USC will likely be an underdog to Iowa in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 in San Diego.
Circa Sports in Las Vegas opened the game at pick-’em. Respected money hit the Hawkeyes. The line settled at Iowa -2.5 Sunday night at respected offshore sites. It’s believed sharps would bet the Trojans if 3 comes into play. That’s a key number in football betting because so many final margins land exactly on 3. It would take a four-point win by Iowa to defeat any USC bets plus the field goal.
Of course, as is the case in any bowl, we could see big line moves between now and Christmas week if news comes out about suspensions, injuries or players choosing to skip the game. Postseason betting in college football often sees a flurry of activity as soon as openers are posted — followed by days of dormancy and then more action closer to game day.
Initial betting notes for other Pac-12 teams appearing in upcoming bowl games:
— Washington opened -4 over Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21. First money hit the underdog. Washington was down to -3 with additional vigorish at offshore books by Sunday night. Huskies coach Chris Petersen has formally stepped down, citing anxiety and fatigue.
— Washington State opened at 1.5 vs. Air Force in the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 27 in Phoenix. The favored Falcons were bet up to -3 in short order.
— California continued a clear “fade the Pac-12” trend, with an opening line of -7 falling to -6 in the Redbox Bowl vs. Illinois on Dec. 30 in Santa Clara, Calif.
— Arizona State stopped that trend in its tracks with a surge of support at the earliest opener of -2.5 and a subsequent stop at -4 over Florida State in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas. Offshore sites were showing the Sun Devils at -6 on Sunday evening.
— Pac-12 runner-up Utah will play Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 31 in San Antonio. Circa Sports overshot the market with an initial posting of Utah -9.5. The line was bet below a touchdown, with Utes -6.5 available globally Sunday evening.
— Pac-12 champion Oregon earned a trip to the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif. An opener of Wisconsin -3.5 fell through the key number of 3 down to -2.5. That’s important because it held after the move. Sharps clearly like Oregon at 3 or better pending developments through the end of the year.
Generally speaking, early bettors weren’t enthusiastic about the Pac-12, except for ASU and Oregon.
Utah’s loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 title tilt denied the league a bid to the College Football Playoff, whose semifinals are set Dec. 28. There, LSU opened at -11.5 before getting pounded to -13 over Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, and Clemson opened -1.5 before being bet to -2 against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
VSiN will keep you apprised of market developments in marquee postseason attractions throughout the month.
— Fresh off a 45-10 rout of Jacksonville, the Chargers opened as 3-point home underdogs in Sunday’s matchup with Minnesota. It’s a huge game for the Vikings, which will likely encourage public betting support on the favorite. Sharps may take the hook ( 3.5) if it becomes available. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers plays a lot of close games.
The Rams will probably close as short underdogs at disintegrating Dallas, which will have home field and three extra days of rest and preparation after a Thursday loss at Chicago. But the Cowboys’ collapse is getting so bad that sharp and square money could ride the Rams to favorite status in Big D.