Alabama-Auburn highlights college football opening lines

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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