College football: Behind the Michigan-Alabama pointspread

David Payne Purdum
Just days after Alabama humiliated LSU to win the BCS title, bettors were already loading up on the Crimson Tide in their 2012 season opener against Michigan.

The offshore sportsbook put up pointspreads for a handful of games in mid-January, including the Tide’s showdown with the hopeful Wolverines at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. made Alabama a 7.5-point favorite. That line didn’t last long.

Tons of money poured in on 'Bama, and the line rocketed all the way to 15.5 over the course of a month, before Michigan money began showing up. The line has since settled at Alabama -14.

“If tons equals hundreds, then yes. It doesn’t take much money at all to move these lines,” said Tony Williams, general manager.. “These lines aren’t as much about action as they are for people and writers to have something to talk about.”

For example, a regular-season baseball game will attract about 20 times the number of bets that these early college football lines do, said Williams.

He's currently got lines on the following:

South Carolina at Vanderbilt (-10), Sept. 4
Boise State at Michigan State (-6.5), Sept. 4
N. Carolina State at Tennessee (-6), Sept. 4
Marshall vs. West Virginia (-21.5), Sept. 4
Auburn vs. Clemson (-5), Sept. 1
Southern Miss vs. Nebraska (-13), Sept 4
Navy vs. Notre Dame (-13.5), Sept. 4
Kentucky vs. Louisville (-10), Sept 4
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech (-9), Sept. 4

More money has been bet on Alabama-Michigan and Boise State-Michigan State than the other eight games combined.

“There’s been good two-way action on Boise-Michigan State,” he said. The Spartans were 6.5-point home favorites as of Sunday, slightly down from the 7.5 opening line.

5dimes also is the only book with college football win totals posted on some teams. Southern Cal, which is the favorite to win the national title at multiple Las Vegas sportsbooks, has attracted the most action at 5Dimes, as well.

“I thought I had [USC] high enough, clearly I didn’t,” said Williams, who wasn’t expecting Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley to return to USC when he opened the Trojans’ win total at 9.5 (-150o). “I took it down when he was making up his mind, as I didn’t expect him to stay. When he stayed, I went back up with 9.5 (-245o). It’s -260 now.”

Vegas pros like Covers Expert Ted Sevransky don't normally pounce on the first season win totals offered, "We'll look to play after the second set of numbers are released," said Sevransky. "We'll look at some of the variances."

There are some serious and big season win total players, added Sevransky. "Those guys expect a big return on their investment. Modest expectations might be 20 percent, but some earn a lot more," he said.

In addition to USC, 5dimes currently has season win totals for 19 other teams.

Current Season Win Totals

Alabama 10.5 (-180u)
Arkansas 8.5 (-130o)
Auburn 7.5 (-180u)
Florida 8.5 (-160o)
Florida State 9.5 (-145o)
Georgia 9.5 (-150o)
Kentucky 5.5 (-145o)
LSU -10.5 (-230u)
Marshall 6.5 (-140u)
Michigan State 8.5 (-150o)
Mississippi State 7.5
Ohio State 8.5 (-180o)
Oklahoma 9.5 (-190o)
Oregon 9.5 (-195o)
South Carolina 8.5 (-135)
Tennessee 6.5 (-150)
Texas 8.5 (-135o)
Texas A&M 7.5 (-130u)
Vanderbilt 6.5 (-180o)
West Virginia 8.5 (-140o)

Conference Odds: Burning questions

ACC: What would it take for you to bet on Duke?

The Blue Devils are 80/1 to win their third conference title in the last 50 years. So 80/1 is a bargain.

Florida State is the favorite at +130, with Virginia Tech (+250) and Clemson (4/1) expected to contend.

Big 12: At 4/1, is West Virginia the best bet on the board in any conference right now?

Credit to Allen Kenney, managing editor of, for pointing out the Mountaineers’ schedule to me. They get Kansas State, Oklahoma and TCU at home, with an extra week to prepare for the Horned Frogs.

They’ve got the best quarterback in the conference in Geno Smith, NFL-caliber weapons around him and a rising coaching star in Dana Holgorsen, who knows how to outscore teams. Not a lot of teams win with defense in the Big 12. That's just West Virginia's game.

SEC: Should bettors go ahead and invest in both LSU and Alabama to win the SEC now?

The SEC really has become the Tigers, the Tide then everyone else. Auburn (21/1) appears to have been one-and-done in terms of competing at the highest level of the conference. Expectations in Gainesville seem to be as tempered as they’ve been in some years; the Gators are 15/1.

LSU hosts Alabama on Nov. 3. The Tigers are +150 favorites, with Alabama a notch back at +200. Those odds are already short, but having either team at plus money heading into the SEC title game is a bargain.

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Posted by dontbookme
4 years ago

FSU will not win 10 games.. they will lose at least 3 games.. they are the king of choke

Posted by jcksnbrk
4 years ago

Right now I will take Michigan +14 vs. Alabama. And Marshall over 6.5 wins

Posted by smitty73
4 years ago

LOL , WVU 4-1 to win the big 12 ?? this is the same team that needed about 10 differnt things to happen in the last 2 wks last year to win the the mighty big east outright...
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Top Response

Posted by moneyb
4 years ago

"clemson should be a great team this year. they was'nt bad last year. "

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