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Old 09-02-2010, 05:31 PM
stevo stevo is offline
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Default Millman / Week 1 college football line moves

Week 1 college football line moves
September, 2, 2010

Chad Millman

I have chosen Paul Stone to help me break down the biggest line moves during college football's opening gambit this weekend. Not because he is a Texas native who has forgotten more about football than I will ever know. Nor is it because he is so sharp the Las Vegas Review-Journal hires him to write a column about college pigskin handicapping, even though he spends all season in the Lone Star State. It's because he is the kind of guy who, while driving and doing my interview, pulls over so he can look up some stats to make this little slice of blogging as useful as possible for you, the degenerate gambler.


Since it's been several months, you may not recall the drill here in my section of Insider. On Thursday's during the football season I write about the five college games that have had the most intriguing line moves during the week. I choose the games based on reader questions, conversations I am hearing from sharps and by tracking which games are swinging to and fro the most.


The idea is to give you something to think about in the final 48 hours -- or less if I cover a Thursday night game -- before kickoff. Maybe you'll discover a trend or learn something about a player or recognize why sharps think a team is a fraud that you didn't know before. Maybe you'll just crib from it for bar talk to make people think you've got a guy in Vegas. Or maybe you'll just use it for advice and then make some horribly bad decisions that cost you your bank account or your job or your relationship.


Whichever, hope you enjoy -- the column and the season.



Matchup: Cincinnati Bearcats at Fresno State Bulldogs
Line moves: The game opened Cincy minus-2.5, currently Fresno minus-2.5


Stone says that means: "I made this game Cincy minus-2.5 originally. There have been no injuries to speak of, so the only explanation is that the bettors see the value is on Fresno. I'm surprised. Fresno lost Ryan Mathews and his replacement, Robbie Rouse, is only 5-7, 180 pounds, so he may not carry it more than 15 times. Plus, Fresno does not have a real gamebreaker at receiver. The money move is more of a play against Cincy than on Fresno. Zach Collaros, the Cincy QB, played in four games last season and played very well, but the defense was exposed at the end of the season. It allowed more than 36 points in four of its last five games and more than 40 in three of them, including the 51-24 loss to Florida in the Sugar Bowl. With a first-year head coach, a first-year full-time starting QB and a suspect defense, there are concerns about playing Cincy, at least that's why the line moved."



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Matchup: UCLA Bruins at Kansas State Wildcats
Line moves: UCLA opened as two-point favorites; Kansas State is now a 1.5-point fave.


Stone says that means: "This one is easy. It's well chronicled that UCLA has had injuries and suspensions on its offensive line since the lines were posted. This number was actually up to KSU minus-3 a few days ago and has started to come back down. Sophisticated bettors always pay very close attention to the offensive line, especially in that first game. A lack of continuity is so critical because there will be breakdowns that lead to turnovers or penalties or missed blocks. This is really just a case of grave concern for the line and bettors piling on Kansas State."



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Matchup: Northwestern Wildcats at Vanderbilt Commodores
Line moves: Wildcats opened as two-point favorites; currently favored by five.


Stone says that means: "I took Northwestern at minus-3, but you are messing with fire by betting them. This is not my favorite play on the board. Over the past six seasons, Northwestern is just 9-17 as a favorite. Historically, it has been profitable playing them as a dog, and playing against them when they're not. But this is all a reaction to Vandy. When the coach, Bobby Johnson, abruptly resigned, it sent bettors running for the windows. Johnson has made the most of his talent at Vandy and, because he was so defensive oriented, his teams often played within the number. He was very highly regarded by gamblers. The new coach is a Johnson disciple, but bettors are going to take the position of show me until they start backing him."



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Matchup: USC Trojans at Hawaii Warriors
Line moves: USC moved from an 18.5-point favorite to a 21.5-point favorite.

Stone says that means: "Okay, here's a stat: The past three seasons, double digit favorites in Week 1, when the total is over 42, are 14-1. This game meets that model. But ... this is still perplexing to me. I can't tell where this money is coming from. It happened too early for it to be public money moving the line, and most people I know are taking a wait and see approach on USC. They aren't sold on Lane Kiffin, and they aren't convinced this team can play great when it has nothing to play for. Also, the flip side of that system is that USC is just 3-9 the past two years as a road favorite. This line is moving, but it doesn't move me."



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Matchup: Utah State Aggies at Oklahoma Sooners
Line moves: Oklahoma was a 30.5-point fave; now a 34.5-point fave.


Stone says that means: "Playing a big, huge favorite can be characterized as a square play. But to close your eyes completely to these situations is foolish. The smart bettors won't do that. And they know that the past few years, large favorites in non-conference games have been covering. Utah State had an outstanding running back in Robert Turbin, but he is hurt. So is their top receiver, Stanley Morrison. Take a team that has lost its two best skill players and has a defense that gave up 34 points per game last year and I think the number is actually too low. I made the game 41, so I have been playing Oklahoma since the day the game went up, and I have all kinds of value spread out on this game. Utah State will just be outmanned in this game."



ESPN.com - Week 1 college football line moves
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:03 PM
stevo stevo is offline
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Bump for tomorrow.
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:19 PM
coloradobuff95 coloradobuff95 is offline
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what about lsu big move
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:21 PM
stevo stevo is offline
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I don't know if that info was out when they had their get together Buff.
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