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College Football Bookmaker Roundup: Dissecting Home-Field, COVID-Stricken Teams & More

College Football Bookmaker Roundup: Dissecting Home-Field, COVID-Stricken Teams & More article feature image

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Trevor Lawrence

It’s a rarity for sports books to pull for Clemson, but that’s happening at least at a couple sports books this week.

Action Network’s PRO Report shows that 93% of the money is on the Miami Hurricanes, who opened as high as +15.5 before getting down to two touchdowns. William Hill said the money they have on Miami is exactly 93 percent.

This is Miami’s first game as an underdog. The Canes won and covered all three spreads as a favorite (vs UAB, -15.5, vs. Louisville, -2.5 and vs. FSU -12). Meanwhile, Clemson has won all its games, but hasn’t covered a single spread (Wake Forest -34.5, Wofford -50.5, Virginia -28).

What’s Home-Field Advantage Now Worth?

LSU went from a three-touchdown favorite to a two-touchdown favorite after the Tigers had to move their home game to an away game versus Missouri.

When asked if a home field advantage is worth any less in the COVID era due to less than packed stadiums, Salmons said it’s enough that LSU isn’t sleeping in their own beds. Travel and everything that comes with it is more meaningful than crowds.

“If it wasn’t being played at LSU, it could have been played in Sheboygan and it would have been -14,” Salmons said.

Fading COVID-Stricken Teams Hasn’t Worked

As the number has come down, big money has come in on LSU, including 93% of the money at DraftKings.

Seven Missouri players won’t play because of positive COVID tests. Salmons says those who are using the pandemic angle to fade teams haven’t fared well this year.

After word that Arkansas State would have a slew of players sit out for their Sept. 12 game against Kansas State, the line moved from +10 to +15. Arkansas State won outright, 35-31.

That same week, Louisiana Tech had its game postponed vs. Baylor after 38 players tested positive for COVID-19. When they came to play the following week, the line moved to being a 7-point underdog vs. Southern Miss. Louisiana Tech also won outright, 31-30.

Public Loving Three Totals

There are three games where there’s universally lopsided money on the total. Let’s start with Florida-Texas A&M, where 90% of the money at DraftKings is on the over of 58.

The Gators scored 51 and 38 points in their first two games, while Texas A&M doesn’t particularly have a shutdown defense, giving up 52 to Alabama last week.

The largest over of the weekend, Texas-Oklahoma at 72.5, apparently isn’t big enough. Eighty percent of the money at DraftKings is on the over. The Longhorns have averaged a whopping 51 points per game in their first three games, while Oklahoma has averaged 38.6 PPG.

The under is getting pounded on NC State-Virginia, even as it has come up from 56.5 to 58.5.

“You have two teams that have the capability of going low, plus talk about the weather,” said Ed Salmons, race and sportsbook manager at the Superbook in Las Vegas. “People love that combination.”

Exposure on BYU

At 33.5 points, BYU is the biggest favorite of the weekend in their game vs. UTSA. At 3-0 and with a relatively easy schedule left, some have said BYU could go undefeated, which a remarkable thought when you think that this summer they could be had for 1000-1 to win the national title at the Superbook.

Salmons said the book has some exposure on the Cougars, but didn’t really taken a substantive bet until they went to 300-1. The book has two $200 bets at that price.

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