Betting public rolling with Crimson Tide, Buckeyes

College football is in full swing this week, but sports betting action has been piling up for months.

SuperBook executive director John Murray said after two seasons hampered by COVID-19, college football betting on its books has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“Public action is back,” Murray told ESPN.

By mid-August, Caesars Sportsbook had placed seven national championship bets on long-shot teams that would pay out $1 million:

  • $2,000 placed on Central Florida at 500-1 in late February by a bettor in Louisiana.

  • $1,000 placed on Utah State at 1,000-1 in mid-April by a New Jersey bettor.

  • $1,000 placed on Utah State at 1,000-1 in mid-April by a New Jersey bettor.

  • $1,000 placed on Utah State at 1,000-1 in mid-April by a bettor in Illinois.

  • Placed $100 on UMass at odds of 10,000-1 in New York.

  • Placed $100 on UMass at odds of 10,000-1 in New York

  • $100 on UConn at odds of 10,000-1.

The biggest bets Caesars has made are on Alabama and Ohio State, the two consensus favorites. The sportsbook reported that it had taken a $100,000 bet on Alabama 2-1 and a $50,000 bet on Ohio State 3-1.

Here’s a quick look at how the college football betting market has performed this offseason:

The favourites

National Championship

Alabama is the consensus favorite to win the college football playoffs at odds of just +150, closely followed by Ohio State (+300) and Georgia (+425). Those are the only three teams with single-digit odds.

Alabama and Ohio State account for almost 64% of the money wagered on BetMGM’s odds to win the national championship and have each attracted almost six times the money of any other team.

The SuperBook has published a prop on whether the national championship game between Alabama and Ohio State will go ahead. The “yes” is +340 and the “no” is -410.

At FanDuel, USC has received more bets to win the national championship than any other team.

Heisman Trophy

Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud is the consensus favorite to win the Heisman at +200, followed by Alabama quarterback Bryce Young at +430. USC quarterback Caleb Williams is next at +700.

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. has attracted more wagers — and more money — to win the Heisman than any other player at some sports bookmakers. Anderson is +2,200 at Caesars Sportsbook.


Here are the favorites that win each conference:
Supported communication: Cincinnati Bearcats (+160)
ACC: Klemson (-120)
Big Ten: State of Ohio (-250)
Big 12: Oklahoma (+190)
KUSA: UAB (+140)
MAC: Toledo (+300)
mountain west: State of Boise (+220) and State of Fresno (+220)
PAC-12: Utah (+180)
SEC: Alabama (-150)
sunbelt: Appalachia State (+220)

*Odds via SuperBook

Trainer: Kansas State Coach Chris Klieman has the best record against the spread as a favorite among coaches with at least three years of experience. The teams coached by Klieman are 10-4-1 ATS as favorites. Kent State Coach Sean Lewis (10-5 ATS) and Tulane Coach Willie Fritz (35-19 ATS) also exceeded the betting market’s expectations when favored.

On the other hand, Cal trainer Justin Wilcox is the favorite with 7-14-1 ATS. Arizona State Coach Herm Edwards (9-16 ATS) and UTEP Coach Dana Dimel (15-26 ATS) also struggled to meet betting market expectations when favored.


  • Underdogs covered the span in 49.3% of games last season. Underdogs had covered the spread in more games than favorites in three of the previous four seasons.

  • UMass opened 10,000-1 to win the national championship and represents Caesars Sportsbook’s largest liability. Liability for the Minutemen includes two $100 national title bets from customers in New York. UMass, which is now 5,000-1, is 2-26 over the past three seasons.

  • Trainer: Wilcox has struggled as a favorite but was great in the underdog role. Cal has reached 23-9 ATS as an underdog under Wilcox. Florida coach Billy Napier is 12-5 ATS as an underdog, and Arizona State’s Herm Edwards is 12-6 ATS as an underdog.

  • Coaches who have struggled to live up to betting market expectations as underdogs include: Tennessee coach Jose Heupel (2-7 ATS), Georgia Southern coach Clay Helton (5-13 ATS) and Western Michigan coach Tim Lester (5-10-1 shilling).

Opportunities & End

• SuperBook Executive Director John Murray reported that last week he was taking bets on the season’s wins under 11.5 wins for Alabama and over 9.5 wins for Michigan from a customer I really respect.

• Utah’s wins of the season have attracted more action than any other team at PointsBet, where the Utes account for 98% of the bets and 97% of the winnings to win more than 8.5 games. Since opening in May, the price of the Utah Over has gone from straight money to -160.

Week 1 point spreads that moved the most at South Point Casino in Las Vegas:

TCU at the Colorado Buffaloes: The Horned Frogs are up from -7.5 to -11
Notre Dame in the state of Ohio: The Buckeyes are up from -14 to -17
Army on the Carolina Coast The Chanticleers are up from -5.5 to -2.5
Miami (Ohio) near Kentucky: The Wildcats are up from -20.5 to -17.5

  • The average spread margin — the difference between the winning margin and the closing line — in college football is 8.2 points over the past five seasons.

  • The most common margin of victory in college football is three: 9.3% of games over the past five seasons ended with a margin of three. Seven is the second most common win rate, followed by 10 and 21.

  • Games featuring at least one FBS team have averaged 56.3 points over the past five seasons. Last season, games averaged 55.2 points, the lowest in the last five seasons.

  • 52.3% of last season’s games remained under the total, the highest percentage of unders since 2017.

Coaches who cover and those who don’t (at least three seasons)

In total

Liberty’s Hugh Freeze 72-41-1 ATS
Kansas State Chris Klieman 22-13-1 ATS
Minnesota PJ Fleck 64-43-3 ATS


Tim Lester of Western Michigan 23-32-2 ATS
Dana Dimel from UTEP 47-65-0 ATS
Maryland’s Mike Locksley 28-37-0

home games


Sean Lewis of Kent State with 12:5 ATS
Liberty’s Hugh Freeze 39-19-1 ATS
Colorado’s Karl Dorrell 26-13-1 ATS


Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins 9-21 ATS
Ball State’s Mike Neu 11-21 ATS
UTEP’s Dana Dimel 20-33 ATS

street games


Ohio State’s Ryan Day 8-3-1 ATS
Tulsa’s Philip Montgomery 29-11-1 ATS
Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi 25-11-1ATS


USC’s Lincoln Riley 7-13-2 ATS
Maryland’s Mike Locksley 11-19 ATS
Texas’ Steve Sarkisian 15-24 ATS
Tim Lester of Western Michigan 10-16-1 ATS

conference games


Ryan Day 16-9-1 Ohio State ATS
Brent Brennan of San Jose State 23-13-3 ATS
Ken Niumatalolo of the Navy 43-24-2 ATS
Jay Norvell of Colorado State 24-14-2 ATS


Tim Lester of Western Michigan 14-23-1 ATS
Maryland’s Mike Locksley 18-28 ATS
UTEP’s Dana Dimel 29-44 ATS

Games outside of the conference


Northern Illinois’ Thomas Hammock 6-2-1 ATS
Minnesota’s PJ Fleck 24-9-1 ATS
Michigan State’s Mel Tucker with a 5-2 ATS


Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins 4-13 ATS
Georgia Southerns Clay Helton 6-13 ATS
Brett Brennan of San Jose State 6-11-1 ATS

Games in August/September


Liberty’s Hugh Freeze 25-10-1 ATS
Northern Illinois’ Thomas Hammock 5-2-1 ATS
Tulane’s Willie Fritz 22-11 ATS
West Virginia’s Neal Brown 16-8-3 ATS


Georgia Southerns Clay Helton 6-15 ATS
Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins 7-13 ATS
Indiana’s Tom Allen 6-11 ATS

After a defeat


Colorado State’s Jay Norvell 16-8-2 ATS
Florida’s Billy Napier 8-4 ATS
Jim McElwain of Central Michigan 27-14 ATS


Indiana’s Tom Allen 8-21-1
Ryan Day 1-2-1 from Ohio State ATS
Kentucky’s Mark Stoops 18-33-2 ATS


Highest Over Percentage

Chip Kelly from UCLA (60%)
West Kentucky’s Tyson Helton (59%)
Ryan Day in Ohio (58.8%)

Highest subpercentage

Cal’s Justin Wilcox (64.8%)
Terry Bowden of Louisiana-Monroe (63.3%)
Florida’s Billy Napier (61.5%)

*ESPN Stats and Information researchers Darayus Sanjana and Zack Rosenberg contributed to this article. Betting public rolling with Crimson Tide, Buckeyes

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