Everyone loves a winner, and while bookmakers have used that mentality to make a fortune over time, most casual bettors can’t help but remain addicted to past champions.
A new college football season and sharpened attention on betting patterns haven’t altered wagering behavior, according to reports from the nation’s shops gathered here on “Hot Tix and Picks.”
Ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Sports AFCA Coaches poll, Alabama is an overwhelming favorite of public bettors in the Crimson Tide’s marquee Saturday game at No. 22 Texas.
“(Alabama) definitely passed the eye test against Utah State last week. Bettors are convinced Alabama is as dominant as (it was) expected to be, which is why the action is going toward them here,” said Caesars Sportsbook’s lead football trader Joey Feazel.
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College football Week 2 betting guide
In this week’s version, the casuals’ tendency and the sharps’ discerning eye again remain in play.
(All spreads furnished by Tipico Sportsbook)
Let’s get to our “hot tix.”
No. 1 Alabama (-20.5, 14/1 moneyline) at No. 22 Texas
While Alabama is drawing 85% of the tickets at Caesars, the masses have also flocked to increase the first-half line up one point to -12.5.
WynnBet reports Alabama minus the points and on the moneyline are two of its five most-popular plays.
“You don’t get under-14 with Alabama first half that often, and (it’s) shown to be profitable over the years,” Feazel said.
Central Florida (-5.5) vs. Louisville
This Friday-night affair is a classic public vs. sharps divide, with the public tempted to bet against the Cardinals following their 31-7 egg laying at Syracuse last week.
Primary-recency syndrome is a huge point of seduction with casuals, but the sharps at Bally’s Interactive rebuff the notion, attaching themselves to Louisville at that shop’s most popular sharp play.
Boise State (10/1 moneyline) at New Mexico
A 17-point loss at Oregon State is deemed more impressive than the Lobos’ 41-0 cruise-control rout over Maine.
Boise State is a 16.5-point favorite at Tipico in this Friday game, an opportunity some are plainly taking to ensure a profit heading into a busy betting weekend.
No. 9 Notre Dame (14/1 moneyline) vs. Marshall
The Fighting Irish put up a respectable showing against Ohio State to remain in the top 10, and the belief here is that it’s a safe offering to place in a parlay.
The spread has been bet up two points to -20.5 at both Tipico and Caesars.
Syracuse (-22.5) vs. Connecticut
If the Orangemen can throttle Louisville at home, why not the Huskies?
At Caesars, Syracuse has drawn a staggering 92.1% of the handle.
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Now let’s get to our “hot picks.”
No. 21 Wake Forest (-12.5) at Vanderbilt
In their ACC opener, the Demon Deacons look to flex their readiness for No. 4 Clemson as that matchup looms in two weeks.
Bally’s sharps have made Wake Forest their second-most popular play.
Stanford (+8.5) vs. No. 12 USC
The sharps have seized on this one, dropping the line at Caesars by three points despite the Trojans’ blowout of Rice in their home season-opener.
While the public bettors have accounted for 77% of the total tickets at Caesars being on USC, 79% of the handle — the sharps’ big money — is on Stanford.
One North Carolina bettor placed a $66,000 wager on Stanford at +9.
“This comes down to Stanford’s physical ability against USC’s speed,” Feazel said. “This is USC’s first real test. If they blow Stanford out, we’re going to see a lot of USC money going forward.”
Houston (+3.5) at Texas Tech
The Cougars fell out of the top 25 following their narrow triumph over UT San Antonio, but sharps support their in-state road trip.
No. 14 Pittsburgh (+6) vs. Tennessee
Caesars bettors have turned in nearly 67% of their total tickets for the Volunteers, but sharps have bought the Panthers’ showing in the “Backyard Brawl,” leading to 52% handle backing.
Mississippi State (-10.5) at Arizona
College football bettors hold a special place in their heart for Hawaii, since those late-night affairs on the mainland provide a last-chance opportunity to recoup the day’s losses (or, in other cases, to clinch a disastrous Saturday).
But since Hawaii is playing as a staggering +51.5-point underdog at Michigan at 8 p.m. ET this week, the latest game on the books is this one.
The Bulldogs’ ability to cover nicely in last week’s 49-23 triumph over Memphis has them on the brink of the top 25.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football Week 2 betting guide: Alabama or Texas in top-25 game?