Josh Kendall

What Vegas Thinks: Tennessee, Clemson remain heavy favorites vs. South Carolina

South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott
South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott gmelendez@thestate.com

David Purdum of ESPN Chalk joins us this week to talk about the opinion on South Carolina in the betting markets, the line of the season-ending Clemson game and the possibility that sports gambling could be legalized across the United States.

The Gamecocks played pretty well as big underdogs last week against Texas A&M and covered that spread, but they’re big underdogs again this week. Las Vegas and the betting public weren’t impressed, were they?

Tennessee opened as a 16-point favorite at the Wynn. It’s up to 17 now, so it was a little uptick on Tennessee. I think this has as much to do with being impressed with Tennessee lately as it is about South Carolina’s struggles. Seventeen points is a lot.

Speaking of a lot of points, the spread for South Carolina’s end-of-year rivalry game against Clemson keeps moving. What is that now?

It’s up to 18.5 with Clemson as the favorite. That’s got to be one of the biggest in a long time in that series.

Alabama-LSU is the marquee game this week. Have we seen much movement on that line?

It’s kind of gone up and down. Usually you might see one side or the other, but we’ve had a play on Alabama that moved it up from six all the way to seven. It has kicked back down to 6.5 now, so there is good two-way action on that game. I’m sure that will be the most heavily bet game of the weekend.

You just made a trip to New York to talk to people about the possibility that sports gambling will be legalized across America. What are the chances of that?

They are increasing rapidly each day. I couldn’t say that even two years ago, but Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, has come out and supported legalizing sports betting. That was a huge step. I got to speak to Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general. He still thinks that if we legalize sports betting and regulate it, it is going to increase the amount of sports betting overall, which would increase the incentive to fix games. I don’t necessarily agree with that because a regulated market would seemingly be more difficult to compromise a game for wagering purposes, rather than an unregulated market like we have.

What is the soonest something like that could actually happen?

We would need to repeal a federal law, PASPA, which has been in place since 1992. It would not be a short-term process. We are talking years, but there is a New Jersey case right now, too, that is in an appeals process. New Jersey is fighting for legalized sports betting, and if they were to pull off an upset, we could see things change rapidly.

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