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College Football Sports Book Industry Report

College Football Sports Book Industry Report

College Football Sports Book Industry Report
By: Micah Roberts

College football fans were in their own personal heaven Saturday night with all the major players in the BCS Championship playing at once on the three major networks during primetime. Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon were all in action and the handle through the bet windows at Las Vegas sports books reflected their excitement.

Up until that point the sports books had been having a decent day led by Notre Dame failing to cover the 16.5-point spread at home against Pittsburgh in a 29-26 overtime win. But when the results of the evening games started posting, the small win turned into a break even, then to a small loss, and eventually into what one sports book director called a “blood bath”.

Parlays were the culprit, and bettors were pretty one sided with their thoughts taking Kansas State laying 7-points at home against Oklahoma State and Oregon laying 8-points at USC, but they were mixed on the LSU-Alabama game. However, one thing they all agreed on was that there wouldn't be many points scored in Baton Rouge and all sided with the UNDER, which dropped from 42 to 38.5 by kickoff, and they were correct.

Bettors also sided with the OVER in the Kansas State and Oregon games, especially the Ducks, and they were correct on both of those.

“The Oregon-to-OVER the total combination was the dagger that did us in,“ said South Point sports book director Bert Osborne. “That was our biggest decision of the day and the worst case scenario (favorite to over) occurred.”

Oregon beat USC 62-51 in a game that didn't seem that close. The Ducks did just about anything they wanted on the night and kept the sports book roaring with cheers on what seemed like a never-ending barrage of touchdowns.

The majority of the public sided with LSU getting points, which had dropped from +9.5 to +7 by kickoff, but Osborne says they would have been in decent shape had LSU won outright despite the game staying UNDER.

“We had a lot of money-line plays on Alabama, along with Alabama linked to almost every big teaser on the day,” said Osborne. “When Alabama scored that last touchdown (to win 21-17), I knew then it was going to be a pretty bad result for the day.”

Osborne cited that all bettors won on teasers that took Oregon, USC, LSU and Alabama, which was costly. And also noted that hardly anyone had taken Oklahoma State on teasers with most siding with Kansas State.

The night didn't get much better for the spots books as Oregon State (-3) beat Arizona State and UCLA (-3) wiped out Arizona, both sides the public loved.

“I suppose I should consider ourselves lucky that Boise State didn't cover the late game that everyone seemed to have,“ said Osborne.

Boise State lost outright as a 16.5-point home favorite to San Diego State, the biggest upset of the day.

Osborne takes all the losses and wins in stride as he's seen much worse days over his 25 years of running books, but of all the weekends to lose, he hated seeing it happen this week.

“The worst part is that it happened on a busy Breeders Cup weekend with so many visitors in from out-of-town, and they take the money home with them. I'll never see it again.”

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