Matt Bush, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Bully XXI
- Bettors in Las Vegas are fading Alabama as 24-point favorites against Mississippi State in Week 11.
- Surprisingly, there hasn't been much betting action on Ohio State at Michigan State.
LAS VEGAS — After last week’s huge Alabama-LSU game which generated a NFL-Sunday-size handle, there’s no real standout matchup on the college football board this Saturday.
At the time of writing there is not one game that is making up more than 7% of the total money wagered which shows you that bettors are all over the place. That being said there are still key games driving most of the action at sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
TCU at West Virginia (-11.5) | Over/Under: 55.5
West Virginia had a huge win last week at Texas which put them right in the mix for a potential playoff spot if they can beat Oklahoma on Nov. 23 and then win the Big 12 Championship game.
According to Jason Simbal of CG Technologies, the sharp money is fading the rising Mountaineers while the square money is backing them.
“This game is shaping up to be a key Pros vs. Joes matchup,” Simbal explained. “TCU is getting 12 here and that seems to be the sharp side since we opened this game at WV -14 and the line has steadily come down. A lot of other books around town are at WV -11.5 so I’m fully anticipating our line will continue to go down as well.”
Sharps are playing TCU down the road at the Westgate SuperBook, too.
“This game is interesting. It’s a really tough spot for WV coming off a huge win last Saturday in Austin with Oklahoma looming in two weeks,” John Murray, the supervisor of the SuperBook and WVU alumnnus, explained. “That could potentially be the biggest West Virginia football game in a decade. They need to keep their focus this week. We had a group take +13.5 and the number has come down to TCU +11.5.”
Ohio State (-3.5) at Michigan State | Over/Under: 50.5
The Buckeyes have been a disappointment this season. They were expected to be firmly in the running for a National Championship but a loss to Purdue followed by an unimpressive win against Nebraska has stalled their run.
They’re certainly not out of contention but this tough game at East Lansing and a brutal spot coming up against Michigan has bettors backing off Ohio State quite a bit.
Michigan State would like nothing better than to spoil the Buckeyes’ playoff chances after the shellacking they took from Ohio State last year. Surprisingly, the books are not seeing much early action on this game and that suggests this line could be on the move soon.
“Ohio State is -4 here and I get a better feel for a game based on what people aren’t betting or what bets might come in. This is a perfect example of that,” Simbal said. “We’re at -4 primarily because we did take a little sharp money on Ohio State but the line has primarily been -3.5 around town. Nobody seems to want to take MSU +4. When there’s a sharp customer out there who can take a dog at a price that’s better than any price anywhere else and they fail to do it, you can feel pretty comfortable saying this line is only going to go one way so I wouldn’t be shocked if this line becomes -4.5 or even -5.”
This game has not generated much of a handle the Westgate, either.
“The Buckeyes have been totally written off and Michigan is getting all the attention right now but I still think Ohio State would get into the playoff with a win here, a win over Michigan (In Columbus) and a win in the Big Ten Championship game. I haven’t seen much money on the game yet, however. I find that a little strange,” Murray added.
Mississppi St at Alabama (-24) | Over/Under: 53.5
After a very impressive win at LSU last week, most of the betting public is ready to accept that the Crimson Tide won’t have to exert much effort again until the National Championship game.
That being said, there seems to be some real betting interest on Mississippi State around Vegas as many bettors expect Nick Saban to play his backups after the Tide put this game away.
Murray says that the action they’re seeing suggests we could see a bit of a letdown from ‘Bama in this one.
“We had sharp college groups take Miss State at +26 and again +24.5,” he said. “Alabama has basically locked up a trip to the SEC Title game against Georgia, so really these next three games don’t have much meaning for them unless they were to somehow lose two of them. I’ll be interested to see how they respond coming off such a high-profile win last weekend at LSU.”
Simbal echoed that sentiment. “All the action so far is on Mississippi State here. I’m honestly not that surprised about it. This is a real letdown spot for the Tide but when I say letdown I say it only not to cover the spread as opposed to not winning. I don’t think that’s an issue here.
“However, a some of our key bettors have told me they have the Bulldogs ranked higher than LSU in their Power Rankings and they’re getting 9.5 more points so many don’t think, and I agree, their home field isn’t worth 9.5 points more. Our line opened at Alabama -26.5 and the bettors hammered it down to -23.5 here with some sharp money as a contributor to that drop,” Simbal said.
Washington State (-6) at Colorado | Over/Under: 60.5
Washington State needs to win out to keep their longshot National Championship hopes alive. They are a huge surprise this season and the Westgate actually has a big liability on the Cougars at 100-1 from before the season.
And while that’s still highly unlikely, bettors are taking notice. The Buffaloes had their Pac-12 hopes shattered after losses to Oregon State and Arizona so it’s not surprising that bettors are fading Colorado.
“There’s always that one game each week where the sharps are betting the same side we know the public is going to come in on and this is that game,” Simbal said. “The bettors are all over Washington State. The game opened at -4.5 and the line went to -6.5 and they laid every number on the way there. Our ticket count is super lopsided in favor the Cougars by almost four times. I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if this number went even higher.”