South Carolina opened the week as the favorite in Saturday’s game against Arkansas, but that didn’t last long. We talked with ESPN.com sports gaming writer David Purdum about how the Razorbacks took over the favorite’s position and about who is betting games like this.
What’s the history of this line this week?
When it first popped up at the Wynn, South Carolina was a 1-point favorite. Now, Arkansas is a 2-point favorite at most sports books so there was some early action on this and it was all on Arkansas and it was influential money to move the Razorbacks to the favorite.
Who is betting games like this that aren’t high on the radar, just fans of the teams or the pros?
I would say it’s more professionals than Carolina and Arkansas fans. The professionals often kind of look for the games that are off the radar. They don’t focus only on the marquee game of the week. They will look for these opportunities, games that are getting less attention from the mainstream public. It does seem with that early line movement that this is one game that did attract some sharp money so the professionals out there were paying attention when South Carolina opened as a 1-point favorite and they moved the number.
On the national front, Alabama is now the clear Las Vegas favorite to win the national title, right?
Yeah, Alabama is all the way down to 6-to-5 to win the national championship. Those are really tight odds for this point in the season. Clemson is back to 4-to-1. Those two teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. I don’t believe there is any other team at the majority of sports books with odds in the single digits. Alabama, there was a rush of money last week, there was some big bets, a near six-figure bet at this point is pretty big, and it came in on Alabama at the Westgate Super Book, moving those numbers down. Several other books also said that they got some recent Alabama money to move their number way down.
Why would you bet Alabama at those odds?
The book makers will say when a price gets so low like that on Alabama, they will call them “go bet something else” odds. They don’t want anymore money on Alabama. They got all the Alabama money they can handle so they move those odds so low to try to encourage people to bet other things. They need some more money on some other teams. We’re a month into the season. There is a lot that’s going to change in the next two months but right now the books don’t want any more money on Alabama. They’ve had enough.