The opener against USC-Oregon State prompted a flood of bets on the lowly Beavers this week, with one sportsbook placing more money on the Pac-12 tilt than any other NFL game of the week.
Caesars Sportsbook has USC opening Sunday as a 13.5-point favorite at Oregon State. Minutes later, oddsmakers at Circa Sports have the Trojans as 5-point favorites. Bettors made up the difference, with the line dropping significantly at Caesars and appearing modestly at other sportsbooks before settling on USC’s -6 consensus number Sunday night.
“We had a great opinion [USC]”So we put a number on Oregon State to attract money,” said Joey Feasel, chief college football trader at Caesars Sportsbook. And it worked.”
Action from influential contenders immediately entered Beaver on Caesar, and Fezel moved down the line aggressively. Line archives from oddsmaker Don’s Best Sports show Caesars went from USC -13.5 to -9 in 30 minutes and dropped to -7 less than two hours after posting his opening numbers.
On Thursday, Caesars reported that 88.2% of the money on the USC-Oregon State point spread is on the lowly Beavers, including a $110,000 bet placed on Oregon State +7 Tuesday at Nevada.
Meanwhile, sportsbooks that opened USC as a touch less favorite were reporting a lopsided performance against the Trojans. At DraftKings, 79% of money bets on the game spread were on USC, and at the Superbook at Westgate Las Vegas, there were seven bets on the Trojans for every one on the Beavers.
“I’m sure we’ll be looking for Beavers,” said John Murray, executive director of SuperBook. “The Trojans are a crowd favorite again.”
By midweek, more money had been wagered on the USC-Oregon State spread than any other Week 3 NFL game. Typically, the betting handle on an NFL game makes the betting volume on a college football game less than that of USC-Oregon State, both teams are undefeated and the Trojans are ranked 7th.
Feasel said he went over the opening lines from his teammates on Sunday and came away with the consensus that USC should be a double-digit favorite. He didn’t think it would make much of a difference if he had the chance to do it, but he admitted that he risked opening up numbers that moved a lot.
Some professional wrestlers regularly play both sides of the game to minimize risk and hope for a margin of victory where both attackers win. For example, a contender could have taken Oregon State +13.5 at Caesars and USC -5 at Circa. If the Trojans win by more than six but less than 14, the bettor wins both bets. When the difference in point spreads offered by sportsbooks is large enough, the teams don’t matter. Expert bettors play a variety of numbers, especially if they include more common winning margins like threes and sevens.
“You definitely don’t want to lose either way,” Feazel said. “You’re trying to get to the right number, but at some point, you have to take that risk and understand that there may be a middle ground.”