The Sneaky College Football Game That Swung Sportsbooks’ Saturdays

Sep 18, 2018 12:40 AM EDT
Credit:

Danny Wild, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Connor Slomka

  • Vegas sportsbooks enjoyed a profitable Week 3 of the College Football season.
  • Surprisingly, one of the biggest decisions was Army's cover against Hawaii.
  • TCU covering against Ohio State was one of the results that didn't go the house's way.

It was an excellent weekend for most of the Las Vegas Sports Books this past Saturday, but surprisingly it wasn’t the marquee games that put them into the black.

Temple’s straight-up win over Maryland (-16) and Army’s (-6.5) cover against Hawaii provided the books an early advantage — both games were at 9 a.m. PST — over bettors for the rest of the day.

According to Tim Fitzgerald, a supervisor at the South Point Sportsbook in Las Vegas, Saturday was a great start to the weekend for the house.

“It was a blowout for the book this weekend,” Fitzgerald said. “For us, it was very strange, if we were to click on just about any game Saturday to see how were doing, we were winning nearly every game. We only had two bad results for the whole day. Even by the time the later West Coast games rolled around at 7 p.m. PST we usually have SOME game we needed badly to balance the sheets, but not this time. Nothing was looking bad late. That’s almost unheard of.”

A couple of the more obscure games also helped out over at the South Point, like UTEP (+31) covering vs. Tennessee and Northern Illinois failing to cover -14 against Central Michigan.

Two results that went against the sportsbooks were TCU’s (+13) cover against Ohio State and Army (-6.5) over Hawaii.

“We took a pretty big bet on TCU so that was probably the worst decision of the day. The other bad game was Duke. They opened at +6 and were bet down to +2 at our book. It was never in doubt. That went badly for us,” Fitzgerald noted.

Those two games did a number at other books as well, as Duke attracted 86% of the money bet at William Hill.

The South Point also got stung on some money line bets on Troy who beat Nebraska and a small decision on LSU’s upset over Auburn.

Still, the game that stood out to the boys in the backroom was between the Rainbow Warriors and the Cadets.

“Amazingly, we took a ton of money that game,” Fitzgerald continued. “There was so much action on this game. There was over money, parlay money and Hawaii money-line money. It was crazy considering it was such an early kickoff time here. Hawaii-Army? Seriously? It was almost bet like a peak 12:30 p.m. game!”

Duke’s victory didn’t make the bookies happy over at the Westgate, either. According to Cameron Coombs, a supervisor at the casino’s SuperBook, the Blue Devils took a bite out of their bottom line.

“We also got a little hurt on the South Florida vs. Illinois (+14) game. We surprisingly took some Illini money and actually needed the favorite to cover the spread. Oregon State covering +4 against Nevada also hurt our overall day. We did win a little bit of money but could have done better if Nevada covered.”

It is nice to know that the guys on the other side of the counter have bad beats, too.

“The game was really a bad beat for us,” Coombs continued. “Nevada took a 30-7 lead in the first half. They gave up a touchdown with four minutes left to make it a 37-35 final.”

Coombs joined the bookmaking chorus praising Temple’s win over the Terrapins.

“That was definitely a big upset. The line was -16 and we had a decent amount of straight and parlay bets on the spread for Maryland which was very favorable for us,” he said. “Temple just never let up on Maryland. You would think if a big underdog won they’d squeak out a win. Temple dominated. It was pretty impressive.”

A couple of other big wins for the Westgate included Iowa State’s (+18.5) cover against Oklahoma and Georgia Southern (+32) beating the number against Clemson.

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