Week 14 of the college football schedule is a biggie. Several of the most heated, storied and best rivalries will have new chapters written in stadiums from coast to coast.
We talk to oddsmakers about the biggest line moves on Saturday’s NCAAF board:
Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers - Open: +11, Move: +10.5, Move: +11
The Iron Bowl. Despite the past four winners going on to be crowned National Champs, this year's version could be the most important in some time. The Tide opened as 10.5-point faves at most outlets and action seems to be split down the middle.
"We opened Alabama -11, but most of the initial action was on the dog so we dropped it down to 10.5," says Peter Childs of Sportsbook.ag. "At 10.5, we booked sharp action on the favorite and moved it back to 11 and that’s our current number. We’ve booked this game pretty even, but I suspect more of our recreational players are going to take the points with Auburn."
Clemson Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks - Open: -5, Move: -3
Despite being 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings with their bitter in-state rivals, action has come in and backed Clemson trimming the spread all week. The Tigers have been hot recently, however. They've won four-straight games SU and covered the spread in their last three.
"We opened South Carolina -5 and all the early money was on the dog, so we quickly went to 4.5 and eventually 4," Childs says. "We then booked sharp action on Clemson so we basically skipped going to 3.5 and went straight to South Carolina -3. Over 75 percent of the action is on Clemson but since going to 3, we’re seeing quite a bit of money starting to show on South Carolina."
Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines - Open: +12, Move: +16
Since opening, the line has moved towards the favored Buckeyes. Ohio State is still in contention but needs a loss from one of the programs above them. Sill, they need to take care of their own business against the hated Wolverines.
"This line has been creeping further and further to Ohio State, and action has gone with them from 12.5 to 15.5 at about a 3-to-1 ATS clip," says Aron Black of Bet365. "Michigan can play spoiler to Ohio State's BCS aspirations, but they are in tough against a very good Buckeyes team."
Baylor Bears at TCU Horned Frogs - Open: +13, Move: +15
Childs confirms that this matchup will be one of the biggest decisions for his book as Baylor backers have come fast and furious supplying 90 percent of the action. The Bears were throttled by Oklahoma State one week ago, but are a dynamite 8-2 ATS on the season.
"We opened Baylor -13 and all the money so far has been on Baylor," says Childs. "We went to 13.5, then 13.5 -115 and -13.5 -120, before going to that key number of -14. But that didn’t stop the bleeding and we eventually went to 14.5 and just this morning we went to Baylor -15."
Florida State Seminoles at Florida Gators - Open: +27.5, Move: +27.5
The Gators would love to play spoiler to their in-state rival, but are coming off a terrible defeat at the hands of FCS Georgia Southern. The loss is basically the icing on the Gators' awful season, but history is on their side for this annual meeting as they've won seven of the last nine. Despite that, Gator backers have been quiet all week.
"Action doesn’t seem to give the Gators much of a chance with the line going past the key number 28 to 28.5, and has loved the Seminoles by about a 4-to-1 clip ATS," says Black. "With Florida State scoring at will and keeping teams off the scoresheet, the line should stay upwards of 28."
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Cardinal - Open: -14, Move: -16.5
The Irish might be one of the most supported programs at betting windows, but that's not the case this week. The Cardinal have bee backed all week and rightly so. They have covered the last three meetings between the two programs.
"We opened Stanford -14 and all the early action was on the favorite. It didn’t take us long to get to 14.5, but that really didn’t stop the money coming in on Stanford, so we went to 15, 15.5, 16 to now we’re dealing Stanford -16.5," said Childs. "I can’t see us going much higher than 16.5 because we feel if we go to 17, wiseguys will hammer Notre Dame at that inflated number and we’d be pretty exposed to getting middle or sided."