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Week 2 line check

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  • Week 2 line check

    College Football Opening Line Report Week 2

    04th Sep 2017


    Last Updated: 2017-09-04

    It was a busy evening on Sunday as oddsmakers released the Week 2 college football lines. This is one of the biggest weeks for overreaction and we’ve seen what appears to be a few of them out in the marketplace, but overall, it looks like the lines are in a pretty decent place. For Week 1, oddsmakers and bookmakers had months for those to sit and marinate, so they had a pretty good idea of where the market was going to go. This week, it is a much different story.

    We’ll be doing this College Football Opening Line Report each week, along with an NFL one, to discuss what the initial moves were like on these games and see if we can’t forecast what will happen in the days leading up to these games. We’ve seen a few notable movers. Also, one of the toughest things to ascertain early in the week is whether or not the early wave of money is a sharp position or just a position to get out in front of the number for a possible middle or a buyout late in the week.

    We’ll try to cover that concept on a week-by-week basis, but as a general overview, key numbers and the context of the teams involved are your two most important clues. Sharp bettors will look to grab a 6 or 6.5 early in the week if they believe that number will not be attainable again. They’ll look to beat public investment in the market to set up middles around key numbers. They’ll look to play on perception before the rest of the market starts to look. Other times, it is simply a power ratings position.

    One key point that needs to be made is that the “opener” on your odds screen is not always the true opener. BetONline hits the offshore market first and has put up some bad numbers in the past. Bookmaker also releases early. Some books wait for the market to settle. Others mirror those respected books. For example, Michigan opened -27.5 at BetOnline on Sunday, moved to -29.5 in two minutes, and to -31.5 three minutes later. 5Dimes opened -33 about an hour and a half later and Pinnacle posted that about an hour after that. Technically, the true opening number should be a number available at most sportsbooks, which would be -33. But, some got -27.5 and -29.5, so they will consider that to be the opening number.

    We won’t have totals in this Opening Line Report, but look for them to be posted later this afternoon or tomorrow.

    Let’s look at some specific examples for Week 2 of the college football season in this week’s Opening Line Report:

    Nebraska at Oregon (-14) – The sportsbooks are lucky that limits are very low early in the week. BetOnline actually opened this number Oregon -2, which was gone in the blink of an eye. It sat around 6.5 and then 7.5 before the rest of the market came out with a far more reasonable number of -10. Well, it has continued to climb, with some books now as high as -14. Oregon scored 77 on Southern Utah and Nebraska allowed Justice Hansen to throw for well over 400 yards in a seven-point win as a two-touchdown favorite.

    You’ll get inefficient lines like this early in the year. In talking with others in the industry, most had this game power-rated around 13 or 14. Even at -10, there was value for some and, as you can see, they took it.

    TCU at Arkansas (+3) – While writing this week’s Opening Line Report, the odds screen is lighting up with TCU money. The Horned Frogs are a team that wound up high on most sets of power ratings because there is a lot of talent in Fort Worth. Neither team was challenged last week, but Arkansas actually opened as high as a 2.5-point favorite at Bookmaker. Pinnacle was the first to hit -3, with other shops sitting in the -2.5 range, but then Pinnacle came back off the key number. This is a notable mover after a poor first week for the Big 12.

    Marshall at North Carolina State (-24) – North Carolina State was the toughest of tough-luck losers in Week 1. The Wolfpack outgained South Carolina 504-246 and lost 35-28 in Charlotte. The Gamecocks got a kick return touchdown to open the game. NC State had the ball for nearly 37 minutes. It was a dominant performance with a disappointing outcome.

    Marshall, on the other hand, was a lucky winner. The Thundering Herd got outgained 429-267 by Miami of Ohio, but came away with the 31-26 victory. Like South Carolina, Marshall also opened the game with a kick return touchdown, had another one before halftime, and got seven more on a pick-six with a PAT. Marshall scored 10 offensive points and won. That one stood out and the market reacted accordingly.

    South Carolina at Missouri (-2) – The Missouri Tigers scored 72 points, including 48 before halftime against Missouri State. Drew Lock threw seven touchdown passes and racked up 521 yards through the air on just 21 completions. As mentioned, the Gamecocks won a game that they probably shouldn’t have. South Carolina opened as high as a 4.5-point underdog in the market. The CRIS books opened +3. There was no way that anybody had SC and Missouri a pick ‘em on a neutral prior to last week, let alone SC as a dog. As a result, the line has come down on the Gamecocks. Again, don’t overreact to a one-game sample.

    Oklahoma at Ohio State (-7.5) – Over the summer, Ohio State was basically a nine-point favorite in this game. After struggling through the first half against Indiana, the Buckeyes blew out the Hoosiers and managed to cover the three-touchdown line. Still, oddsmakers were not impressed. The line actually opened Ohio State -5.5 at Bookmaker and got bet to -7 quickly. Pinnacle didn’t even bother with the -7 and made its clientele lay the hook at -7.5, where it mostly sits now.

    This will be a fascinating number to watch throughout the week, as people have plenty of opinions about Ohio State, given their Week 1 struggle and how last season ended against premier opponents.

    Louisiana-Monroe at Florida State (-31) – To me, this game feels like an overreaction. The loss of Deondre Francois was already built into the opening number and the market felt like that wasn’t enough and drove the Warhawks down to a 31-point underdog. Pinnacle opened -30 as the buyback was going on and it now sits at 31. Florida State played poorly against Alabama and now has to play an inexperienced freshman at quarterback. Still, there’s a massive talent mismatch here.

    UNLV at Idaho (-9) – The Runnin’ Rebels will spend the week trying to run away from last week’s loss to Howard. UNLV was favored by 45 points and lost. Idaho won ugly over Sacramento State. The Vandals are now laying close to double digits after the opening line of -7.5 or -8 got bumped to -9. This is a spot where Joe Public will back Idaho blindly because UNLV is getting a ton of negative press. The early sharp position was likely to get in before the line hit 10 or 11 and sharp players will take the Rebels at the highest point. This line is a clear case of overreaction.

    Stanford at USC (-6.5) – This was probably the most interesting line to follow on Sunday as opener started to pop. BetOnline came out with -10, which was clearly a bad number. The line cratered to -4.5 before Bookmaker opened with a -5.5 and Pinnacle opened -6.5, where the line currently sits. The Greek Sportsbook and 5Dimes have both taken up positions at -7. Most books are showing extra juice on USC, so the Trojans are the preferred side below the key number from sharp players, but any reduced juice 7s or anything with a 7.5 will meet resistance.
    Last edited by Knup; 09-05-17, 09:51 AM.
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