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Where the action is: Sharps like UNC and Minnesota, books wary of Wolverines
By Jason Logan
College football kicks off with a busy slate of games Thursday night. We talk to sportsbooks about the biggest games and how the action is impacting the odds:
North Carolina Tar Heels at South Carolina Gamecocks – Open: -3, Move: -2.5
Wiseguys have forced books to come off this key number with sharp money hitting the Tar Heels, however 65 percent of the action is on the Gamecocks and that lean should continue to grow as kickoff draws closer.
“With this being a key primetime game on ESPN, I have a feeling all the public is going to continue to back the Gamecocks in this game and we’ll eventually get back to -3,” Peter Childs of Sportsbook. “But it’s still early and we already liked the dog in this game, combine that with sharp supporting the dog, and we’re in no hurry to get back to three.”
Michigan Wolverines at Utah Utes – Open: -5.5, Move: -6, Move: -4.5, Move: -5
This spread has swung as high as six points before coming down to -4.5, with action on the Wolverines. Scott Kaminsky, sportsbook director at TheGreek, says this game has garnered two-way action since opening in the middle of July, even with the debut of John Harbaugh chewing up most of the headlines.
“I think he will have somewhat of an immediate impact because he’s one of the better coaches, and it’s only a matter of time before they become a really good team again,” Kaminsky. “But you don’t make the number higher because of the coach. You make the number based on the talent on the field.”
Kaminsky is keeping a close eye on the Wolverines in the first two quarters of Thursday’s game to see how the altitude and thin air in Salt Lake City effects their conditioning in this opening contest, especially as it pertains to alternate lines.
“It could come into play in the fourth quarter but if they start showing signs of being tired in the second quarter it has huge implications when looking at the halftime line and those live-betting,” he says.
TCU Horned Frogs at Minnesota Gophers – Open: +17, Move: +14.5, Move: +17
Early sharp money marched this spread way down this summer before the public started punching TCU for Week 1’s bet. The Horned Frogs have since ballooned back to the original spread and have drawn 70 percent of the total action for Thursday’s game.
“No question, this game is the pros versus joes, as in the sharp bettors are on the home dog and the public is absolutely crushing the road favorite,” says Childs. “With this being a late ESPN game, it will be our biggest decision of the day.”