Its that time again, time to figure out what Las Vegas is thinking about the Gamecocks and the rest of the SEC this weekend. This week, analyst David Purdum tells us, book makers in Nevada are betting big on South Carolina, will be closely monitoring Connor Shaws shoulder and think Tennessee is a hot team.
If youre looking for long-term trends, how about Ohio State (formerly Florida, formerly Utah, formerly Bowling Green) coach Urban Meyer, who is No. 1 in the country at covering the spread. Follow David on Twitter (@DavidPurdum) for up-to-the-minute information.
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Q&A with David Purdum
Its another big line this week. UAB comes in and not many people think much of them. South Carolina is a 33.5, 34-point favorite depending on where you look.
Its awfully big. This will be the fifth time the Gamecocks have been favored by more than 30 points under Spurrier. Before Spurrier got there they had not been favored by more than 30 since at least 1996. So it is a big line, and something South Carolina fans were not used to seeing before Spurrier got there. Now that he has gotten there, he is actually 0-4 against the spread in those games over 30 points.
What I take away from that statistic is that Las Vegas takes into account the coach and calculates, "Is this a guy who can score some points and doesnt mind scoring a lot of them if he gets the opportunity?" Is that accurate?
Without question. I think that coaches in college specifically are much more factored into the line. Urban Meyer has been a great against the spread guy his whole career. Hes No. 1 against the spread in percentage so they are going to knock up Ohio State a point or two.
For a coach like Meyer, does that record mean he has usually had pretty good teams or that he will just keep scoring points as long as he can?
Those great runs at Utah where nobody really thought much of them, I think he had an 11-1 against the spread mark, and I want to say 2004 when they went to the BCS. Going back to the days at Florida, his teams were great in the non-conference (games). I think he is 18-7 in non-conference games against the spread. Whatever his coaching makeup is, he always gets his teams to exceed the expectations of the betting market.
Speaking specifically of this week, we saw Dylan Thompson play very well against East Carolina, but we still dont know who will quarterback the Gamecocks against UAB. How does Vegas monitor this situation? Theres this mindset I think that Vegas knows stuff we dont know. Is that true? How do they get their information?
The vaunted inside information doesnt exist nearly as much these days with Twitter, with social media. They are probably following (beat writers information). They also sign up for news services that provide them pretty quick updates, and those guys are pretty good at staying tuned in to whatever it is. I dont think there is some guy in the locker room calling over to Vegas, but they do keep very, very good track of things with social media and so forth.
Tell me about the Tennessee-Florida game. Its an intriguing game from an SEC standpoint, but its an intriguing line as well isnt it?
At the Las Vegas Wynn, which is the first Vegas sports book to go up with college football lines (each week), they actually posted Florida as a two-point favorite yesterday about 3 p.m. Vegas time. Within the hour, it was a pick em, and this morning when I woke up, Tennessee was the favorite. There is a lot of respect for the Vols out there. At the Wynn, thats the only book at that time where people can go bet so people will be lined up trying to get those early, early lines, and they will usually bet a four-figure amount. Every time they receive a max bet, a four-figure bet on either side, the line will tend to move a point. In this case, the line moved a full 4.5 points so he probably took at a minimum, four max bets on Tennessee.
Why does the Wynn set their lines so early?
Its a promotional thing. It brings in guys. There are a lot of the Vegas professional bettors, and he has to be at the Wynn to get those opening lines. The offshore guys will follow. The Vegas guys want to be at the Wynn. Its also kind of a tradition.