ESPN.com gambling writer David Purdum joined us this week to talk about why the South Carolina-Clemson line is off the books right now in Las Vegas and when we can expect to see it. I also asked him how sports books get their injury information.
The State: David, it’s Carolina-Clemson week, the Gamecocks have won five straight. The odds are going in Clemson’s favor this week, but an offshore book was the only one with a line on the game posted early in the week.
David Purdum: It doesn’t look like any of the Las Vegas shops have it up right now. The Wynn had it up Sunday night. They opened it at 4.5, Clemson was a 4.5-point favorite. They took a bet that knocked it down to 3.5. The next morning they took it off the board, and that kind of seems to be where we’re at, 4.5 seems to be the number, which I realize is significantly lower than what we discussed last week, but the Deshaun Watson injury situation and whether he is going to play or not is what is holding everything up right now.
The State: I can understand that after seeing the Tigers play with and without Watson. We’ve all heard these mysterious stories about how Las Vegas has all the insider information on injuries, but I don’t imagine that’s true. How hard are they looking for that information?
David Purdum: They are going to be following @JoshatTheState on Twitter looking for when you find out or one of your guys finds out. That’s how they do it. The ones who know before the sports books are the bettors. A bettor will come up and all of a sudden they will start getting some action on one side and maybe it’s heavy action from sharp guys, and they are like, ‘Wait a second, what’s going on?’ Then they’ll go look and find it. Right now they have been keeping it off the board. They are just sitting there waiting to see what happens. Then they will put up a number and kind of see how people react to it. When they put that up is anyone’s guess. This is a big game, but it’s probably second tier among a lot of big games so it won’t draw the most action but it will attract some bets and they are not going to want to keep it down any longer than they have to.
The State: So we should expect that line to pop up all over the place as soon as there is news about Watson?
David Purdum: The last thing I read was that he was going to practice so if that continues, even if Swinney doesn’t come out and say, ‘He’s going to play,’ I would expect Vegas to go ahead and put up a line and then closely monitor it. Sometimes what they do in that situation is what they call circle it. They will put up a line, but it will have reduced limits. You won’t be able to bet as much as you have in the past just because they are afraid somebody will have the information before they do, and they don’t want to be exposed on that.