Updated on 09/15/2011 2:35PM

Rose Bowl: Miami -8 against Nebraska


As expected, when Nebraska received the No. 2 ranking in the BCS standings Sunday by the slimmest of margins, there was an outcry in Eugene, Ore.; Boulder, Colo.; and throughout the college football community.

But in Las Vegas, oddsmakers at Las Vegas Sports Consultants didn't have time to sit around and debate the topic. They had an obligation to get the college football odds out to the sports books clients in Nevada and in the Caribbean.

"We didn't do much advance work in anticipating the BCS matchups because everything was so up in the air," said Pete Korner, operations manager at LVSC. "The SEC teams also got moved around (with the Orange Bowl choosing Florida over Tennessee, even though the Vols beat the Gators two weeks ago) so we were running around trying to finalize our numbers."

LVSC settled on Miami as an 8 1/2-point favorite over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. The Stardust, which puts up the city's first football odds, opened it at 8. The public promptly bet Miami-Fla. up to 10-point favorites. It should be pointed out that some offshore books had already come out with a line of 10, so some of the big bettors were probably betting both teams to try to set up a middle.

As of noon Monday, the MGM-Mirage properties in Las Vegas had Miami as a 10 1/2-point favorite. Caesars Palace opted for 9 1/2.

"Every game will move a little with this much time before the games are played," Korner said, "but we really think Nebraska has a chance in the game."

The Orange Bowl has the biggest spread of all the bowl games. In it, Florida is a 16 1/2-point favorite over ACC champion Maryland.

In the Fiesta Bowl matchup between Colorado and Oregon - the two teams whose players, coaches, and fans have the biggest complaints about how the BCS turned out - LVSC made Colorado a 3-point favorite.

Early bowl line moves

The accompanying chart shows what the heavy hitters liked when the bowl lines went up Sunday afternoon at the Stardust.

The Rose Bowl attracted significant early action, but it wasn't alone. The Jan. 1 Gator Bowl even had a change of favorites. Florida St. opened as a 1 1/2-point favorite over Virginia Tech, but all the early money came in on the Hokies and they are now a 2-point choice. Pittsburgh almost did the same. The Panthers were bet from a 1 1/2-point underdog to North Carolina State in the Dec. 20 Tangerine Bowl to pick-'em.

In all, bettors preferred betting the underdogs. Eleven games moved toward the underdog, while only three favorites drew enough money to move the opening lines: Miami-Fla., USC in the Dec. 25 Las Vegas Bowl versus Utah, and Louisville in the Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl versus BYU.

Other dogs getting early action included Georgia Tech, bet from +4 down to +3 versus Stanford in the Dec. 27 Independence Bowl; Boston College, bet +6 down to +4 1/2 versus Georgia in the Dec. 28 Music City Bowl; and Arkansas, bet from +14 1/2 down to +13 1/2 versus Oklahoma in the Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl.

College line moves had a 126-100 record (56 percent) during the regular season.

Bettors endure losing weekend

Most bettors were on the wrong sides this weekend in several key games. Usually, bettors will ride the favorites, but this week they were even on the losing side when they backed the underdogs against the Las Vegas sports books.

In the NFL, of the four biggest losses for bettors, three were on underdogs. The bettors lost with the 49ers against the Rams (Rams won 27-14 as a 7-point favorite after opening -8 1/2); the Bears against the Packers (Packers won 17-7 as a 5-point favorite after opening -6); and the Jets against the Steelers (Steelers won 18-7 as a 3 1/2-point favorite after opening at -4). The favored Titans also let bettors down in a 42-12 loss to the Vikings. The Titans opened as 1 1/2-point favorites and were bet up to -3.

The bettors were on the winning side with the underdog Lions, Cowboys, and Chiefs - and with the favored Broncos on Sunday night - to keep the weekend from being a bloodbath.

It was a mixed result on a short college board. On Friday night, there was more money on 10-point favorite Southern Mississippi versus Texas Christian - but TCU won, 14-12. Bettors at least won on the under, which opened at 50 points, and was bet down to 48.

On Saturday, bettors were all over the over in the BYU-Hawaii game. It opened at 71 and was bet up to 74 and even 74 1/2 at some sports books before being bet down to 73 at kickoff. The early bettors were right as Hawaii topped the opening number by itself in a 72-45 victory.

In the SEC title game, Tennessee, a 6 1/ 2-point favorite over LSU all week long, was bet up to 7 all over town. The total was also bet up from 52 to 54. Both bets lost as LSU pulled the 31-20 upset.