Rovell’s Saturday Betting Blog: Sportsbooks Come Out Ahead with Temple Upset, Pitt Cover

Rovell’s Saturday Betting Blog: Sportsbooks Come Out Ahead with Temple Upset, Pitt Cover article feature image

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Temple Owls linebacker Shaun Bradley (5) at Lincoln Financial Field.

  • Darren Rovell is working the phones with bookmakers across the country to find out what games are attracting big bets, sharp action and public love.

There may not be any marquee matchups in Week 3, but that isn’t stopping big bets from flowing in at sportsbooks across the country.

To a casual fan, this slate may look ugly, but the money you win on Buffalo vs. Liberty counts just as much as the cash you win on LSU vs. Texas.

We spoke with a few bookmakers earlier this week to get an idea of how the market was unfolding for Saturday and the theme was pretty clear: Keep an eye on Maryland in the early slate and Oklahoma in the nightcap.

Let’s dive in:

  • 7:45 p.m. ET: UCLA is the biggest need for many sportsbooks tonight. Superbook’s John Murray reports tickets at 4.5-1 on Oklahoma (-23.5). Circa’s Matt Lindeman: “We need UCLA for our lungs late. Biggest college football decision yet this year.”
  • 7:30 p.m. ET: Down 47-16 with 2:04 to go, Alabama bettors looked good on the game that closed at 26. But thanks to a brutal targeting penalty, South Carolina within range and scored a touchdown and extra point with 11 seconds to go to close the gap against Alabama to 24. The biggest bet we found was at FanDuel in West Virginia, where a bettor took Alabama for $38,000 on 26.5.
  • 4:30 p.m. ET: A 26-point spread didn’t keep bettors away from Alabama on the road against South Carolina. According to our data, 80% of the tickets were on ‘Bama and one player at FanDuel put $38,000 on the Tide to cover. The bet would net $34,900.
  • 4 p.m. ET: Kansas State (+7) pulled off the upset with a 31-24 win at Mississippi State. It was one of the few games where the public was riding on the underdog. According to William Hill, 62% of the bets were on the Wildcats.
  • 2:10 p.m. ET: Once again, Penn State was one of the most popular teams in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania markets. PointsBet reports that 90% of the money at their shop came in on the Nittany Lions (-17.5) against Pittsburgh today. The game is tied, 10-10, at halftime.
  • 1:40 p.m. ET: One of the “surest” bets of the say turned out to be…not so sure. After watching Maryland put up 142 points in its first two games — which works out to 1.18 points per minute — bettors flocked to the Over (66.5) in the Terrapins’ tilt with Temple today, making it one of the most popular plays at William Hill, which reported north of 87% of the money, including a $9,900 bet, was on the Over. Temple leads Maryland, 7-2, at halftime. The Liver Over/Under is currently 38.5 points. Oh boy.
  • 11:31 a.m. ET: The most peculiar bet of the day so far: A bettor put $1,000 on Auburn to beat Kent State. The wager would net $5.
  • 11:27 a.m. ET: Maryland vs. Temple has developed into a Sharp vs. Square showdown. Even though the Terps are receiving 2 out of every 3 bets against the Owls, the line has moved down to Maryland -5.5 behind a lot of late Temple money.
  • 11:10 a.m. ET: Today is a bit of a coming out party for college football in Iowa. Not only is College GameDay in Ames for the first time ever, this is also the first time that Iowans can legally bet on who will win the Cy-Hawk Trophy, as The Hawkeye State went legal this summer. As expected, the market for the Iowa at Iowa State game is gigantic. On August 15, Iowa State was listed as a 4-point favorite, but the line has since flipped and the Cyclones are now a 1.5-point underdog. William Hill, the leader in the Iowa market with four retail sportsbooks and a mobile app, reports their action in Iowa is heavily slanted towards the Hawkeyes. Iowa is receiving 70% of the tickets and 80% of the money against Iowa State.
  • 10:35 a.m. ET: The public is all in on Ohio State, which opened as low as -13.5 against Indiana at some shops. The Buckeyes are still among the most popular bets on the board at -17.5 with bettors believing their 42-0 win over Cincinnati was for real. DraftKings reports that 90% of the money that’s come in on Ohio State-Indiana is on the Buckeyes, the most lopsided action of the day.
  • 10:25 a.m. ET: UCLA is a 23-point underdog against Oklahoma. PointsBet reports that 80% of the money they’ve taken is on the Sooners and the general consensus is that sportsbooks will need UCLA more than any other team today.
  • 10 a.m. ET: Air Force vs. Colorado (-3.5) is currently the fourth-most bet game according to our data but it could be the most interesting. The tickets are dead-even, but the money is heavily-skewed towards Air Force.
  • 9:10 a.m. ET: Ohio State (-17.5) is getting plenty of love against Indiana, despite needing to cover a big number on the road against a conference opponent. According to our data, the Buckeyes have received 81% of the tickets against the Hoosiers. Another Big 10 contender, Penn State, is also seeing lopsided action. The Nittany Lions are getting 65% of the bets as 17-point favorites against Pitt.
  • 9 a.m. ET: According to our Action Network data, the most-bet game on Saturday (so far) is Maryland at Temple (+6.5, 66.5). Maryland’s hot start is one of the biggest stories of the early part of the season and the Terps are getting a lot of love from the public, attracting 68% of the tickets per Sports Insights.

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