In this weeks chat with gaming industry journalist David Purdum (@DavidPurdum on Twitter), we talk about the big moves in the South Carolina-LSU line, the changing perception of the Gamecocks and how that affects Las Vegas and how bad Tigers coach Les Miles has been against the spread.
The line for this game has moved around a lot. How much?
You had two opening lines. The offshore sites opened it up at LSU minus-3, which is significantly lower than Vegas, which opened it at minus-6. Now its down to 2.5. We are below a field goal in Baton Rouge, which is pretty remarkable considering at the beginning of the year what people would have thought about this line.
What does that tell us, that theres a lot of money coming in on South Carolina or that the power rankings are about even?
The power rankings are about even after last week, but there is money coming in on South Carolina, no doubt. Going from six down to 2.5, when you cross that really key number of three, that takes what we call significant money or influential money, these are the guys that the books respect, and when they make a play, they move the line on that play.
So that means that South Carolina has impressed some people?
They have impressed everybody, how could they not? What a dominating performance. They are down to 7-to-1 to win the national championship. They are down to the third pick and rightfully so. Still got to play Florida next week. Still got to go to Baton Rouge this week, but the books are impressed.
How well does Las Vegas adjust on the fly for a team like South Carolina who it looks like will be a lot better than people thought at the beginning of the year?
I think its hard. It really is because their numbers are year-to-year power ratings. They dont scratch everything and start fresh. Oklahoma is a good example. They have been power rated so highly for so long that when they take a step back as it kind of appears they did this year, its hard for Vegas to really adjust their numbers and go back. The other side of it, of course is South Carolina, a team that has been a second- or third-tier team there, middle of the pack, its hard for them to say, Gosh, these guys are really good, and bump up their numbers that high. Its just a drastic change that they dont like to make. They like to rely on those numbers, and they are scared to make big bumps.
Does that present an opportunity then for people who want to wager?
Yes, if they are better at gauging how much better South Carolina really is than the Vegas power ratings. They are playing the guessing game with the books, too. South Carolina looks great. Will they look great two weeks in a row?
On the flip side, Georgia looked so bad, do they adjust to that or do they consider that a fluke?
I think its going to be a little bit of both. I will go back to Oklahoma as another example. After Oklahoma loses to Kansas State, they were scared. They opened up Oklahoma as an eight-point favorite over Texas Tech and everybody thought, Wow, thats way too much. Oklahoma is no good this year. But their power rankings (on Oklahoma) are so high. Their power rankings on Georgia are so high.
And one more quick nugget for you: Les Miles is 23-35-4 against the spread in SEC play. He has not had his team playing to meet oddsmakers expectations in SEC play.