After the sportsbook’s early line favors USC by nearly two touchdowns, bettors are flocking to Oregon State.


r1063604 600x400 3 2 After the sportsbook's early line favors USC by nearly two touchdowns, bettors are flocking to Oregon State.

An outside opening line at USC-Oregon State sparked a flood of bets on the underdog Beavers this week and left a sportsbook with more money on the Pac-12 tilt than any of the week’s NFL games.

Caesars Sportsbook has USC 13.5 points ahead of Oregon State on Sunday. Minutes later, oddsmakers at Circa Sports only had the Trojans as 5-point favorites. Before settling on a consensus number of USC -6 on Sunday night, the odds dropped significantly at Caesars and ticked up a bit at other sportsbooks, with bettors pouncing on the odds.

“We had high expectations [USC]said Joey Faisal, lead college football trader at Caesars Sportsbook. “So we put out a number to attract Oregon state money. And it worked.”

Action immediately came from influential bettors on the Beavers at Caesars, and Feisel moved aggressively down the order. Caesars went from USC -13.5 to -9 in less than 30 minutes and fell to -7 less than two hours after posting the opening numbers.

On Thursday, Caesars announced that 88.2% of the money bet on the USC-Oregon State point spread was on the underdog Beavers, including a $110,000 bet on Oregon State +7 placed at Nevada on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, sportsbooks that opened USC as less than a touchdown favorite reported foul play on the Trojans. On DraftKings, 79% of the money bet on the game’s spread was on USC, and on the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, everyone on the Beavers had seven bets on the Trojans.

“I’m sure we’ll need the Beavers in a big way at kickoff,” said John Murray, SuperBook’s executive director. “The Trojans are public darlings again.”

By midweek, more money had been wagered on the USC-Oregon State spread than had been wagered on any Week 3 NFL game. Normally, the betting handle of an NFL game would be down to the size of USC-Oregon State in a college football game, with both teams undefeated and the Trojans ranked No. 7.

Feisel said Sunday he bounced around potential starting lines from colleagues and came away with an agreement that USC should be a double-digit favorite. He doesn’t think he’ll change much given the chance for a do-over, but acknowledges the risk of opening numbers that move significantly.

Some professional bettors will play both sides to mitigate the risk and they will rely on the margin of victory to win both wagers. For example, a bettor might pick Oregon State +13.5 over Caesars and USC around -5. If the Trojans win more than six but less than 14, the bettor wins both wagers. When the odds of the point spreads offered by the sportsbooks are good enough, the teams don’t matter. Savvy bettors will bet on different numbers, especially if they include common margins of victory such as threes and sevens.

“You definitely don’t want to lose both ways,” Feisel said. “You’re trying to get the right number, but at some point, you have to take that risk and understand that there might be a middle ground.”


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