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Millman / Week 2 college football line moves
Week 2 college football line moves
In theory, the second week of a football season, whether it's college or pro, should be a heckuva lot easier to handicap than Week 1. Instead of an off-season spent reading and studying and trying to glean the slightest intent from a coach's quote, you can base your decisions on a team's actual performance.
Although, you're still not completely out of the guessing fields. "That first week you are looking to play a team if the starting QB, starting coach and three of the five offensive linemen are returning," says veteran capper Bryan Leonard. "After that you have to decide if what you saw in Week 1 is the true identity of that team. For example, was that Miami of Ohio team playing the game of its life against Florida or did it mature from last season? Or, is Florida in trouble or does it just need time to regroup after losing some key veteran players? It is still very hard to watch a game and say a team is over performing and another is underperforming. You need at least three or four more weeks. And that is why you see a lot of line movements here early in the season."
Which brings us to this week's college football line moves report. The drill is the same as last week, and last season. I asked Bryan to give me the wise guy insight on five games where lines have made big moves or ones in which fans will be paying a lot of attention. So here we go...
Matchup: Georgia Tech at Kansas
Line move: Tech opened as 11.5-point favorites, currently favored by two touchdowns.
Leonard says that means: "Obviously the move is because of Kansas. Turner Gill is a good coach, but he's in his first year with that team and as a rule you don't want to bet on first-year coaches at home in their first game. The expectation and level of excitement is too high, so the teams tend to underperform. Kansas actually outplayed North Dakota State last week, it just didn't show up on the scoreboard. This move was as much about wise guys staking a position as anything else. They know that the public saw Kansas lose and will bet against them. When the 11.5 came out on Sunday night, sharps saw this game as an opportunity for potentially buying back on Kansas plus the points at a much higher number, presenting a nice middle situation. It ends up costing you nothing if you do that with equal bets on both sides."
Matchup: Georgia at South Carolina
Line move: South Carolina opened as 1.5-point fave, currently 3.5-point fave.
Leonard says that means: "There are two reasons why this is moving in South Carolina's direction. First, it played on national television and looked very good. This is the most well-rounded team Steve Spurrier has had. But it also has a lot to do with the players not on the field. Georgia has lost AJ Green to an NCAA suspension and SC didn't play three key players last week for team reasons. Moves like these are tough to gauge. Look at last week: SC opened up as a 14-point favorite. Then the NCAA announced a bunch of potential suspensions for the team and the line dipped to 11.5. Then, just before the game, word leaked on Twitter and then was confirmed that some of those players could suit up, so the line jumped back up to 13. This week I think people are expecting South Carolina to reinstate the three guys who didn't play last week, so they started betting the 1.5 in anticipation of that. Plus, with Green out, the line immediately moved up half a point."
Matchup: Florida State at Oklahoma
Line move: The Seminoles were nine-point dogs, line is now down to Sooners minus-7.5.
Leonard says that means: "This move is because it's one of those Week 1 to Week 2 scenarios that leaves you guessing. Oklahoma was highly touted coming into the season. Phil Steele picked them to win the title. But the Sooners struggled in that first game against Utah State, which was missing its two best playmakers and still moved the ball. Meanwhile, Florida State played weak competition and did what it was supposed to do: dominate. So maybe FSU is better than we thought and Oklahoma is still a little uneven. Or we could be wrong about how bad we thought Utah State was. You try to make adjustments three or four games down the road this is one where we are still feeling it out a bit. But we are feeling it out in Florida State's favor."
Matchup: Penn State at Alabama
Line move: Bama opened as 11-point faves, currently favored by 12.
Leonard says that means: "To me this isn't a big move but all wise guys know that Penn State will not be very good this year. In the first half against Youngstown State, the team struggled before eventually wearing down a weaker opponent. But Bama without Ingram dominated. Teams in the SEC are so much stronger around the line, they can push anyone around at anytime. Bama is just the better team at this point. The general public thinks this is Joe Paterno and Penn State, so the wise guys wanted to get the 11 while it was available. If it gets to 13 wise guys will probably buy a little bit back."
Matchup: Miami at Ohio State
Line move: Ohio State opened at minus 9.5, currently minus-9.
Leonard says that means: "Another small move. I actually bet this as a game of the year offering at one of the books a while back when it was Ohio State minus-8. The line movement is because Miami looked good in Week 1 and, while Ohio State did too, people are thinking Miami is better than projected. I actually think this is a statement game for Ohio State, which has always been known as a powerful team without any speed. Now it is going to come out and play with a chip on its shoulder to prove that it has been recruiting speed. Also, Randy Shannon has not played well against top teams on the road. Last year Miami lost to Virginia Tech on the road and the year before that it lost to Florida and Georgia Tech. Ultimately, I think it means more to Ohio State to look good."
ESPN.com - Week 2 college football line moves
May the odds be ever in your favor.
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