2011 Bowl Games: Clemson Tigers Are the Biggest Movers in Las Vegas

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IDecember 8, 2011

2011 Bowl Games: Clemson Tigers Are the Biggest Movers in Las Vegas

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    The college football bowl season will feature 35 games this year and the Clemson Tigers have been the biggest mover in Las Vegas since the betting odds were released Sunday night.

    Clemson will face off against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, 2012, in South Beach.

    Oddsmakers sent out the Tigers as a pick 'em—only to see the line race up to three in a matter of 30 minutes.

    Let's take a closer look at nine games that have seen early line movement on the odds board.

Arizona State Sun Devils at Boise State Broncos

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    The Boise State Broncos were unable to land a BCS bowl bid despite being No. 7 in the latest standings, landing in the 20th edition of the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.

    Early wagering has certainly signaled that bettors anticipate the team to be motivated in facing off against the Arizona State Sun Devils, moving the line from 11.5 to 14.

    The Broncos' 5-0 against-the-spread mark in neutral-site contests certainly has some appeal.

Washington Huskies vs. Baylor Bears

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    Baylor Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III is the heavy favorite to walk away with the 2011 Heisman Trophy, which has caused bettors to back his team against the Washington Huskies in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

    The Bears were sent out as 8.5-point favorites, but the line has moved a full point due to the appeal of wagering on college football's best player.

    Bettors will need to be careful due to the Huskies being 4-0 ATS as an underdog in bowl games.

Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Early sports bettors are anticipating the Oklahoma Sooners to lack the proper motivation to cover a 15.5-point spread, driving the line down 1.5 points in their Dec. 30 meeting with the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl.

    The early move may be the right one, considering the Hawkeyes are 4-0 ATS in their last four bowl games, while the Sooners are 1-4 ATS as a bowl favorite.

Houston Cougars vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

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    The Houston Cougars' perfect season came to an end last week with a 49-28 loss to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles as 12-point favorites in the Conference USA championship game.

    Oddsmakers sent out the Cougars as seven-point favorites, which immediately dropped two points in most spots.

    The Penn State Nittany Lions dealt with plenty of distractions to close out the regular season, which makes them dangerous in the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2.

Florida Gators vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    The Florida Gators and Ohio State Buckeyes aren't use to meeting in the TAXSLAYER.com Gator Bowl, but it happens when both proud programs finish the regular season with a 6-6 record.

    Early wagering has moved the Gators from one-point favorites to 2.5, mainly due to the coaching change in Columbus with Urban Meyer taking over for the Buckeyes.

    Florida's 7-1 ATS mark as neutral-site favorites is also a good reason for the move, but the Buckeyes are 5-1 ATS when playing as underdogs in bowl games.

Oregon Ducks vs. Wisconsin Badgers

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    The Oregon Ducks were sent out as 4.5-point favorites against the Wisconsin Badgers in this year's Rose Bowl, but that line has now settled in at six on the Las Vegas strip.

    Considering the Badgers haven't received points all year, bettors may elect to throw some money their way, especially with a 6-1 ATS mark in bowl games as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points.

    The Ducks have failed in four of their last five tries as favorites during the bowl season.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

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    The Michigan Wolverines opened up as one-point favorites over Virginia Tech in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, mainly due to the Hokies poor performance in the ACC championship game.

    Bettors have backed the Wolverines in early wagering, sending the line up to 2.5 around town.

    College football fans may get trapped on Jan. 3, 2012, with the Hokies bringing a 14-6 ATS mark as underdogs to the party.

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers

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    The Alabama Crimson Tide were sent out as one-point underdogs in their rematch with the LSU Tigers in the BCS National Championship Game, something that I was surprised about on Sunday.

    In talking with some sports book personnel on the Las Vegas strip, early wagering seems to be split, but the biggest bets have landed squarely on the Crimson Tide gaining revenge.

    Bettors will also find that Alabama has covered its last four opportunities on a neutral field.

Clemson Tigers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

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    The Clemson Tigers come into the Discover Orange Bowl with a 2-3 record in their last five games, but that didn't scare off bettors when they were matched up with the West Virginia Mountaineers.

    Handing the Virginia Tech Hokies two losses by a combined score of 61-13 this season is certainly impressive, but the Tigers are also 1-6 ATS in their last seven tries as a favorite during the bowl season.

    The Mountaineers aren't getting much respect due to coming out of the Big East Conference, and also being 5-13 ATS versus ACC opponents.