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Where the action is: Betting the biggest games of college football Week 1
By Jason Logan

Breathe it in football fans. College is back. And while Week 1 may be littered with uninteresting matchups, like barn burners such as Charlotte at Georgia State, that’s why the good gambling gods created pointspreads. It isn’t all crap either. Here’s a look at the action coming in on some of the biggest games on the Week 1 college football board, according to sportsbooks online and in Las Vegas.

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide – Open: -10, Move: -12

Bettors love them some SEC schools in the early goings, and they get no bigger than Alabama. The Crimson Tide stake a claim for the national title right out of the gate and the market likes their chances enough to tack on as much as two extra points to this spread.

At the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, there is a little bit of Alabama money making its way to the window but the majority of the action has Wisconsin linked in parlays. That’s put Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports at MGM, in a funny spot this Saturday.

“We are going to need Alabama in this, which is odd,” Rood, who is dealing Alabama -11. “Much of that is because of the quarterback issues with them this year.”

Online at offshore book, the money is coming in on the Crimson Tide at a 4/1 clip and they could see this spread going past 12 before kickoff Saturday night.

“If you like Bama, now is the time to grab them,” Mick Sloan, lines manager for GTBets.

Texas Longhorns at Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Open: -8.5, Move: -10, Move: -9.5

This matchup of college football royalty opened as low as Notre Dame -8.5 but has settled between 9.5 and 10 at most shops. Offshore, there hasn’t been the same public push for the Irish as past season, with Notre Dame money holding a 2/1 edge on Longhorns bets.

In Vegas, it’s been all Notre Dame at the Mirage but some sharp money has shown on Texas, which was enough for Rood to trim his spread from Longhorns +10 to +9.5.

“Ticket count is about 3/2 in favor of Notre Dame and all the parlay money is tied into the Irish,” he says. “We’re going to be big Texas fans for this one. Hopefully Charlie Strong gets a good start.”

Louisville Cardinals at Auburn Tigers – Open: -11, Move: -11.5, Move: -10.5

“This one’s not getting much attention really,” says Rood. “There’s good balance with this game, only about $200 separates the bets on both sides. We took some pops on this one a couple weeks ago, with some sharp players taking Louisville.”

Rood says they opened Auburn as a 11-point favorite and dropped to 10.5 when those wiseguys hit, but expects the weekend crowd at the Mirage to side with the SEC member, and will eventually leave the book cheering for Louisville.

Online, underdog bettors have been drawn to the Cardinals getting 10.5 points. Sloan says the handle is split with half the money riding on UL as of Friday night but agrees with his Nevada counterpart.

“The late action will likely come in on Auburn, but I don’t see this line really moving much,” he says.