Inside some early college football bowl line movement

Inside some early college football bowl line movement article feature image

For more on college football bowl season, check out Collin Wilson’s Sunday Morning Coffee column.

There has already been early action on several bowl games. The Action Network examines the moves.

Rose Bowl: Georgia opened +3 at the Westgate Superbook and +1 at offshore books. Early action is in on the Bulldogs, driving to the current pick’em. Georgia was the worst possible draw for Oklahoma as far as the Sooners’ strengths. The Baker Mayfield-led Oklahoma offense is the most explosive in the nation, but Georgia’s defense ranks sixth in Passing S&P+ and 22nd in limiting pass explosiveness.

Sugar BowlAlabama gets the No. 4 seed and finds itself a short bus ride away from this semifinal game. The Tide get a full month to get healthy before taking on Clemson. This game should be filled with plenty of revenge after last year’s national title game. The current spread is stagnant with the Tide -2. There should be plenty of action on both sides, but I favor a heavily motivated Alabama team that can contain a Clemson offense that ranks 118th in explosiveness.

Liberty Bowl: Memphis opened +4 against Iowa State and bettors moved the line as much as seven points to the current Memphis -3.5. Generally, bowl games are held at neutral sites, but this will happen on the Tigers’ home turf.  Bettors were not worried that Mike Norvell may be on the move to Arkansas as the Razorbacks’ new head coach. Also, Iowa State ranks 94th in defending pass success rate. That sets up Memphis QB Riley Ferguson to stuff the box score.

Las Vegas Bowl: Oregon opened as a pick’em against Boise State. This was hammered by all bettors moving to the current number of Oregon -9. Ducks’ head coach Willie Taggart may be on his way to Florida State, but that did not stop the flow of money coming in on Oregon. The Ducks’ offense is much more dynamic when QB Justin Herbert is healthy, and he will be under center for this game.

Texas Bowl: Texas opened this game as seven-point favorites, but money has poured in on Missouri. Bettors took to Missouri +7 and have moved the line to the current Missouri +3.5. It’s pretty easy to like Mizzou in this game, as they ended the season winning six straight games. Missouri also ranks fifth in the country in passing explosiveness, while Texas ranks 96th in defending passing IsoPPP.

Camping World Bowl: The game opened as a pick’em, but bettors have flocked to Oklahoma State, making the line currently -4.5 against Virginia Tech. The Hokies finished November without covering as Justin Fuente’s name has popped up for other head coaching positions. Everyone knows just how explosive the Cowboys are on offense, but to make matters worse for Virginia Tech, the Hokies rank only 126th in the nation in defending pass explosiveness.

Arizona Bowl: The New Mexico State Aggies have not made a bowl in 57 years. They draw Utah State in Tucson for this contest. New Mexico State is a slight underdog; my Power Rating numbers makes this a three-point game, while S&P+ makes this game -2. There is certainly value in the current line, especially against a Utah State team that has no wins against a team ranked in the top 90 of the S&P+ ratings.

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