David Purdum of ESPN Chalk joins us to talk about the shifting line on the South Carolina-LSU game. The Gamecocks were a 13-point underdog before the game’s location was moved.
Question: When it was announced Wednesday that South Carolina vs. LSU would be played in Baton Rouge, La., instead of Columbia, S.C., sports books pulled the line off the board. Is that typical in a situation like this, just to give them time to react?
Answer: It’s a tough situation for them, and now they are going to end up having to refund any of the bets that were made before the change in venue. That’s a pretty standard house rule. From house to house it can vary. They will open a new line and start a new pool. I see a couple of offshore spots have 17. That doesn’t seem like enough to me personally because if you’re taking a 3-point home field advantage away from South Carolina and giving it to LSU, the line was I think 13 before it went down, so it seems like it would be more 19 or 20, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see 19, 20, maybe even a little higher as books start to replace it.
Q: Aren’t we all just guessing what’s going to happen in a situation that has few precedents?
A: That’s always a quandary when you’re handicapping a game like this. You don’t know how many of the kids are affected, how they will react from changing home games and now having to go to a place most people think is one of the toughest to play in the SEC, if not the nation. The books are trying to gauge that. They are going to stick to what their power rankings show, readjust for the new site, add some home field advantage for LSU and then they will see how the market reacts.
Q: The biggest games in the SEC this week probably are Georgia vs. Tennessee and Arkansas vs. Alabama, right?
A: Alabama is a 16.5-point favorite over Arkansas at home. Arkansas is coming off a pretty impressive performance against Tennessee, and of course Alabama putting a beatdown on Georgia. This is a tough one. Is there a letdown after such a big win for Alabama? That’s a tough one for me. Georgia-Tennessee, both teams now trying to bounce back. Georgia is about a 3-point road favorite there. It should be an interesting one as well.
Q: That Georgia-Tennessee game is weird to me because both of those teams have to be really deflated. How does Las Vegas figure that one out?
A: The thing that worries me about Georgia is they seem to have doubt in their head and we continue to see it in these big games. And we talked about Tennessee last week and these completely emotional fourth quarter letdowns to Florida and Oklahoma and now Arkansas beats them in Knoxville. Are they going to be able to turn this around? It’s tough to tell.
Q: So, my “lock of the week” last week was TCU to cover against Texas, which they did big. What’s the line that you would point me to this week that you like?
A: I have not placed any wagers yet. My best bet right now would be to pass unless something jumps out. I know that’s not the juicy pick you are looking for. If you don’t feel you have an edge in the point spread and research you have done is not coming up with an edge that you can quantify, passing is the smart play.