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Interesting College Football Lines This Week

Going over the Vegas lines this week got my attention a bit. I think we are far enough into the season to make some conclusions about certain teams although we aren’t very far into conference play at all. Still, it’s always interesting to see how Vegas views the teams in question. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting lines.

Kansas St. (-2.5) at Kansas

This one is interesting b/c I’ve always heard you can add 3 points to the favorite on a neutral field & another 3 points if the favorite were playing at home. This puts Kansas St. at a 5.5 favorite if the game was on a neutral field. The Jayhawks aren’t very good at all. They lost their top QB in Todd Reesing from a year ago & have a new head coach. Despite that, Vegas doesn’t think they are all that far away from their instate rival Wildcats. Given what happened against Nebraska, Vegas thinks Kansas St. & Kansas are a lot closer than Nebraska & Kansas St.

Pittsburgh (+1) at Syracuse

Vegas isn’t completely buying into Syracuse yet although the Orange are 4-1 to Pittsburgh 2-3. Still, nobody could have predicted that going into this game the Panthers would actually be a dog! What has happened to PITT? Bill Stull had a great year last season at QB, but most of his career he took a beating by the media over his lack of ability. The Panthers returned a stout defense & both Dion Lewis & Jonathan Baldwin from a 10-3 squad last year. What a disappointment. If Syracuse wins this game then why couldn’t they finish 7-1 in the Big East with their only loss coming to West Virginia?

Maryland (+15.5) at Clemson

Sort of interesting because the Terps are 4-1 (1-0) to Clemson’s 2-3 (0-2) records. Maryland has gotten fat off a horrendous schedule with their loss coming to the only legitimate team (West Virginia) they’ve played so far. Clemson has to be cursing themselves at this point. Lady Luck is screwing them over with close losses to Auburn, Miami-FL & North Carolina. Clemson is a stone’s throw away from being 5-0 & in the top-10 if not possibly the top-5 in the nation. Vegas accords them the respect they deserve despite the record discrepancies with Maryland.

Illinois (+7) at Michigan St.

Remember that in regards to luck a win by 7 points or less could go either way. Given that this is a 7-point spread in East Lansing you can assume it would be Illinois (+4) at a neutral site & Illinois (+1) if it were being played a few hundred miles south. It’s intriguing because the Spartans are 6-0 (2-0) with wins over Wisconsin, Michigan, & Notre Dame. They’ve beat some solid teams. However, Vegas has to be impressed with Illinois. The win over Penn St. means quite a bit & don’t forget that Illinois has hung tough with both Missouri & Ohio St. I dare say Illinois might actually beat Missouri if they played today. What does all this mean? It means that if Illinois holds it to a 3-point game or even upsets the Spartans in East Lansing, we shouldn’t be completely blown away.

Minnesota (+5) at Purdue

A couple of bottom feeding Big 10 teams this season so not much national application (no real Big 10 application either) but it’s interesting because of how close Vegas views Purdue & Minnesota. The Gophers are a horrendous football team to be sure so putting the Boilermakers on somewhat equal football is odd. Losing Robert Marve is a big deal, but was it that big of a deal? My thought here is that Vegas doesn’t think Minnesota as horrible as their 1-5 record indicates. Minnesota did lose to Northwestern & South Dakota, but by only a combined 4 points. They lost to USC & N. Illinois by 11 points each. Minnesota could just as easily be 3-3 & if luck was on their side, they could be an amazing 5-1.

South Carolina (-4.5) at Kentucky

This spread looks a little low given that the Gamecocks are coming off a 2TD win over the former #1 & defending National Champions Alabama! Kentucky’s 3-point loss to Auburn last week in Lexington has the boys in Vegas a bit worried that the Wildcats might get up for another big game. One thing to be sure is that the if the line was too low then it would have been adjusted by now due to so many people taking SC & the points. That hasn’t been the case so Vegas clearly thinks this game could be a tight one. The SEC is a mystery wrapped inside of an enigma this year.

Mississippi St. (+7) at Florida

Somewhat of a tight line. Vegas thinks Florida wins, but not by a TD which means it would fall into the “luck” category of going either way. The Gators are on a 2-game skid right now so losing to Mississippi St. would be odd in that it would put Florida at 4-3 (2-3) overall. It would also knock Florida out of the top-25. I’m a little disappointed in Urban Meyer not adjusting the offense to fit Brantley’s skills, instead trying to fit Brantley into somewhat of a Tebow kind of offense. It’s weird.

Baylor (-1) at Colorado

Vegas isn’t buying into Colorado despite the Buffs having wins over Hawaii, Georgia & Colorado St. It’s interesting. Quietly Baylor is sitting at 4-2, but the close loss at home to Texas Tech last week really hurt the Bears. Even if they beat Colorado they’ll be just 5-2 with games against Kansas St., Texas, Oklahoma St., Texas A&M & Oklahoma the rest of the way meaning they could very well wind up 5-7, being 1 game out of bowl eligibility. Vegas certainly believes them to be a better team than Colorado which makes some sense although they aren’t THAT much better.

California (+2.5) at USC

The Golden Bears are dogs here, but on a neutral field Vegas thinks Cal is better than the men of Troy. It’s interesting because a California win here puts USC on a 3-game skid! It would also drop USC to 4-3 with a 1-3 Pac 10 record which seems almost unthinkable during the Pete Carroll era in Los Angeles. It doesn’t get any easier for USC either as they follow up Cal with a road trip to Oregon! They also have road games against Oregon St. & Arizona left as well as home dates against Notre Dame & USC. I don’t think 5-7 is out of the realm of possibility for USC. California has losses to Nevada & Arizona. If Vegas thinks they are better on a neutral field, then USC has to be at least below those two teams right?

Iowa (-3.5) at Michigan

Iowa is coming off a bye week while Michigan is coming off a tough home loss to instate rival Michigan St. Iowa is a road favorite so Vegas clearly likes them, but the spread is fairly close meaning a Michigan win wouldn’t be all that out of place. Now that Illinois hammered Penn St., the Iowa win over the Lions doesn’t look all that hot. Despite being 4-1, Iowa still has quite a bit to prove. Beating Michigan here would be a step in the right direction, but honestly I’m not sure Iowa wins this game.

Oklahoma St. (+3.5) at Texas Tech

Clearly Vegas isn’t putting anything into Oklahoma St.’s 5-0 start. Texas Tech is coming off a close win over Baylor & are favored over the Cowboys who beat Texas A&M a couple of weeks prior. To be fair, Oklahoma St. hasn’t played ANYONE & it did take them a bit to warm up against Louisiana last week. It’s also a road game for the Cowboys so it’s odd to wonder what might happen. We’ll learn if Oklahoma St. is a legit contender in the Big XII if they can get a big in where. Clearly Vegas doesn’t think too highly of them. The Red Raiders would be favored on a neutral field! Craziness.

Missouri (+3.5) at Texas A&M

More Big XII shenanigans. Both Missouri & Oklahoma St. are 5-0. Both are ranked in the top-25. Both are going on the road this week to play against 3-2 Big XII South teams & both are 3.5 favorite underdogs! I can see why Vegas is buying into Texas A&M a bit. They have a pretty good defensive team & Jerrod Johnson can be a very dynamic QB. They lost a 3-point game in Stillwater against a now 5-0 Oklahoma St. squad & they also lost a 7-point affair at a neutral site last week against Arkansas a team that could easily be in the top-10. Clearly Missouri & Oklahoma St. need wins more for respect than anything else.

Ohio St. (-3.5) at Wisconsin

The Buckeyes might be 10 point favorites if the game was being played in the Horseshoe, but being in Camp Randall evens the stakes a little bit. To me this at least shows that Vegas is holding out hope that the Badgers are a bit better than what they’ve shown so far. It’s weird. John Clay is on pace for 1,500 yards rushing & 20TD. Scott Tolzien is being very efficient, yet Wisconsin is getting lost in the shuffle. Losing to Michigan St. didn’t help, but more than that I think playing San Jose St., UNLV & Arizona St. to closer matches hurt the Badgers just a bit. Vegas is certainly open to the possibility of a Wisconsin win which would certainly shake up the landscape quite a bit.

Arkansas (+4) at Auburn

Vegas has these teams being virtually identical on a neutral field. When you look at Auburn as a whole you see a team that is 6-0, but that could just as easily be 2-4. I’m sort of wonder why the spread is as big as it is seeing that Arkansas at +3, +2.5 or even +2 might be a better line. I think this is a big game for Auburn in that it’ll be hard to keep an undefeated SEC squad outside of the top-5 if they win it & improve to 7-0. Auburn has wins over South Carolina & Clemson. If they beat Arkansas you can add that to the resume plus 2 close road SEC victories over Mississippi St. & Kentucky. It’s not always pretty, but Auburn is getting it done & Vegas is reflecting this by putting Auburn at -4.

Nevada (-7) at Hawaii

Sort of odd for me because I think Nevada wins by way more than a TD. It’s still a pretty good sized line with Nevada a 2TD+ favorite if the game was in Reno, but Vegas gives some credence to the difficult/distraction a team faces when making a huge road trip to the islands. I don’t think it’ll put Colin Kaepernick off his game that Hawaii keeps it to within 7 though.

Texas (+9.5) at Nebraska

Pinnacle Sports didn’t have the Nebraska/Texas game, but Vegas Insider had the line opening at Texas (+8) and has since increased the line to Texas (+9.5) meaning Vegas thinks Nebraska is A LOT better than the Longhorns & expects a near certain victory for the Huskers improving them to 6-0. If Texas loses then they drop to 3-3 & 1-2 in the Big XII! There certainly is no faith in Texas from the boys in Vegas when it comes to top shelf talent in the Big XII, but this also underscores the idea that Nebraska is a legitimate player on the national scene.


October 13, 2010 - Posted by | Betting, Vegas

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