What Vegas thinks: USC-Arkansas line, Spurrier vs. Hogs

jkendall@thestate.comNovember 6, 2012 

Steve Spurrier talks golf with Arkansas head coach John L. Smith on Tuesday.

JOSH KENDALL — GoGamecocks

In this week’s conversation with gaming industry journalist David Purdum (@DavidPurdum on Twitter), we talk about Steve Spurrier’s struggles against the spread versus Arkansas, the Razorbacks’ tanking season and how much money Las Vegas makes on all those proposition bets about who’s going to win the national title.

South Carolina is a 14-point favorite over Arkansas. What do you think about that number?

That numbers seems pretty good. I think it opened up at 15.5 and people bet it down to 14. Spurrier has struggled against Arkansas. I think he’s 1-5 against the spread at South Carolina the last six years. With Arkansas’ struggles, it’s hard for anybody to really heartily back them, but they have had success against Spurrier.

We’ve talked some about how Vegas adjusts in season when a team is a lot worse or better than was thought. Is Arkansas a prime example of that?

They started off, they were kind of a trendy pick. I think they were top 10 in money odds to win the BCS championship, then they lose to Louisiana-Monroe, then they get blown out by Alabama, and their line has gone down and down and down to a real low point.

My guess is Vegas makes a ton of money on those trendy picks. Is that right?

Anytime they get those get those long shots, I think Arkansas was 40-to-1 to start the year, and they got some play. They were among the top 10 teams in terms of tickets written for them to win the national championship. That goes straight in Vegas’ pocket. When Vegas loses on those kind of bets, it goes straight in Vegas’ pocket. When Vegas loses on those kind of bets, it’s on the favorites. If Alabama was to win this year, it might hurt them a little, but overall the futures market, especially the longshots, are big winners for Vegas. For example, this year, Southern Cal had more than 50 percent of the total money bet on them of all the teams. You can see they are going to make a lot of money on the Trojans’ struggles.

What do you think about the fact that Alabama is a 13.5-point favorite over hot Texas A&M?

It opened at 16.5 and got bet down under two touchdowns. I just don’t see how you can go against Alabama right now. I think this is the 37th straight game they are favored. That’s the second-longest all-time streak behind only Southern Cal from 2004-2007. It’s so hard for me to go against Alabama right now but a lot of bettors in Vegas did. They took Johnny Football and the Aggies. (Vegas) likes the underdogs to win. They like the top five teams not to cover. I would be shocked if this line didn’t get back to 14 or higher.

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