South Carolina is a big favorite over Louisiana Tech despite coming off an ugly loss to Kentucky. We talked with ESPN.com sports gaming writer David Purdum about the line on the game, how Las Vegas judges a bad game and what effect the loss of Deebo Samuel will have on the odds for South Carolina games.
How has this line moved this week?
It opened up at 10.5 at the Wynn in Las Vegas on Sunday evening. It got bet up quickly for South Carolina to minus-11, but it’s been crashing ever since. It’s sitting at 8.5 now. That early action that bumped it up to 11 has been overridden by this money coming in later. I’m not sure exactly what is behind that money, but it is influential.
How will Las Vegas factor in the long-term loss of Deebo Samuel?
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Very difficult, but they are going to under-react to injuries like that unless it’s a starting quarterback. They won’t make significant adjustments to the power rankings even as good as Samuel is. He is a big loss and maybe that’s what is influencing the early move toward Louisiana Tech this week. I’m not sure, but in general the books will remain conservative on injuries, especially in college. In the NFL sometimes if a quarterback goes out, if a Tom Brady goes out, you are going to see a 7-point line move, but in college it’s a little bit different.
How do the sports books evaluate South Carolina after such a bad game?
Generally the betting public tends to overreact to one game while the book makers will more be reliant on their season power ratings. Georgia-Mississippi State was another example of that. Mississippi State looked so great blowing out LSU. They were a 7-point home underdog in that game to LSU. A lot of people had LSU and Georgia similarly power ranked. LSU may be a point or two higher, so when the line came out for Mississippi State-Georgia this week, it opened at 4.5 (with Georgia as the favorite). Some places offshore even had it lower.
So if you thought that LSU and Georgia were similarly power-ranked and LSU was a 7-point favorite at Mississippi State, this weekend’s game is at Georgia, so that line being at 4.5 was kind of a head scratcher. It’s since gone up to 6.5. Usually in these scenarios, when a team has a dud, plays their worst game, you will see the bettors overreact and the book makers kind of be more conservative and stick more with their power rankings so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with this line this week.
Obviously they still consider South Carolina a heavy favorite.