Where the action is: Early NCAAF bowl line moves

College football bowl odds have only been on the board for a few days but already books have had to make some significant adjustments to their odds for the postseason matchups, with bettors getting down early on bowl action.

We talk with Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with CarbonSports.ag, about the early line moves on the bowl board so far.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

Boise State Broncos vs. Oregon State Beavers – Open: +2.5, Move: Pick, Move: -3

The Broncos, usually bowl season darlings, aren’t getting the usual love from football bettors. Early sharp money kick started the initial move from OSU +2.5 to pick’em and the public followed suit, betting the Beavers and flipping this spread on its ear.

“All this was on Monday when we first opened up our Bowl numbers,” Stewart says of the line movement. “After more money kept showing on Oregon State, just this morning we went to Oregon State -3 (-105) / Boise State +3 (-115). That is a very significant move and just after two days of action, going nearly four points off the opener, which pretty much tells you we opened with a bad number.”

Capital One Bowl

Wisconsin Badgers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks – Open: Wisconsin -2, Move: Pick


Bettors are known for siding with the SEC during bowl season, and the Capital One Bowl is no different. Books opened the Badgers as 2-point chalk but early action from wiseguys has bullied this spread all the way to a pick’em.

“We skipped going to -1 and went straight to a pick, which is our current number,” says Stewart. “While we’ve started to see some money on Wisconsin, we’re still seeing South Carolina money. I’m not sure when we’ll get there, but I have a feeling at some point over this weekend we will make South Carolina the favorite in this game.”

Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Duke Blue Devils - Open: +13, Move: +12.5

Action started out balanced on this New Year’s Eve bowl but sharps came in on Duke Tuesday morning, trimming the line half a point. Since that adjustment, it’s been nothing but Aggies action and a move back to the original number may happen before the end of the week.

“We knew our opener of -13 was a bit high and understood the sharp money taking the points here, but at some point we might be going back to 13 to stem the early exposure that we seeing on Texas A&M at -12.5,” says Stewart. “Being that this is Johnny Manziel’s last college football game, we know the public is going to be all over A&M and we’ll be shading high on this game in anticipation of all that public money.”

Rose Bowl

Michigan State Spartans vs. Stanford Cardinal – Open: -3, Move: -4.5

It seems wiseguys aren’t impressed with Michigan State’s victory against an overrated Ohio State side in the Big Ten title game. Instant action came in Stanford from the sharps, moving this spread as many as 1.5 points before bettors decided MSU was worth the wager.

“We felt that after watching Michigan State upset Ohio State in impressive fashion, that we’d definitely book some money on what we perceived to being a live dog,” says Stewart. “That just wasn’t the case, until we got to the number +4.5 and that’s where we’re starting to see some Michigan State money show.”

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Posted by DarthHambly
6 months ago

As for the A&M game, a half-point move (not on or off a key number like 3 or 7) is not a significant line move. Only the Boise State game had a significant line move -- understandable after losing thier coach.
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Posted by DarthHambly
6 months ago

"As for the A&M game, a half-point move (not on or off a key number like 3 or 7) is not a significant line move. Only the Boise State game had a significant line move -- understandable after losing thier coach."