What Vegas Thinks: Late-game swings and Spurrier against the Bulldogs

Posted by JOSH KENDALL on September 4, 2013 

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier reacts after a play in the first quarter of the Gamecocks game against North Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC, Thursday, August 29, 2013.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

Once again, we are chatting with David Purdum, a longtime sports betting industry journalist. Purdum tells us this week about how much money changed hands when Kelcy Quarles stopped North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner late in the Gamecocks’ win last week, Steve Spurrier’s stellar record against Georgia and the spread and this week’s line.

David, before we talk about the South Carolina-Georgia game, I want to go back to South Carolina-North Carolina game for a minute. The Gamecocks led 27-10, and the Tar Heels were trying to punch in a late score when Kelcy Quarles tackled quarterback Byrn Renner on the 2-yard line. The significance of that is that the Gamecocks were 11-point favorites. So, did a lot of money change hands on that play?

I am going to make an estimate off the top of my head that it’s probably $500,000 (swing) if he scores that touchdown. The books definitely needed the underdog. North Carolina, Ole Miss and Southern Cal were by far the most popular bets. In the Ole Miss game, they went for two late and that covered. So you’ve got South Carolina covering, Ole Miss covering, and then came the Southern Cal game and Hawaii ended up throwing a 50-yard bomb real late in the game, meaningless, but it covered the spread and saved (Vegas) a ton of money.

Now on to the Bulldogs. You were telling me that line has moved some. What’s going on there?

It opened up at (Georgia favored by five) at the Las Vegas Wynn. They are the first book to go up. They go up Sunday about 6 p.m. Eastern time. Georgia was a five-point favorite. Boom, they got hit, they take a $2,000 max for those early lines, and they got hit with a couple early on South Carolina, and it’s dropped all the way down to three, where it’s sitting now.

When Vegas is setting the line, they do take into account history and the fact that Steve Spurrier has had Georgia’s number as coach, right?

Absolutely. He’s owned Richt since coming to South Carolina for sure. He’s 6-1-1 against the spread against the Bulldogs, won three straight. They do take that into account, but most of their numbers are going to come off their power rankings, which are basically statistical computer rankings that spits out a number. I really think South Carolina might be walking into an ambush here. This is desperate Bulldog time.

The average South Carolina fan right now is upset about seeing Georgia as a favorite in this game because the Gamecocks looked pretty good in Week 1 and the Bulldogs lost to a Clemson team that South Carolina has beaten four straight times. That’s just a function of Vegas’s numbers right?

Yeah, home field is worth the three points. Take that away, you’re looking at a pick-‘em. But Georgia losing at Clemson seems like doomsday, but Clemson is a very good football team, a 38-35 game. Georgia has talent so let’s not just completely write them off.

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