LSU, Oklahoma Losses Cap Wild Day of College Football as Sportsbooks Capitalize on Big Upsets
Posted on: September 26, 2020, 11:57h.
Last updated on: September 27, 2020, 09:57h.
A wild Saturday of college football featured some big upsets and some big wins by the sportsbooks.
Two top 10 teams lost outright at home as double-digit favorites. That includes LSU, the defending national champions, who fell to Mississippi State 44-34. It marked the first time a reigning champ lost the first game of the season since 1998.
An even bigger upset happened earlier in the day, when No. 3 Oklahoma lost 38-35 to an unranked Kansas State team that two weeks ago lost at home to Arkansas State. The Sooners were 27.5-point favorites at most books, according to data from Pregame.com, and nearly three-quarters of the spread handle and 71 percent of the spread bets were on the home team.
ESPN noted that this was the sixth time in the last 11 years that Oklahoma, which took a 21-point lead with 2:14 left in the third quarter, has lost outright to an underdog getting at least 20 points.
College football isn’t quite as big a market for sportsbooks as the NFL. However, with Saturday marking the start of SEC football, considered the strongest college conference, it definitely brought more bettors and wagers to the sportsbooks.
Bettors Take Hit on LSU Loss
The sixth-ranked Tigers, who also had the nation’s longest winning streak snapped at 16 games, are not the team Joe Burrow led to the title. They lost 20 players from the championship squad to the NFL. Several other key players, such as wide receive Ja’Marr Chase, chose to opt-out of playing this season.
Then, on Friday, cornerback and punt returner Derek Stingley, possibly LSU’s best player, was sent to the hospital with a non-COVID-19 illness. Despite all that attrition, the Tigers were still 14-point favorites against the Bulldogs, even though the line initially started out as high as 21 points at some sportsbooks, according to Pregame.com.
At PointsBet, LSU was a 14.5-point favorite with a lot of backing.
Huge day for the book with all these upsets,” said Patrick Eichner, PointsBet’s communications director, to Casino.org. “OU’s loss to K-State was big, but LSU’s loss to Mississippi State was massive. That’ll be the best result of the day for us by a good margin.”
At FanDuel, 77 percent of the point spread handle and 89 percent of the straight-up moneyline handle was on LSU, Director of Publicity Kevin Hennessy told Casino.org. Just how profitable the game was for the online sportsbook was hard to determine, he added, because of in-game betting.
Upsets Change College Football Title Odds
Thanks to those upsets, both LSU and Oklahoma saw their national odds lengthen significantly by Saturday night.
Two weeks ago, Oklahoma had college football title odds of +800 at DraftKings and +1400 at FanDuel. After Saturday, you can now get the Sooners for +2800 at DraftKings and +5000 at either FanDuel or BetMGM.
LSU’s odds were +2000 at DraftKings and +4000 at FanDuel. Now, both books offer the Tigers at +10000.
The books really see the title chase as a three-team race. DraftKings has Clemson as the +200 favorite, with Ohio State at +250 and Alabama at +400. Florida at +1200 is the only other school under +2000. FanDuel, meanwhile, lists Clemson and Ohio State as +250 cofavorites, with Alabama at +350. After that, the next three teams on its board – Florida, Georgia, and Texas – are all at +1600. At BetMGM, Clemson’s listed at +225, Ohio State at +260, and Alabama is at +350.
None of the books have factored PAC-12 schools into their odds just yet. It had been the last Power 5 conference to hold off on playing fall football, but announced its intentions to play a seven-game, conference-only schedule that would start Nov. 6
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