It is an honor to fill in for my friend, Chris Andrews, and take the reins on his column for one day. Chris couldn't make it today but will be back tomorrow for the NFL rundown. I often tell people that I work for WGN. No, not the TV Network, rather "Whatever the Gaughans Need."
As Chrissy always says, we present the games in official Nevada rotation order. Thank you for allowing me to fill in on Week 8 in college football.
No. 17 Kansas State at No. 8 TCU (-3, 54)
I think some people might be surprised by this game. Both teams are 3-0 in conference play and this is for first place in the Big 12. We opened TCU -3.5 and the total 55. Initial money came in on the dog and the Under, so we're at 3 and 54. They took Kansas State on the money line, too, and I'm down from + 170 to + 160.
Marshall at James Madison (-12, 51)
Of course, James Madison was undefeated prior to last week's loss, but this team and this SunBelt Conference are starting to become more and more popular with bettors. We opened James Madison as two-touchdown favorites at -14. They took 14, they took 13.5, they took 13, and now we're at 12. It's been all Marshall to this point and all sharp play. They took + 350 on the money line, too. I expect we'll get some James Madison money, but it may not come until game day. No movement on the total.
No. 14 Syracuse at No. 5 Clemson (-13.5, 50)
Great two-way game so far. I love this game for this reason, especially with Syracuse being undefeated. I remember Dino Babers commenting five or six years ago as far as the oddsmakers making them such big underdogs, "It's not their fault, it's not their fault." But this game is getting two-way action on both the 13.5 and the total of 50. They did take a shot with Syracuse on the money line at + 400 and now we're down to + 350. That was a more sophisticated play, but the side has really been a mix of wise guys and recreational play both ways.
Washington (-7.5, 56.5) at Cal
This is another game that has not moved off of the opening number and we are getting two-way play, but not too much action yet. You have to remember, this is the late game, a 7:30 pm Pacific Time start, so we will have plenty of business before they kick off on Saturday night. We did take a bet with Cal on the money line at + 250 and we moved Washington 20-cents, from -300 to -280. No movement on the total off of the opener of 56.5.
No. 9 UCLA at No. 10 Oregon (-6.5, 71)
From a business standpoint, I wish this was the late game and not Washington at Cal. If it was, it would be our biggest bet game of the day, but it will still be one of the biggest where it is in the middle of the day. Both teams are 3-0 in conference and the winner takes control of the Pac-12. This game has already had a lot of action. We opened Oregon -6 and it was going back and forth all week. Wise guys were taking 6 and they were laying 5.5. Just about an hour before I began drafting this, we went to 6.5 on Oregon and that was really just an accumulation of volume, not necessarily a sharp move. The total has been all over the place. We opened 69 and they laid it all the way to 72 before we started getting Under money and now we're at 71.
No. 20 Texas (-6, 60.5) at No. 11 Oklahoma State
I think some people might be a little curious: how is Texas a 6-point favorite at Oklahoma State? Good two-way action on the game but so far it has not moved. We opened Texas -6, that's where it sits. Money line opened -240, that is where it sits. There's been more money on the Under though. We opened 62, it's down to 60.5 and that is more seasoned than recreational play.
No. 24 Mississippi State at No. 6 Alabama (-21, 61)
We opened Alabama as a three-touchdown favorite and 61, looking to rebound off of last week's loss. Not a lot of action on this one just yet. We'll probably see a lot of play on Alabama in the first half. The public will probably come in on the favorite, looking for Alabama to rebound and the professionals will likely wait and see how many points they can get on Mississippi State.
No. 7 Ole Miss at LSU (-2.5, 67.5)
Now here's a game that has moved. Big game in the SEC. LSU has one loss, Mississippi is undefeated. This is all about the Tigers here. They laid pick-’em, they laid 1, they laid 1.5, and 2. This game is all the way up to LSU -2.5 and that is both casual and professional play. Mostly Over money on the total. From 66 all the way to 68.5. We finally found a threshold and got some Under money and we're now at 67.5. The money line on LSU has gone from -125 to -140.
Kansas at Baylor (-9, 58)
There are question marks here. The game has toggled back and forth. They took 9, they laid 8.5, so we're back to 9. Both teams have questions at quarterback, so I think there is some "wait and see." Because of the quarterback injuries, though, the total is down a couple of points to 58. They have laid Baylor on the money line, from -300 up to -340. I suspect we're going to end up needing Kansas in this game.
No. 21 Cincinnati (-3.5, 58.5) at SMU
I think this is another "wait and see" game. They laid 3 and we went to 3.5. They laid -150 on the money line and we're up to a dollar-sixty. Not a lot of faith for SMU even though QB Bet Bryant is doubtful for Cincinnati. As we get closer to game time, we may see some sharp action take the 3.5 or 4 if they can get it, especially if the quarterback is confirmed out for Cincinnati. The total has been bet down from 59.5 to 58.5.
Purdue at Wisconsin (-1.5, 51)
Now what's wrong with this picture? Purdue is 3-1 and Wisconsin is 1-3. It looks kind of strange, doesn't it? Good two-way action and Wisconsin is holding steady as a 1.5-point favorite, but more action on the total in this game. We opened 52 and they bet it Under down to 50 and now back Over to 51.
Boise State at Air Force (-2.5, 47.5)
Good game in the Mountain West and Boise is getting the betting support. We opened Air Force as a 3.5-point favorite. They took 3.5, they took 3, and we're now at 2.5. It's been all about Boise State and it's all professional money. I think any time they see Boise State getting points in a conference game it is perceived as value and they took ’em on the money line for a couple of pops, too. The total is holding steady at 47.5.
Minnesota at No. 16 Penn State (-5, 44.5)
I think this is another "wait and see" approach in this one, too, with the Minnesota quarterback situation. We opened the game 4 and there are rumors that Minnesota may have to start a skill position player at quarterback, so we are at Penn State -5 and that is largely based on the injury news. If the quarterback injuries hold true, we'll see this game go through 5 and we'll need Minnesota. We haven't seen any movement on the total. Steady at 44.5.
Vinny Magliulo is the Sportsbook Director for Gaughan Gaming in Las Vegas, a member of the Sports Betting Hall of Fame, and has been a Nevada bookmaker for over 40 years.