Interesting Early Moves in Week One Vegas Lines for NCAA Games

Pete MisthaufenAnalyst IAugust 29, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 02:  Linebacker Brandon Fanney #98 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a stop in the third quarter against the Utah Utes during the 75th Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

While I am not a betting man, I have found that sports bettors often have the best instincts about football teams.  After all, they are putting their money behind their opinions.

The rest of us just root on are teams and talk sports. Those guys make a living at forecasting.

Now, the bookies are looking for the prefect number to balance the money from both sides, not always trying to predict the final score. 

For those who do not follow this closely, most Vegas casinos get their initial line from the Las Vegas Sports Consultants. 

While the sportbooks may alter a line slightly, they generally follow this line until one of three things happens.

First, if their own books get unbalanced from having too much money come on one side.

Second, if other books start changing the line substantially.

Third, if major injuries or other changes occur.

Early line moves can be especially interesting. For the first game of a season, the lines are a lot less solid, given that even the bookies lack enough information to determine if a team is going to pull a Clemson.

So, I glanced at vegasinsider to see how the college football lines are coming along.

People believe in Alabama, as the Tide has gone from four-and-a-half to close to a touchdown favorite over Virginia Tech, depending upon the book.

Bettors really believe in Art Briles and Robert Griffin at Baylor, as they went from a five-point road dog to a one-and-a-half point road dog at Wake Forest.

Illinois went to a touchdown favorite from five-and-a-half over Missouri.

Troy went from a field-goal road favorite at Bowling Green to almost a touchdown.

The early bettors really seem to think that Cal will pile on the points against Maryland, as the line went from fifteen to 21.5

Doubts abound for Notre Dame and Auburn. Notre Dame dropped three points from a 17-point home favorite over Nevada to a 14-point home favorite.  Auburn dropped from a two-touchdown favorite over Louisiana Tech to a 12-point home favorite.

Now, of course, I do not encourage sports-betting, but these early line moves really peaked my interest. 

These lines may continue to change as we approach game time, as the wiseguys come in.  But enough money has already entered to force some these line moves.

So, given all this, maybe Notre Dame and Auburn really do have something to worry about.


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