South Carolina is coming off a 13-10 victory over Vanderbilt. Mississippi State is coming off a 21-20 loss to South Alabama. Why in the world are the Bulldogs favored over the Gamecocks? And, by almost a touchdown? We asked our weekly guest, David Purdum of ESPNChalk, for some answers.
The State: What did we see from the early line and movement on this game?
Purdum: The Wynn was the first Las Vegas sports book to put up the weekly college football lines. They go up about 3 p.m. Vegas time on Sunday. They put up Mississippi State minus-8.5. That was too many. Bettors came in and pounded it. Now it’s all the way down to 6.5. A two-point move doesn’t sounds so big, but for it to go across seven, that’s significant. I would estimate that’s probably five or six pretty solid, four-figure bets. For it to move that significantly, that’s noticeable.
The State: So the Wynn made Mississippi State the favorite even after the Bulldogs lost to South Alabama? Does that mean they view that game as a fluke or do they think that poorly of South Carolina?
Purdum: I think it’s probably a little bit of both. I think everybody was surprised by South Alabama, a 28.5-point underdog, beating Mississippi State. Another surprising thing was to hang a line that high. South Carolina has dominated this series. They have won seven in a row and covered the spread in six of those seven games. I think going into the season, the sports books had Mississippi State’s power rating a little too high and maybe South Carolina might be a little underrated.
The State: The weekend that just passed was a great weekend for college football fans. How was it for Las Vegas?
Purdum: Excellent. They loved it, made massive money. The Wisconsin-LSU game, Wisconsin as a double-digit underdog winning outright was what one book called the largest single win off a college football game they have ever had. They raked it in. Oklahoma losing to Houston was a big one, and of course the ending of Clemson beating Auburn, Auburn ended up covering the spread, which was good for Vegas. All the breaks went Vegas’ way this weekend. Funny how that works out.
The State: So the fact that Vegas made a ton of money on LSU-Wisconsin means everyone else was suckered in by the Tigers again this year?
Purdum: Absolutely. More money was bet on LSU to win the national championship at the Westgate Super Book than on any other team in the offseason. LSU, we always seem to over-respect them.