Home » Betting buzz: LSU opens as big favorite over USC for CFB Week 1

Betting buzz: LSU opens as big favorite over USC for CFB Week 1

Everything that happens in sports has some additional context when viewed from a sports betting perspective.From season-changing injuries to record-setting moments and so much more, the sports news cycle will constantly and significantly affect the sports betting industry.

Our betting buzz file, with contributions from David Purdum, Doug Greenberg, Ian Parker and others, aims to provide fans a look at the sports betting stories that are driving the conversation.

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May 29: LSU opens as big favorite over USC for CFB Week 1

David Purdum:We haven’t reached June yet, but the countdown to college football season has begun, as point spreads on an intriguing Week 1 have hit the board at sportsbooks.

Here is a quick look at the opening lines for three big games via ESPN BET:

LSU(-7, 66.5) vs. USC

Sept. 1, p.m. ET,Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas

The Tigers opened as 7-point favorites over USC in a tasty opener on Labor Day in Las Vegas. Both teams are replacing Heisman quarterbacks. The Trojans have been more than a touchdown underdog in season openers only twice since 1978. They were 12-point underdogs to Alabama in a 52-6 loss to the Crimson Tide in 2016 and 11-point underdogs to Florida State in a 14-7 loss in 1997.

Clemsonvs. Georgia(-13, 48.5)

Aug. 31, 12 p.m. ET, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta

The Bulldogs opened as a 13-point favorite against Clemson. The Tigers haven’t been this big of an underdog since 2012, when they were 14.5-point underdogs to Florida State, eventually losing 49-37.

Miami(-3.5) vs.Florida

Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m. ET, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville

The Hurricanes opened as 3.5-point favorites over the Gators. The Gators have never been that large of a home underdog in the Swamp in a season opener in the FBS era (1978), according to ESPN Stats and Information.

May 28: The top five betting favorites to win the MCWS hail from the SEC

Odds by ESPN BET.

Purdum: Texas A&M was the favorite to win the College World Series at 9-2 on Tuesday at ESPN BET, followed by Tennessee (11-2) and Arkansas (17-2). Kentucky and LSU were each 9-1 and rounded out the teams with single-digit odds.

LSU, the defending champions, were considered on the bubble to even make the field two weeks ago and must travel to the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, region.

The ACC also is represented atop the title odds, with Clemson at 11-1, followed by Wake Forest (13-1) and North Carolina (15-1).

The regional round begins Friday. The host schools are favored in 12 of the 16 regionals, with Wake Forest (-125) Duke (even), South Carolina (+105) and Dallas Baptist (+140) road favorites in their respective regions.

May 27: Breaking down the betting impact of Acuña’s season-ending injury

Greenberg: For the second time since 2021, Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr.’s season is over prematurely due to an ACL tear, though this time it’s in his other knee. While time will tell whether the Braves’ impressive depth can withstand the loss, the betting markets are already responding to the news. ESPN BET reports that since the news of Acuña’s injury was confirmed, Atlanta moved from +475 to +650 to win the World Series — currently fourth behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (+275), New York Yankees (+500) and Philadelphia Phillies (+500).

There were even bigger drop-offs at other sportsbooks, with the Braves falling from +400 to +650 at DraftKings, and from +475 to +800 at BetMGM. Atlanta was seeing solid action to win MLB’s championship, attracting 7.8% of the bets and 9.8% of the money at ESPN BET, as well as 8.0% of the tickets and 14.1% of the handle at BetMGM — the second-most money at the book behind only Los Angeles (14.9%). At DraftKings, the Braves actually have a negative betting split, taking 8% of the bets with 6% of the handle.

Atlanta’s odds to win the National League pennant similarly lengthened on the news, as they now range from +340 to +400 behind Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Where things really start to get interesting is in the race for the division.

The Braves opened the season as the clear favorites to win the NL East (-275), but between Acuña’s injury and an impressive first two months from the Phillies, Atlanta now finds itself as a +145 underdog to win the division crown, while Philadelphia has taken the odds-on lead at -200, per ESPN BET, who made the Phillies favorites even before the injury. At DraftKings, the Acuña news flipped the division line from Braves -130 to +125, and Phillies +120 to -165.

The difference in movement here is likely a result of liability: ESPN BET has 70.0% of its tickets and 71.1% of its money on Philadelphia, whereas DraftKings has 80% of bets and 68% of handle on Atlanta.

All of this said, bettors looking for a buy-low spot should pay attention to this factoid: The last time Acuña tore his ACL in 2021, the Braves went on to win the World Series.

UFC 302: Prop bets to get the best value on Islam Makhachev

Odds by ESPN BET.

Parker: UFC 302 is around the corner (10 p.m. ET on June 1, ESPN+ PPV) and if you were looking to bet on Islam Makhachevin his title defense against Dustin Poirier, he is currently sitting at -550. So to lower that heavy juice let’s take a look at a few props:

Makhachev inside the distance at -275

As big of a fan as I am of Poirier, it’s hard to see where he gets it done in this fight against the champ. Unless he catches him with that famous left hook, I expect Makhachev to overwhelm Poirier the way Khabib Nurmagomedov did with his wrestling. In his past three fights, we have seen Makhachev get it done by both TKO/KO and submission and I don’t see this fight going any differently. If you’re looking to lower that -550 moneyline number, then take Inside the distance at -275.

Makhachev to win and under 2.5 rounds -140

In six of his past seven fights, Makhachev has won inside the distance. In four of those fights, he has won in under 2.5 rounds. That prop currently sits at -140 and that’s a number I can certainly get behind. Poirier is as durable as it gets, however he tends to give up his back more often than not, and granted Benoit Saint-Denis couldn’t take advantage of that position, he’s not Makhachev.

I believe Round 1 will be at least two minutes of standup, and once Makhachev lands a few strikes he will switch it up and take Poirier to the ground. If he doesn’t get it done in Round 1, I see a similar situation happening that occurred in the Poirier vs Oliviera fight. Poirier looked good in Round 1, but once he started taking some shots, he gave up his back and it was over.

Makhachev to win by submission +105

With a 64% finish rate and 44% of it by way of submission, at +105 it would not surprise me in the slightest bit if Makhachev overwhelmed Poirier with his wrestling and eventually won via RNC choke. We have seen Makhachev do it time and time again.

The other option I can see happening is him getting the mount and moving to a head and arm triangle. Poirier is a black belt in BJJ, but has been submitted before. When you are getting overwhelmed with strikes, you end up defenseless and opened to be subbed and I believe that is what will happen here.

May 22: Record $14.1 million bet on table tennis in March with Colorado sportsbooks

Purdum: Approximately $14.1 million was bet on table tennis in March with Colorado sportsbooks, a record for the state and more than was risked on golf, MMA and motorsports combined during the month.

Betting on table tennis took off during the COVID-19 pandemic, when almost all sports leagues were halted. At the time, tournaments in Russia and Ukraine, some of which were streamed on sportsbooks’ apps, were among the only events bettors could find to wager — despite some suspicious circumstances. Table tennis attracted $6.6 million in bets in May 2020 with Colorado books, the most of any sport.

Table tennis has had staying power with bettors, seeing a significant spike in the amount of money wagered in recent months. The $14.1 million bet on table tennis in March bested the previous record of $12.6 million in February.BetMGM Sportsbook said betting interest in table tennis is not unique to Colorado and that it can top MMA and golf in other states.

“Table tennis takes place just about 24/7,” Alex Rella, senior trader for BetMGM told ESPN in an email. “The sheer volume and speed just outweighs what MMA and golf offer each weekend. Our customers also love the speed of each game. The quick turnaround is very appealing in comparison to major American sports where it can take hours for a game to end.”

The most popular table tennis with bettors currently are held in Poland, according to BetMGM.

May 21: Massachusetts Gaming Commission discusses limiting bettors

Purdum: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission held a public roundtable Tuesday to discuss the controversial bookmaking practice of limiting bettors.

Ten sportsbook operators in Massachusetts that were invited to the roundtable declined to participate, citing concerns over confidentiality of proprietary systems and risk management strategies, and instead requested a private session to discuss the topic.

According to MGC interim chair Jordan Maynard, the roundtable was prompted by complaints from consumers about having the amount they can wager reduced by the state’s sportsbooks. It included commentary from gambling industry consultants, an advocate for responsible gambling and a professional bettor. No new policies were enacted, but the committee continued further discussion of the topic.

In its written response to the MGC, Penn Entertainment, which operates ESPN BET, said it reserves the right to change betting and payout limits. “Penn may limit a patron for various reasons, including taking advantage of manipulating the sportsbook or abusing promotional play,” Samantha Haggerty, deputy chief compliance officer for Penn National, wrote.

In addition to Penn Entertainment, DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics, Caesars Sportsbook, Encore Boston Harbor and BetMGM were among the sportsbooks that declined to participate and provided written confirmation to the MGC. A spokesperson for DraftKings said in a statement that “any meaningful discussion on wagering limits would necessarily involve the disclosure of DraftKings’ confidential risk management practices and other commercially sensitive business information.”

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