Also this week, we learn that Josh Dobbs isn’t worth much, if anything, to the spread. And even with the Las Vegas Raiders firing their coach and replacing their starting quarterback with a rookie, that’s still not enough to make the New York Giants a favorite.
Oddsmakers and sharp bettors weigh in on all those items and much more as we dive into this week’s NFL and college football betting nuggets.
College Football Rocks on FOX
Among one-loss teams in the College Football Playoff odds market, No. 7 Texas is right there with Alabama and Oregon as a team that could make the four-team field. The Longhorns got a boost from Oklahoma‘s Week 9 upset loss at Kansas.
BetMGM has Texas +1600 in its CFP championship futures book, right behind +1400 Oregon and ‘Bama. In fact, the Longhorns are tied with unbeaten Washington as the co-seventh choice to win it all.
But Steve Sarkisian’s troops will get test from No. 23 Kansas State in FOX’s Big Noon contest, appropriately at noon ET Saturday on FOX and the FOX Sports App. BetMGM opened Texas -5.5 and is down to -4, in part due to uncertainty around Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (shoulder), who sat out last week’s 35-6 rout of BYU.
“We’ve seen pretty good two-way action thus far,” BetMGM senior trader Cameron Drucker said. “But I would definitely anticipate needing Kansas State, especially if Ewers ends up being announced in.”
On-Campus Sharp Side
College football betting expert Paul Stone is already involved with arguably the game of the week: No. 14 LSU vs. No. 8 Alabama. The Crimson Tide must keep winning to stay in the CFP conversation. LSU can play spoiler and is perhaps an under-the-radar CFP prospect, though a lot would have to fall right for the Bayou Bengals.
Stone noted that Alabama opened as a 6-point home favorite at multiple sportsbooks. Money showed quickly on LSU, and the Crimson Tide are down to 3-point favorites as of Wednesday night.
“I think Sunday’s opener was right on the mark,” Stone said. “So I’ll gladly take the Tide laying only a field goal at night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.”
One reason Stone was able to get ‘Bama at -3: Early wiseguy money on LSU driving down the spread for this 7:45 p.m. ET Saturday start.
“The sharp side definitely seems to like LSU, with the bets I’ve seen thus far,” Drucker said. “However, I would definitely anticipate needing LSU come Saturday, especially when factoring in our liability on ‘Bama to win the national title.”
Stone also has action in what will be the last Bedlam game for the foreseeable future, with Oklahoma leaving for the SEC next season. The Sooners travel to face Oklahoma State at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
Oklahoma is a 6-point favorite midweek at most sportsbooks. The Sooners are coming off their first loss, 38-33 at Kansas, which could prove problematic down the road in the CFP chase.
Stone is impressed with Oklahoma State of late, and especially running back Ollie Gordon II, who has 978 rushing yards over the past five games. That includes back-to-back games of more than 270 yards. The Cowboys are on a run of 4-0 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS), and Stone is backing the 6-point underdogs.
“Oklahoma State has really improved over the course of the season, and Boone Pickens Stadium is one of college football’s most underrated venues,” Stone said. “Oklahoma has struggled since defeating Texas, so I’ll take the Cowboys in a raucous home environment.”
Also worth noting: Oklahoma State is 9-4 ATS as a home underdog since the start of the 2013 season.
FOX NFL Smorgasbord
Casey Degnon, senior risk supervisor at The SuperBook, provided insights on a few NFL games, including two matchups on FOX impacted by transactions early this week: Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX and FOX Sports App), and the Giants-Raiders (4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX and FOX Sports App).
Minnesota is scrambling to salvage its season after QB Kirk Cousins tore an Achilles in the Vikes’ Week 8 win over Green Bay. On Tuesday, the Vikings acquired Dobbs in a trade with Arizona, but response from oddsmakers was muted, if not negative.
The SuperBook opened the Falcons -3.5, quickly went to -4 Sunday night, and the line has been fairly stable at -5 since Monday morning.
“Dobbs is not really a needle-mover,” Degnon said. “We took respected money on Atlanta -4 Monday morning.”
Meanwhile, the Raiders fired coach Josh McDaniels in the middle of the night Tuesday, then early Wednesday announced rookie QB Aidan O’Connell will start Sunday against the Giants, replacing Jimmy Garoppolo. Although those moves led The SuperBook to drop Las Vegas from -2.5 to -1.5, the fact remains that the Raiders — with all that disarray — are actually still favored at midweek.
“That says a lot about the Giants,” Degnon said. “They get to face a rookie QB making his second start, an interim coach (Antonio Pierce) and a new offensive coordinator (Bo Hardegree). And Daniel Jones is expected to play, so the Giants are getting their guy back.”
Yet Big Blue is an underdog. All that noted, New York is getting bettors’ attention.
“It’s been all Giants so far. We took some sharp money at +3.5 and +2.5,” Degnon said.
Two more games Degnon weighed in on:
– Dolphins vs. Chiefs: This game kicks off early Sunday, at 9:30 a.m. ET as it takes place in Frankfurt, Germany. The SuperBook opened Kansas City -2.5. “There’s more money and tickets on the Chiefs, but we’re actually down to -1.5. We moved down a point Wednesday morning. On the moneyline, the Dolphins are getting more tickets.”
– Bills vs. Bengals: A solid Sunday Night Football matchup, set for 8:20 p.m. ET. Buffalo hasn’t looked great the past four weeks, while Joe Burrow is getting healthy and Cincinnati is coming off a big win at San Francisco. The SuperBook opened this game a pick ‘em and quickly got to Bengals -2 Sunday night, and even reached -3 Monday. Cincy is back at -2 late Wednesday night. “It’s really one-way traffic so far, tickets and money on the Bengals. The Bengals just beat the Niners and looked really good doing so. I’m not surprised to see this action, especially with the Bengals at home. I think we’ll need the Bills on Sunday night.”
Back To School
Coach Prime and Colorado (4-4 SU/4-3-1 ATS) have lost four of the last five games and chances of getting to six wins and a bowl game are flagging. But the casual/recreational bettors aren’t entirely off the Buffaloes Bus just yet.
BetMGM opened Colorado a 12.5-point home underdog against No. 16 Oregon State, and that line quickly jumped to Beavers -13.5 Sunday night, where it remains late Wednesday night. All that noted:
“The public still loves Colorado,” Drucker said. “I would expect us needing Oregon State on the spread and moneyline come Saturday.”
That’s one of the day’s last games, with a 10 p.m. ET kickoff in Boulder.
Drucker also touched on a couple more high-profile Saturday matchups:
– No. 12 Missouri vs. No. 2 Georgia: The host Bulldogs opened -16.5 at BetMGM, dipped to -16 Monday and -15.5 Tuesday. But Drucker said that’s not indicative of early action. “All Georgia so far, as you would expect. I would assume that continues through kickoff Saturday.” Game time is 3:30 p.m. ET.
– No. 5 Washington vs. No. 20 USC: BetMGM initially went from Huskies -3.5 to -4 Monday, but the line has since moved toward the Trojans, despite their recent struggles. Washington is -3 late Wednesday night. “It seems the sharps love the buy low/sell high spot on the Trojans here. I could see this getting under 3 come kickoff Saturday.” The total is a massive 76.5 points. “This is the highest total I can remember in a long time.”
I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie
There’s not much yet in the way of reported major wagers on the upcoming weekend’s college football and NFL slate. But there will be plenty, I assure you.
In the meantime, here are a few leftovers from Caesars Sports and DraftKings Sportsbooks, on Week 8 Monday Night Football:
– $100,000 Raiders moneyline +275 vs. Lions (Caesars). Bettor was angling for a nice profit of $275,000, for a $375,000 total payout. But Las Vegas lost, 26-14.
– $55,000 Lions-Raiders Under 46.5 (Caesars). That’s a winner, to profit $50,000, for a $105,000 total payout.
– $26,600 on Lions-Raiders Under 47 (DraftKings). To profit $24,182, for a $50,782 payout.
While the big bets can be fun to track and live vicariously through — or even root against, if that’s your thing — always remember to keep your own wagers reasonable. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. Enjoy the football wagering weekend!
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas
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