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Lines on season wins for New England and USC are active, moving in different dir

Lines on season wins for New England and USC are active, moving in different dir

Lines on season wins for New England and USC are active, moving in different directions
By Jeff Haney

Oddly, although perhaps an indication of their high visibility among sports gamblers, the Patriots and USC also have had the most dramatic betting line movements in NFL and college football regular-season victory totals wagering this year.

It turns out the lines are moving in separate directions. The premium on betting the Patriots to win more than, or “over,” in betting lingo, 12 games this season has increased significantly since odds were posted in Las Vegas in May.

Bettors can risk a lot less to win the same amount, however, on USC to win more than 10 1/2 games, compared with when odds were posted in July.

Fans and bettors are subjected to endless chatter regarding previews and predictions as football season approaches, but as always we like to rely on the exponentially more reliable “betting marketplace” — that fusion of oddsmakers’ opinions and gamblers’ money risked at the windows.

The bottom line with the Patriots, for example, is bettors must risk $1.85 for each $1 they’re trying to win if they think New England will finish with more than 12 wins — up from an opening line of $1.20 to win $1. In betting terminology, that’s a line move of 65 cents — the biggest such adjustment in the NFL.

Bettors, bullish on New England, are shrugging off any potential psychological effects of losing the Super Bowl and backing a Patriots team that could compete on the same level as last season’s powerhouse. Tom Brady (NFL-record 50 touchdown passes a year ago) returns to lead the Pats’ offense, and head coach Bill Belichick brought Dom Capers aboard as an assistant to bolster the defense.

In college football, bettors originally had to risk $2 to win $1 on USC to win more than 10 1/2 games, but now they have to risk only $1.50 to win $1. Only Illinois has also had a line move as large as 50 cents, according to odds at the Las Vegas Hilton sports book.

Although the Trojans are favored to win a seventh consecutive Pac-10 championship, garnering 38 of 39 first-place votes in the conference’s preseason poll, bettors are evidently wary of the “hook” — the extra half-game after the 10 — attached to USC’s projected total.

Other teams that have had significant moves in their regular-season victory over/under lines:


• Buccaneers: Bettors like Tampa Bay to exceed eight wins, as the line on the “over” has gone from plus-110 to minus-135, a 45-cent swing.

• Ravens: Baltimore is getting support to exceed six wins, with the line going from plus-110 to minus-130, a 40-cent swing.

• Bills: Bettors are bearish on Buffalo, with the line on over 7 1/2 victories dropping from minus-175 to minus-135.

• Raiders: Bettors thought minus-160 on over six victories was too rich, as the line has dropped 40 cents to minus-120.


• Illinois: Bettors are playing the Fighting Illini to record more than, or over, seven wins, driving the price from plus-110 to minus-140.

• Kansas: Bettors are also bullish on the Jayhawks’ chances of exceeding their posted total of 7 1/2 victories, as the line on the over has gone from plus-130 to minus-110.

• Michigan: A juicy premium of plus-155 on over 7 1/2 wins was too much to resist for gamblers, who have driven the price down to plus-115 at the Hilton.

• Tennessee: The betting marketplace strongly likes the Volunteers to exceed 7 1/2 wins, as the over opened at minus-150 and now stands at minus-185.

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