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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

Last week's college football action started what would be the worst weekend in Las Vegas sports book history with the favorites -- the side the public loves to bet -- going 32-19-1 against-the-spread. Up until that point, the books had been winning at a record pace thanks to a nice mix of underdogs and favorites keeping bettors off balance.

On Saturday, things returned back to normal with favorites going 25-26 ATS and 12 underdogs winning outright spurring the books to a winning day.

No. 1 Alabama (-13.5) getting beat outright, 29-24 by Texas A&M, was a good decision for the house, but not the best. Surprisingly, one of the best decisions happened early in the morning when then-undefeated ninth-ranked Louisville (-1.5) lost 45-26 at Syracuse.

Usually the big decisions for the sports books are the night games when money from over the course of the day mushrooms in a giant pool of risk. 80-percent of the money on a college football Saturday happens on the day of the game, which makes it hard to believe that the 9 a.m. PT start time would generate the biggest win, but it did.

The reasoning was that despite some sharp money on the Syracuse side, just about every small money parlay on the day began spending their fortune from last week on Louisville to remain unbeaten. It was a small number to lay and Syracuse has long fallen out of favor with the bettors. The majority of parlays up to that point that had USC, Kansas State, Oregon or Wisconsin on it, lost immediately when Louisville fell and the sports books raked in all the chips to start the day off.

The second biggest leg came when Alabama lost, which negated afternoon covers by popular teams like USC (-10) beating Arizona State 38-17 and the late gift score by Nebraska (-8.5), who won 32-23 against Penn State.

The prime time games didn't seem to have the luster or public fascination we have seen all season long. Bettors shied away from Kansas State (-6.5) for the first time in weeks because of all the reports regarding Collin Klein's status. Kansas State won 23-10 at TCU, but the result didn't do much damage.

Notre Dame was a 20-point favorite at Boston College in the other prime time game, and won 21-6. But the majority of small players have grown tired of losing on Notre Dame's big spreads, and surely weren't ready to back BC, so this one didn't have the usual impact.

As usual, the late night games produced some big decisions, as they would be the final games posted. They just weren't as big as usual because of the key games being knocked off earlier in the day, which eliminated any severe risk.

The sports books got almost all the bounces their way, and in one instance a favorable kick. BYU was a 40-point favorite with one-sided small action in their favor. Trailing by 42, Idaho kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to lose 52-13, much to the ire of everyone sitting in the sports books. Taking the kick instead trying for a touchdown so close to the goal line kind of makes you think the coach had somewhat of an idea what the spread on the game was.

UCLA has been one of the popular choices all season and were favored by 16-points Saturday night at Washington State. The Bruins thoroughly dominated the first half, building a 37-7 advantage, and went into the fourth quarter up 44-21 -- still covering. But then Washington State went on a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter to keep the game respectable -- and cover -- in a 44-36 loss. This capped off another deflating moment for the crowd in the books.

The final game posted of the night was Oregon, which turned out to be the books biggest loss on the day - as is usually the case with the final game. Oregon was favored by 31-points at Cal and won 59-17, which caused the books to give back about 20 percent of what they had won on the day.

But much of the loss was negated because of all the furious action that took place in the first-half, which was bigger than a large portion of the other games on the day according to some sports book directors. Oregon was an obscene 22.5-point favorite in the first half, and bettors laid it because of the Ducks propensity to call off the dogs in the second-half of games. As irony would have it, the Ducks did an old switch-a-roo from their normal trend and led 24-10 at the half, but rolled out strong in the second half with five unanswered touchdowns to close the game out.

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