Sports gambling industry journalist David Purdum joined us this week to talk the huge line on the South Carolina-Coastal Carolina game and his plan for helping the College Football Playoff selection committee pick the final four starting next year.
The State: The Gamecocks are 34.5-point favorites right now. I’m not sure given how much trouble South Carolina is having moving the ball I would take them against anybody with those points but once you get into that range it’s a crap shoot anyway, right?
David Purdum: Definitely. Do they get that last touchdown to go over 35 points? Obviously, 34.5 is right under the five-touchdown win. If it kicks up over that you will see some people maybe take a shot on Coastal Carolina. I can’t see this game generating much action at all though.
The State: You talked to me about something you were working on last week as a potential differentiating factor for the College Football Playoff selection committee, which will begin work next season.
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David Purdum: They are never going to come out and say that’s what they are going to use, but if you look at a team’s performance against the spread, and the spread is basically an indication of what people expect, so if somebody is continuing to exceed those expectations, it shows, ‘Hey this team is more deserving of going to the national championship game than maybe a team that has some unimpressive wins.’
The State: What about using Las Vegas’ power rankings?
David Purdum: So many of them now are using consulting services or they will just grab whatever the market does and grab it. There are only two or three sports books that still generate their own odds in house. One of the offshore books is known for kind of setting the betting market, so there are not as many power ratings as there used to be. I don’t think you can use power ratings anyway because if you look at the lines that are out there now on the potential BCS championship games. Alabama is a five-point favorite over Florida State. The one that’s going to be the most important is Alabama or Florida State slips ups is Baylor vs. Ohio State. You will hear people argue, ‘Baylor would be favored in that game so they should go.’ I don’t think that’s really the best gauge for that because the power ratings are based more heavily on talent than they are on results. Alabama could lose two games and still be a favorite over Baylor. Does that mean they should go over Baylor even with two losses? Of course not. That’s why I say point spreads. I can tell you this stat that is pretty glaring. The 15 national champions in the BCS era, they went a combined 123-63 against the spread the year they won the national championship.