Andrews: Inside the betting action for early college football bowl games

December 16, 2022 12:50 AM

The bowl season does not move like a conventional mid-season college football market.

The injuries, the suspensions, players opting out, the transfer portal, coaching changes – there are a lot of variables and these games move quickly and they can move a lot. I can tell you, as a bookmaker, it has gotten worse and worse the last couple of years as far as how volatile it is, and it’s not really the money but more so, the market.

One other thing to note: some of these earlier bowl games on the schedule don't see much action from the general public until game day or the day before, so the movement we are listing here has been primarily sharp play, and of course movement solely on our part because of the consistent news of the aforementioned variables.

Here are the bowl games starting with Saturday in official rotation order through next Friday. We’ll be back next week to give our betting report on the rest of the bowl games, including the CFB Playoff national semifinals on New Year’s Eve.

Fenway Bowl: Louisville (-2, 40) vs. Cincinnati

We opened Louisville 2. They took the 2 and they took the 1.5. We went to 1 and they laid back the 1 and we are back at 2 with the game. Quite a bit on the total here. We opened 43 and they bet me Under. We went to 42.5, they bet me Under again and I went to 41.5, they bet me Under again and I went to 40.5. They bet me Under again and we are now at 40.

Celebration Bowl: Jackson State (-14, 55) vs. NC Central

We opened 14 and 55 and haven't moved it. Not much of anything yet on the side or the total.

New Mexico Bowl: BYU vs. SMU (-4, 64)

We have been all over the place in this one. Wide receiver Rashee Rice is out for SMU and BYU quarterback Jarren Hall may not play either. We opened SMU -1.5. They laid it, we went to 2, they laid it again and I went to 3, and they laid that and I went straight to 4. They weren't done yet. Laid me again and I went straight to 5 on the game. Then they took the 5 and I went to 4. They took the 4 and I went to 3.5. They laid it back and now I am at 4 once again. This number has been all over the place and so has the total. We opened 70.5 and this is where we saw the market tumble on the news about Rice and Hill. We went to 65 and they bet me Under, so now I'm at 64.

LA Bowl: Fresno State (-4, 53) vs. Washington State

Here's another crazy one. We opened Fresno State -1.5 and they laid it. Washington State has a number of injured players, players entering the transfer portal, and coaches that have accepted positions at other schools, so I went right to 3 with the game. They laid me the 3, I went to 3.5, they laid me the 3.5, I went to 4 and that's where I'm at right now. We opened the total 54 and the first bet was on the Over. We went to 55. Then they bet me Under 55, Under 54, and I went to 52. They bet me Over the 52 and now I’m at 53.

Lending Tree Bowl: Rice vs. Southern Mississippi (-6.5, 45.5)

Here’s one that didn’t move that much. We opened 7, they took it, and I’m at 6.5. Not much on the total either.

Las Vegas Bowl: Florida vs. Oregon State (-10.5, 52.5)

A lot of players out for Florida, including quarterback Anthony Richardson, who has declared for the NFL Draft. We opened Oregon State -10. They laid us the 10, laid us the 10.5. We went to 11 and they took the 11 and we’re back to 10.5. We opened the total 52.5, they bet me Under, and then Over 52, and I’m back to 52.5.

Frisco Bowl: Boise State (-11, 59) vs. North Texas

We opened Boise State 10. They laid me the 10 and I went to 11. They are taking the 11 off of me but I’m sticking to 11 right now. A little bit of both public and sharp action taking the 11, but the market is all over the place, as low as 10.5 and as high as 11.5. Nothing really major at our store on the 11. We opened the total 56.5. They bet me Over that, Over 57.5, Over 58.5, and now I’m at 59.

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Connecticut vs. Marshall (-10, 40.5)

Who would have thought Connecticut would be in a bowl game? I really like Connecticut here, though, because I think these kids really want to play. My numbers come higher but I like the situation for Connecticut. Anyway, we opened the game 10 and haven’t moved it. We opened the total 40.5 and haven’t moved it either.

Potato Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. San Jose State (-3.5, 54)

We opened 4, they took the 4, we went to 3.5, and we’re still at 3.5. We opened the total 54 and haven’t moved it.


Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo (-5, 54) vs. Liberty

We opened Toledo -4. They laid me the 4, they laid me the 4.5, and right now we are sitting at 5. Nothing on the total. Opened 54 and haven’t budged.

New Orleans Bowl: South Alabama (-4.5, 56) vs. Western Kentucky

We opened South Alabama -7.5. Western Kentucky’s quarterback Austin Reed has entered the transfer portal but the money has moved their way. The first bet was actually on the favorite and we went to 8. Then they took the 8, they took the 7.5, and then we moved 3 points on the quarterback situation. The total went the other way. We opened 55 and are now at 56. A weird one for sure.

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. Baylor (-5.5, 49)

We opened Baylor -6.5 and they took it with Air Force. They took the 6 and I’m now at 5.5 with this one. We opened the total 49 and haven’t moved it.

Independence Bowl: Houston (-6.5, 58.5) vs. Louisiana

I opened Houston -6. They laid me the 6 and we’re at 6.5. They’re still betting the favorite with me but not enough yet to get me to 7. We opened the total 60.5, they bet me Under and I dropped immediately to 58.5 just to stay in line with the market.

Gasparilla Bowl: Wake Forest (-1, 61) vs. Missouri

So we opened Wake 2. They took the 2 and we went to 1 and that’s where I am right now. We opened the total 63, they bet me Under and I went to 61, which is where we are now.

Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, a member of the Sports Betting Hall of Fame, and has been a Nevada bookmaker for over 40 years.

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