Rovell’s College Football Vegas Report: Bettors Believe in Maryland, Sportsbooks Rooting for UCLA
Tommy Gilligan, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Maryland head coach Michael Locksley
- Are professional bettors buying Maryland against Temple? What team do the bookmakers need the most in Week 3?
- Darren Rovell reports on this week's college football betting market:
It’s Week 3 in college football and we are starting to get a sense of team identities. Who is a power and who is a poser? But the most intriguing question seems to be: Is the turtle really the hare?
What is going on with Maryland?
In Week 1, the Terrapins put up 79 against Howard. So what. But Week 2, they scored 63 against Syracuse? Maryland has had a lot of football history. Their first year of ball was 1892 and that year they went winless and got shutout by a local high school. We looked back at the last 75 seasons to see how impressive these points totals were.
Most points in Maryland games, last 75 years:
- 79, vs Howard, 2019
- 74, vs Missouri, 1950
- 63, vs Syracuse, 2019
- 63, vs Illinois, 2018
- 63, vs Towson, 2017
- 63, vs Virginia Tech, 1950
As you can imagine, bettors are well aware that the Terps have put up 142 points in the first two games and are playing the Over in Maryland’s tilt with Temple.
Circa opened the total against Temple this weekend at 59.5. It has since been bet up to as much as 66.5 nearly everywhere.
Maryland opened as 7.5-point favorites, but, despite Maryland getting the majority of the tickets, the spread has been bet down to 7. “And even at that we have it coming in at 12-to-1 on the Terps,” said Westgate Superbook’s John Murray. “Maryland is definitely overrated. People are getting carried away.”
Sportsbooks Exposed on Oklahoma-UCLA
UCLA has started off the season 0-2, after being outscored 47-28 by Cincinnati and San Diego State. So how bad are the Bruins and how good is their opponent Oklahoma?
Well, oddsmakers have Chip Kelly’s squad as 23-point ‘dogs going into Saturday’s tilt, making the Bruins the biggest home underdog since they were 32-point underdogs to Mark Sanchez and Joe McKnight’s USC Team on Dec. 6, 2008. The Trojans won 28-7.
As for 23, it might not be enough. Earlier this week, bettor put $55,000 on that number at Cantor Gaming for Oklahoma to cover. “We’re gonna need UCLA big on Saturday,” noted Murray, who said tickets for Oklahoma were outnumbering tickets on UCLA by a 10-to-1 margin.
The Golden Domers
Notre Dame heads into this weekend as a 35-point favorite at home against New Mexico.
Can the Fighting Irish cover? Only 24% of the money at the time of writing says so, according to our Action Network data. And that might be a good bet based on history.
As it stands, the last time Notre Dame was favored by at least 35, players wearing the blue and gold were named Ron Powlus and Autry Denson. That’s right, the last time they were favored by this much, Lou Holtz was the coach. It was actually Holtz’s last game on Nov. 23, 1996. As 41-point favorites over Rutgers that day, they easily covered in a 62-0 romp.
Should The “Force” Be With You?
Circa opened Colorado as a 1.5-point favorite over Air Force and it has since moved up to as high as 5.
Colorado opened with a convincing win over Colorado State and then squeaked by well-hyped Nebraska at home last week. Air Force beat Colgate by 41, so relatively nothing is know about this year’s Falcons.
But historical betting numbers are in favor of the blue and white. Under Coach Troy Calhoun, Air Force is 8-1 against the spread in the first two games of the season. Even still, a big bettor likes the Buffaloes this week, making a $15,000 bet at -4.
The U isn’t for Underdog
Miami is the biggest favorite this weekend, giving 41 against Bethune-Cookman. The number seems hard to play. In the last five years, favorites of at least 35 cover only 38.7% of the time. But, get this, Miami has been favored by 35 or more four times in the last five years and they’ve covered three times (75%).
I watched in person last year when they beat Savannah State 77-0 as a 60-point favorite. Other covers: Bethune Cookman in 2015 as a 38-point favorite (won by 45) and Florida A&M as a 55-point favorite (won by 67!).
Pent Up State
Earlier this week, we talked about the fact that mobile betting is so heavy in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that it could lead to lopsided action for the local teams.
Jersey residents can’t bet on Jersey college teams but they can bet on Pennsylvania teams. PointsBet in New Jersey says more than 90% of the money for Saturday’s Penn State-Pitt game is on the Nittany Lions (-17).
Burrow No Longer Buried
At the beginning of the season, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was where you would expect an LSU quarterback to be on the Heisman Odds list — all the way down at 300-1. After his impressive opener vs Georgia State, he was down to 200-1. And then game the win against Texas this weekend when Burrow’s odds shortened to 5-to-1.
Not many people are biting now. Burrow has the sixth most money at 1.11% at FanDuel. Up top? Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts (33.2% of the money) and Hurts’ former teammate Tua Tagovailoa (10.7% of the money).
Getting to Know: Cal Poly
The biggest total on the board this week is Oregon State vs Cal Poly. DraftKings posted the game early in the week at 76 points. The Beavers averaged 40 points for its first two games, so how skillful is Cal Poly? Well, they have redshirt freshman Jaylen Hamler, who is a running and passing threat. This offense put up 607 yards against San Diego in Week 1.