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Archived: College Football Opening Odds & Sharp Money


Dec 18, 2020 EST


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College football odds for Week 16 are up and drawing dollars, with conference championship games dotting the schedule. Clemson gets a shot at revenge against Notre Dame in the ACC title tilt, while COVID issues forced Washington out of, and Oregon into, the Pac-12 finale against USC.

Multiple oddsmakers provided insights on college football Week 16 opening lines, early line movement, sharp money and public betting for this week’s matchups.

These are the current College football Week 16 odds for the premier games on the schedule.

Matchup Time Spread Over/Under
UAB at (21) Marshall 7 p.m ET Friday Marshall -5.5 42.5
Ball State vs Buffalo 7:30 p.m. ET Friday Buffalo -14 67.5
(23) Oregon at (13) USC 8 p.m. ET Friday USC -3.5 63.5
(14) Northwestern vs (4) Ohio State Noon ET Saturday Ohio State -21 57.5
(10) Oklahoma vs (6) Iowa State Noon ET Saturday Iowa State +5.5 57.5
(19) Louisiana at (12) Coastal Carolina CANCELED Coastal Carolina -3 54.5
(3) Clemson vs (2) Notre Dame 4 p.m. ET Saturday Notre Dame +10.5 60.5
(23) Tulsa at (9) Cincinnati 8 p.m. ET Saturday Cincinnati -14 45.5
(1) Alabama vs (7) Florida 8 p.m. ET Saturday Florida +17 74.5
Boise State vs (24) San Jose State 4:15 p.m. ET Saturday San Jose State +6.5 54.5

Opening line

Marshall -5.5, Over/Under 41.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: DraftKings moved from Marshall -5.5 to -5 and back by Tuesday morning, and that’s where the number is now, with 85 percent of bets and 70 percent of money on the Thundering Herd. The total has ping-ponged between 42.5 and 42 countless times already, though 90 percent of bets and 68 percent of dollars are on the Over.

FanDuel opened the Thundering Herd 5.5-point home favorites in the Conference USA championship game, and the number is still Marshall -5.5 Monday night. Marshall is taking 86 percent of early tickets and 74 percent of early money. The total bounced from 41.5 to 42.5 and back to 41.5.

Opening line

Buffalo -11.5, Over/Under 66.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: The Bulls are up to -14 from a -12.5 opener at DraftKings, where Buffalo is landing nearly 90 percent of tickets and money. The total is up a point to 67.5, with 90 percent of bets/87 percent of money on the Over.

Buffalo is already up two points Monday night at Fanduel, sitting at -13.5 for the Mid-American Conference title game at Detroit’s Ford Field. The Bulls are drawing 86 percent of tickets and 97 percent of money. The total is steady at 66.5, though practically all the tickets and dollars through Monday night are on the Over.

Opening line

Southern Cal -3.5, Over/Under 62.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 1 P.M. ET THURSDAY: The Trojans opened -3.5 at PointsBet USA on Monday afternoon, and the line has been stable at -3 since Tuesday afternoon, with 68 percent of tickets on USC and 53 percent of money on Oregon. The total upped from 62 to 64. “Overwhelming early action on the Over in this one, with nearly 90 percent of the tickets and handle,” PointsBet’s Patrick Eichner said.

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: Southern Cal is a fairly stable 3.5-point chalk at DraftKings, save for a few minutes Tuesday morning at -4. The Trojans are taking 92 percent of tickets, but just 63 percent of money on the spread. The total initially dipped from 62.5 to 61.5 at DK, but it’s now up to 63.5, though the betting splits aren’t yet available.

Oregon is a substitute invitee to Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game, after Washington had to withdraw Monday due to COVID issues within the program. Host USC opened -3.5 and remains there late Monday evening on some interesting early betting splits: 78 percent of tickets are on the Trojans, while 79 percent of money is on the Ducks.

The total is down a point to 61.5, though the early splits don’t reflect that, with 87 percent of tickets and pretty much every dollar on the Over.

Opening line

Ohio State -20.5, Over/Under 58.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 1 P.M. ET THURSDAY: The line opened Buckeyes -20.5 and is currently -20.5 at PointsBet USA, with visits to -19.5 on the low end and 21 on the high end. “Most of the early action is coming in on the Buckeyes, with 80 percent of the spread tickets and handle,” PointsBet’s Patrick Eichner said. “It will be interesting to see which side of the key number 21 this spread closes at.” The total dipped from 59.5 to 56.5 to 57. “Good two-way action on the toal, with 64 percent of tickets on the Over, but 71 percent of handle on the Under.”

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: The Buckeyes bounced from -20.5 to -21.5 and back at DraftKings, then settled in at 21 Tuesday, with Ohio State taking 70 percent of bets and 75 percent of cash on the spread. The total is down a couple of points to 57.5 at DK, with 81 percent of bets and 58 percent of money on the Over.

FanDuel posted the Big Ten title game on Thursday, and it’s bounced around a bit since then. Ohio State first moved to -21.5, then dipped to -19.5, and on Monday night, this line is back to the opener of -20.5. The Buckeyes are attracting 78 percent of early tickets and 89 percent of early dollars on the spread.

The total first ticked up to 59.5, then dialed down to 57.5, though tickets are 3/1 and money 2/1 on the Over for this neutral-site game at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.

Opening line

Iowa State +4.5, Over/Under 59.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 1:30 P.M. ET THURSDAY: The Sooners jumped from -5 to -6.5, then reverted to -5.5 at PointsBet USA, where Iowa State is attracting 54 percent of tickets and 71 percent of money on the spread. The total opened 58.5 and is now 58, though bettors are on the Over, to the tune of 85 percent of tickets and money.

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: DraftKings opened the Sooners -5.5, dropped to 4.5 and is now back to the opener, with Oklahoma attracting 56 percent of bets/64 percent of money on the spread. The total opened 58.5 at DK and is now 57.5, though the Over is getting 92 percent of tickets/78 percent of cash.

Oklahoma gets a shot at revenge in the Big 12 title game, having lost at Iowa State 37-30 on Oct. 3. FanDuel opened the Sooners -4.5 for the rematch, taking place Saturday at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. The line jumped to -6.5, then receded to -5.5, and as of Monday night, 53 percent of tickets are on Iowa State and 60 percent of money is on Oklahoma.

The total initially dipped two points to 57.5, and it’s at 58.5 Monday night, with 88 percent of tickets/96 percent of cash on the Over.

Opening line

Coastal Carolina -3.5, Over/Under 53.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: Coastal dipped from -3.5 to -3 this afternoon at DraftKings, where 80 percent of tickets are on the Chanticleers, but the Ragin’ Cajuns are taking 68 percent of the money thus far. The total jumped around a bit, from 53.5 to 55.5 to 54.5, but tickets and money are both more than 9/1 on the Over.

Coastal Carolina opened -3.5 at FanDuel for the Sun Belt championship game and stuck at that number through Monday night, with the exception of 15 minutes Sunday at -4.5. Tickets and money are running 9/1-plus on the host Chanticleers. The total is up a point to 54.5, with practically all the early tickets and money on the Over.

Opening line

Notre Dame +7.5, Over/Under 61.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 1:30 P.M. ET THURSDAY: The Tigers opened -7 on Dec. 9, got to -9.5 by Friday and are now -10.5 at PointsBet USA, where 65 percent of tickets are on Notre Dame, but 66 percent of money is on Clemson. “Another game with great two-way action,” PointsBet’s Patrick Eichner said. “It will be interesting to see if Notre Dame moves onto the key number 10 or if the number pushes out further than -10.5.” The total from 61.5 to 59.5, with 71 percent of tickets on the Over and 53 percent of money on the Under.

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: Clemson opened -7.5 at DraftKings and is up to -10.5, but Notre Dame is drawing 65 percent of spread bets and 58 percent of spread money. The total is nailed to 60.5 so far, despite tickets and money running more than 5/1 on the Over.

On Nov. 7, Notre Dame beat visiting Clemson 47-40 in overtime, but the Tigers didn’t have star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, due to COVID. Lawrence is good to go for a neutral-site game in Charlotte, N.C., and Clemson rose up to -10.5 from a -7.5 opener at FanDuel and is currently -9.5. However, the Fighting Irish are attracting 69 percent of spread bets and 59 percent of spread money through Monday night.

The total fell from 61.5 to 60.5, though the Over is taking 85 percent of tickets and 78 percent of money.

Opening line

Cincinnati -14.5, Over/Under 46.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: Cincinnati moved from -13.5 to -14.5 to -14 at DraftKings, with tickets 3/1 and money more than 4/1 on the Bearcats. The total is down two points to 45.5 on quite diverse betting splits: 89 percent of tickets are on the Over, but 73 percent of money is on the Under.

Host Cincinnati opened -14.5 in the American Athletic Conference title game, initially fell to -13.5, rose to -15.5 and is back at the opener of -14.5 Monday night at FanDuel. It’s two-way action with a lean toward the Bearcats, who are landing 55 percent of tickets and 53 percent of cash through Monday night.

The total went from 46.5 to 47.5 and back to 46.5, though the ticket count is beyond 6/1 and money 5/1 on the Over.

Opening line

Alabama -13.5, Over/Under 71.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 1:30 P.M. ET THURSDAY: PointsBet USA opened the Crimson Tide -14, bottomed out late last week at -13.5 and has since risen to -17, with tickets and money running 4/1 on Alabama. The total opened at 72, peaked at 75 and is now 74.5, with tickets 2/1 and money approaching 4/1 on the Over.

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: Alabama initially dropped from -14.5 to -13.5 at DraftKings, then shot to -18 by late Tuesday morning before receding to -17. The Crimson Tide are taking 84 percent of spread tickets and 95 percent of spread money. The total moved from 73.5 to 72.5 to 74.5, with 69 percent of tickets/88 percent of cash on the Over.

A lot of the air went out of the balloon for the SEC championship game when Florida, a 23-point home chalk against LSU last weekend, lost outright 37-34. But the Gators can certainly give the College Football Playoff committee a headache with an upset of Alabama in Saturday’s contest in Atlanta.

The Crimson Tide initially ticked up to -14 at FanDuel, dipped to -12.5, then rocketed up to -17.5, where the line is Monday night. However, FanDuel doesn’t yet have betting splits available. The hefty total opened at 71.5, got to 74.5 and is 73.5 late Monday night.

Opening line

San Jose State +7.5, Over/Under 54.5

Why the line moved

UPDATE 5:30 P.M. ET WEDNESDAY: This line is pinned to Boise State -6.5 at DraftKings, where 54 percent of bets/76 percent of dollars are on the Broncos.

San Jose State is the home team for the Mountain West Conference championship game, but the game will be at a neutral site, because local COVID regulations won’t allow the game to be played in San Jose, Calif. Rather, the game will be at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

Boise State is down a point to -6.5 at FanDuel, where through Monday night, San Jose State is drawing 51 percent of bets and 57 percent of dollar on the spread. The total is stable at 54.5 on what must be light early action, as practically all the tickets and dollars are on the Over.

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