“LSU always rings in the average bettors’ ears of a quality NCAAF school and gets bet as such,” Black told Covers. “Understandably, they are a good team and it’s possible that No. 8 is not a fair reflection of them.”
Outback Bowl: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Michigan Wolverines (+3.5, 48)
In another case of the money being drawn to the SEC, South Carolina is outnumbering Michigan in ticket count at a 2:1 pace as of Tuesday afternoon. The Gamecocks were as big as 5-point favorites in Las Vegas for a short while.
“Still a very good team that is well coached and obviously being from the SEC gives them a little more clout in common perception,” Black says of South Carolina.
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (-5, 61)
This calm before the storm (last bowl before BCS Championship) has had some of the most dramatic early line movement on the board, moving to ASU -5 after opening as low as a pick at some markets. That move could reflect KSU coach Darrell Hazell's reported move to Purdue.
“The money is on Arkansas State and the line has been moving towards them,” says Black. “There were a few fishing lines at low numbers but mainly has been steady at -4.5 and what we have now at -5.”
“Kent State looks undervalued to me in this one and I can see them winning straight up,” he adds.
Gator Bowl: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Northwestern Wildcats (+2)
Sportsbooks made a quick adjustment to the opening spread, moving Northwestern from +2.5 to +2 but have since taken Mississippi State money, pointing the finger at the SEC vs. Big Ten matchup again. Both teams have solid records with their losses coming to elite competition.
“This is most likely viewed as a poorer version of Michigan versus South Carolina,” says Black. “The money is going with what is probably public perception of the better SEC team.”
Belk Bowl: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Duke Blue Devils (+7.5, 58)
This Big East-versus-ACC matchup on Dec. 27 has moved quite a bit at some markets with the Bearcats opening as big as 10-point favorites. Since dropping to -7.5, money has been on Cincinnati.
Black believes if you’re gauging this one purely on records, the Bearcats (9-3 SU) are your pick. The Blue Devils started the season strong but stumbled into bowl season, losing four in a row SU and ATS. Duke does have more than a month to iron out those wrinkles though.