Sportsbooks Have a Day as College Football Favorites Falter

Sportsbooks Have a Day as College Football Favorites Falter article feature image

Via Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Camerun Peoples #6 of the Appalachian State Mountaineers rushes for a touchdown during the second half against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on September 10, 2022 in College Station, Texas.

If there could have been a perfect storm, this was close to it. Sportsbooks cleaned up on Saturday due to the mayhem in college football.

Of the top-10 ranked teams, only one, No. 10 USC, covered. The two most bet on teams by money, Alabama and Notre Dame, didn’t cover. Notre Dame, who was paying 20.5-point underdog Marshall $1.25 million to travel to South Bend, lost 26-21.

The only thing saving bettors from total destruction? Alabama eeking out a one-point victory over Texas, thanks in part to a questionable call earlier in the game on a safety.

“This is shaping up to be one of the best college football days for the books in recent memory,” said PointsBet’s lead trader Sam Garriock. “The big variance typically comes when you have one game that dominates, like the national title game, but given the breadth of upsets, this is bound to be one of the best runs we've had.”

When Alabama closed as a 21-point favorite on the road against Texas, at least 90 percent of the money was on the Crimson Tide at at least four sportsbooks — PointsBet, FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars.

At least 90 percent of the money at PointsBet and BetMGM was also on Notre Dame to cover.

Oklahoma, a 33.5-point favorite against Kent State, only led 7-3 at the half. The Sooners won, but only by 30. At least three books — PointsBet, BetMGM and Caesars had more than 90 percent of the money on the Sooners.

A “solid day,” said Superbook’s Jay Kornegay. Historical? “We’ve had a lot of good Saturdays over the last 35 years,” he said.

Texas A&M, which closed as an 18.5-point favorite, served to further kill parlays, as it lost to Appalachian State. Wisconsin, a 17.5-point favorite, lost at home to Washington State.

The nightcaps weren’t any better for bettors.

Michigan closed as 52-point favorites against Hawaii. All seemed good, as the Wolverines jumped out to a 42-0 start, and at one point were 71-point live favorites. But Michigan only scored 14 in the second half and won by “only 46.” Only 16 percent lf the money at Caesars Sportsbook was on Hawaii to cover.

Under Jim Harbaugh, Michigan is now 7-0 straight up as a favorite of 35+ points but is 2-5 against the spread.

In the final game of the night, BYU bested Baylor by six in overtime. The majority of the money, at the five books the Action Network surveyed, was all on Baylor, who was the higher ranked team but closed as a 2.5 point underdog on the road.

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