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Alabama-Auburn highlights college football opening lines

By Matt Youmans  (VSiN senior editor) 

May 29, 2017 04:27 PM
Alabama is a 3½-point favorite at Auburn on Nov. 25. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban enters the season off a loss to Clemson in the national championship game.
© USA Today Sports Images

Alabama coach Nick Saban is not the type to be cast in the underdog role, and that’s not changing anytime soon.


South Point sports book director Chris Andrews opened lines Monday on 66 of the college football season’s marquee games, and he favored the Crimson Tide in three high-profile matchups. Alabama is laying 10½ points at Texas A&M on Oct. 7, 11 points to Louisiana State on Nov. 4 and 3½ points at Auburn on Nov. 25.


The initial wagering limit was $1,000 per game. Andrews said about $25,000 was wagered in the first two hours. (Opening lines for Week 1 were posted Thursday


No game moved more than three points. Penn State opened as a 14-point home favorite over Michigan on Oct. 21, and action on the Wolverines moved the line to 11. The Nittany Lions feature two Heisman Trophy candidates in running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley.


“I think Penn State will challenge for the national championship,” Andrews said.


Ohio State and Oklahoma figure to be in the title picture, too. The Buckeyes opened as 8-point home favorites over the Sooners on Sept. 9, and the line dropped to 7.


Urban Meyer pulled off a big win last year, when the Buckeyes steamrolled the Sooners 45-24 in Norman. Both quarterbacks return — J.T. Barrett for Ohio State and Baker Mayfield for Oklahoma.


Clemson, which upset Alabama 35-31 in the national championship game in January, opened as a 2-point underdog at Louisville on Sept. 16. The line was bet to pick’em. The Tigers, who are replacing Deshaun Watson, face a question mark at quarterback. The Cardinals return the Heisman winner in quarterback Lamar Jackson.


Oregon drew early play as a 1-point favorite at Wyoming on Sept. 16. The line was adjusted to 2½. The Ducks will be directed by a new coach, Willie Taggart. The Cowboys are led by Josh Allen, a top NFL quarterback prospect.


Andrews posted 14 games for Nov. 25, the biggest rivalry Saturday of the season. Ohio State opened as an 8-point favorite at Michigan, and the number was bet to 7.


UNLV-Nevada is a pick’em game. It’s a revenge spot for the Rebels, who were embarrassed 45-10 by the Wolf Pack last year in Las Vegas.


“College football is absolutely gaining and gaining because of these matchups,” South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said. “The handle is neck and neck with the NFL on the weekends.”


The favorite flipped in one game. Colorado opened minus-1 at Washington State on Oct. 21. The Cougars were bet to 1½-point favorites.


Regular-season win totals on all FBS teams will be posted Friday. Andrews and VSiN oddsmaker Vinny Magliulo collaborated on the openers. The process of projecting college numbers is more difficult than making NFL lines.

“I think it’s really tough, but I enjoy doing it,” Andrews said. “It’s tough trying to extrapolate what happened last year, what the teams added and what they subtracted. If you make an NFL number, how far off can you be? If you’re off by three points, you really blew it.”


The South Point’s opening lines (home team in CAPS):

Saturday, Sept. 9

CLEMSON  7  Auburn

PENN STATE  19  Pittsburgh


OHIO STATE  8  Oklahoma

Texas Christian  6  ARKANSAS

OREGON  4  Nebraska

Saturday, Sept. 16

LOUISVILLE  2  Clemson

Oklahoma State  4.5  PITTSBURGH


Stanford  5  SAN DIEGO STATE

Oregon  1  WYOMING

FLORIDA  5  Tennessee

Saturday, Sept. 23


Texas A&M  10  Arkansas @Arlington, Texas

Saturday, Sept. 30

UCLA  4  Colorado

Friday, Oct. 6

BRIGHAM YOUNG  6  Boise State

Saturday, Oct. 7

MICHIGAN  15  Michigan State

Wisconsin  8  NEBRASKA

NAVY  15.5  Air Force

Alabama  10.5  TEXAS A&M

Saturday, Oct. 14

Oklahoma  8  Texas @Dallas

SAN DIEGO STATE  6.5  Boise State


Saturday, Oct. 21

FLORIDA STATE  6.5  Louisville

Southern California  6.5  NOTRE DAME

BOISE STATE  7  Wyoming


PENN STATE  14  Michigan 

Saturday, Oct. 28

Oklahoma State  5  WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO STATE  8.5  Penn State


Georgia  3  Florida  @Jacksonville, Fla.

KENTUCKY  Pick  Tennessee  

Saturday, Nov. 4



Army  3  AIR FORCE

ALABAMA  11  Louisiana State

GEORGIA  14  South Carolina

Saturday, Nov. 11

CLEMSON  5  Florida State

MIAMI  8  Notre Dame

KANSAS STATE  7  West Virginia

Baylor  7  Texas Tech @Arlington, Texas


Saturday, Nov. 18

NORTHWESTERN  6  Minnesota

STANFORD  22  California



Thursday, Nov. 23


Friday, Nov. 24

Virginia Tech  6  VIRGINIA


HOUSTON  7  Navy

Saturday, Nov. 25

Florida State  5  FLORIDA

Georgia  5  GEORGIA TECH

Louisville  8.5  KENTUCKY

Ohio State  8  MICHIGAN

Wisconsin  10  MINNESOTA

STANFORD  11  Notre Dame

NEVADA  Pick  Unlv

ARIZONA STATE  10  Arizona

Colorado  1  UTAH

OREGON  2  Oregon State

WASHINGTON  20  Washington State

Alabama  3.5  AUBURN


TENNESSEE  8.5  Vanderbilt

Saturday, Dec. 9

Navy  4  Army @Philadelphia

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