Rovell’s Week 7 College Football Notebook: Massive Money on Alabama After COVID-19 News

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UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Saban (center) and the Alabama football team.

Bookmakers have said they moved the lines for different reasons, but whatever it is, this much is clear: Massive money is on Alabama on Saturday.

Things went haywire Wednesday, after the Crimson Tide announced that head coach Nick Saban had COVID-19.

The 2- to 2.5-point drop to 4.5-point favorites was because of the adjustment of Saban not being on the sidelines, said DraftKings. But the sportsbook’s main competitor, FanDuel, had different reasoning: If Saban was sick, what other players would also miss out on the game?

“I was surprised that the line moved that much,” said William Hill’s Nick Bogdanovich. “I moved the line down slower than most of the market. I thought it was a huge overreaction. Saban probably already had the gameplan in place, now his coordinators can carry it out for him. I don’t see him making that many major decisions on the sideline that day to be worth 1.5 or 2 points.”

 

Saban tested negative on Friday and could possibly be on the sidelines anyway, but the line hasn’t changed nor has the sentiment. The public thinks that there’s no reason to stay away and bettors at most sportsbooks think the Tide will roll.

BetMGM says Alabama-Georgia is the most bet game in tickets and in money. The most tickets are on Bama -4.5 and the second-most tickets in the entire book are on Georgia +4.5.

Percentage of Money on Bama Spread

DraftKings 75%
PointsBet 62%
FanDuel 60%

PointsBet’s Patrick Eichner said the book was rooting for Georgia to win outright in a low-scoring game, as 88 percent of the money is on the over on the total of 58.

William Hill said even as the Bama line dropped, its bettors liked Georgia after Saban’s positive COVID test.

Before the news, the Crimson Tide garnered 52 percent of the dollars wagered. After the news, it received only 44 percent of bets going forward.

The other relevant games by handle not-so-surprisingly also involve the SEC. BetMGM’s next-highest handle games are Auburn-South Carolina, Kentucky-Tennessee and Arkansas-Ole Miss.

And that doesn’t include what we are seeing on The Action Network, which has Texas A&M and Mississippi State as the No. 2 handle.

What’s Catching Our Eye

  • The Clemson-Georgia Tech total opened at 60 and has made its way to 64.5 has still received tons of money on the over.
  • Notre Dame is getting some of the most lopsided money of the weekend — 78% and 84% at FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively — as whopping 17-point favorites over Louisville.
  • It’s hard to get used to a good Arkansas team that isn’t a double-digit dog to an SEC opponent. This week, they are only 1.5-point underdogs against Ole Miss.
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