Sports betting industry journalist David Purdum is back with us for another season of What Vegas Thinks, and we jump right in today to talk about the Gamecocks’ 2013 win projections, Jadeveon Clowney, a very interesting statistic on North Carolina as the underdog (which it will be Thursday night in Williams-Brice Stadium) and an opportunity Purdum sees on the board.
Kendall: From a season-long standpoint, what does South Carolina’s over/under for season wins look like right now?
Purdum: They opened up the Gamecocks at 9.5 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino Superbook. That’s one of the bigger sportsbooks in Vegas. It has held steady pretty much. That indicates some balanced action. There were a couple of initial bets on under-9.5 wins that adjusted the juice but pretty even action on the Gamecocks right now
Kendall: Before we move on to the line on the South Carolina-North Carolina game, the prop bet that caught my eye was Jadeveon Clowney with 18.5 sacks as an over/under at Bovada. Your thoughts?
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Purdum: They are not going to take any real big bets on those kind of props. I think I saw the limit was maybe $50. It’s more just a publicity thing, but I would assume the action has been on the under because 18.5 sacks is a ridiculous amount.
Kendall: Has Clowney moved much in terms of his odds to win the Heisman?
Purdum: He’s now at like 8-to-1 or 7-to-1, which is right behind Braxton Miller. For a defensive player, that’s pretty remarkable.
Kendall: It’s almost game time, so let’s start talking a little South Carolina-North Carolina action. What’s the line and how much has it moved?
Purdum: It’s at 11 or 11.5. A couple books in Vegas have it at 11.5. I have seen it as high as 12, but it has settled right around that 11 numbers. They are 18-1 straight up in their last 19 games as double-digit favorite so it seems like a pretty good signal they can avoid the upset there.
Kendall: Yes, but you sent me a note that North Carolina has won both of the last two games in which they have been double-digit underdogs.
Purdum: Yeah, that was kind of interesting when I looked at that. In 2010 and 2009, they were double-digit dogs against Florida State and Virginia Tech and won both of those games outright. They haven’t been a double-digit dog since. That was before (head coach Larry) Fedora got there so I don’t know how relevant it is, but it’s an interesting little nugget.
Kendall: Since we’re all getting fired up for the 2013 season, are there any lines out there nationally that interest you or should interest us?
Purdum: That Clemson-Georgia game the first week is a dandy. Clemson is the favorite right there, but Georgia is returning all of those offensive weapons. I know Clemson does, too. I saw them at the Chick-fil-A Bowl beat LSU, but I am very interested in Georgia in that game.
Kendall: Are you surprised given the SEC-ACC argument that Clemson is a favorite in that game?
Purdum: Absolutely. I think that shows that there are a lot of expectations around the ACC. Florida State, their win total is like 10.5 with a freshman quarterback. Those two teams, Clemson and Florida State, seem to be receiving a lot of early hype.