<
>

College football action report: Bettors backing Georgia Bulldogs

play
Betting interest high on Georgia to win national title (1:21)

David Purdum breaks down the betting interest on Georgia to win the national title, as well as teams that are liabilities for sportsbooks. (1:21)

The college football regular season is believed to be a formality, a four-month race that will inevitably end with Alabama and Clemson meeting again for the national championship.

Bettors, however, disagree. They're invested heavily in Georgia being very much in the mix come January.

A survey of eight U.S. sportsbooks from around the nation showed that the Bulldogs have attracted just as much money from bettors as Alabama or Clemson to win the national championship -- and, at some books, more.

More money has been bet on Georgia to win the national title than has been wagered on any other team at Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings. There are more bets placed on the Bulldogs to win it all than any team at William Hill's over 100 sportsbooks in Nevada, New Jersey, Iowa and West Virginia.

The betting public, of course, has struggled at times with the accuracy of its prognostications, and bookmakers seem confident in their position.

"We do very well [in regards] to Alabama and Clemson," Tony DiTommaso, sportsbook director at Las Vegas bookmaker CG Technology, said. "It's nice to have the two favorites in your pocket."

As the college football season kicks off in full this week, legal sportsbooks will be operating in around a dozen states from the East Coast to the West Coast and from the Gulf Coast and the upper Midwest.

Here's a look at the college football betting action across the United States.


National title bets

• Most money wagered to win the national championship at Caesars Sportsbook:

Georgia
Oklahoma
Alabama
Ohio State
Clemson

• Most bets to win the national championship at Caesars Sportsbook:

Ohio State
Georgia
Oklahoma
Michigan
Texas

• The largest reported national championship bets have been on Alabama. MGM and CG Technology each reported taking $10,000 bets on the Crimson Tide, along with multiple four-figure wagers.

• The largest national title bet MGM has taken on Clemson is $8,000.

• There are approximately 25 percent more bets and 20 percent more money on Alabama than on Clemson on MGM sportsbooks' odds to win the national championship.

• Nearly half (47.6 percent) of the money that's been bet on FanDuel's odds to win the national championship is on Alabama. Georgia and Alabama account for just over 65 percent of the total money bet.

• Entering the week, CG Technology had taken slightly more bets on Clemson to win the national title than Alabama. However, roughly 10 times as much money had been bet on the Crimson Tide as had been bet on the Tigers.

• DraftKings is offering a prop bet on Alabama and Clemson meeting in the title game. The "Yes" is a +225 underdog. The "No" is -278. As of Monday, there had not been a bet on the "No."

Notre Dame and LSU are the worst-case scenarios for Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology, which would suffer a net mid-five-figure loss on their national title futures market if either the Fighting Irish or Tigers won it all. The sportsbook, which operates at the Venetian, Cosmo and several other Las Vegas casinos, also is wary of a Cinderella run by Utah.

• Teams that attracted more bets to win the national championship than Clemson at the SuperBook: Georgia, Oklahoma, Michigan, Alabama, LSU, Washington, Florida, Notre Dame, Oregon. "Texas A&M and Nebraska have around the same number of tickets as Clemson," SuperBook VP of risk Ed Salmons said.

• The new sportsbook at Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa already has a $250,000 liability on Nebraska winning the national championship. The sportsbook opened last week.

• The SuperBook has taken three bets on Rutgers to win the national championship at 10,000-1.

• The in-state team that has attracted the most bets to win the national championship at sportsbook operator SugarHouse's Pennsylvania books? Penn State (100-1) by a wide margin over Pittsburgh and Temple.

• MGM has taken over 100 bets on Southern Cal to win the national title. The Trojans are 100-1.


Week 1 action

• The largest bet CG Technology had taken on a Week 1 game as of Monday was $20,000 on Colorado -12.5 vs. Colorado State. The line has since grown to -13.5 at most books.

• As of Monday, there had been 12 times as much money bet on Alabama than on Duke at Caesars Sportsbook. The Crimson Tide are 35.5-point favorites.


Heisman Trophy betting

• Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts has attracted the most bets to win the Heisman Trophy at William Hill sportsbooks. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is ninth in number of bets, behind Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez.

• At FanDuel's sportsbook, however, more money has been bet on Tagovailoa to win Heisman Trophy than any other player.

• The largest bet William Hill has taken on the odds to win the Heisman Trophy is $2,000 on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence at 3-1 odds. The bet was placed Aug. 1 at a New Jersey sportsbook.


Odds and ends

• The sides that attracted the most limit bets on CG Technology's season-win totals: Texas under 9.5, Virginia over 7, Michigan State over 8 and Washington under 10.

• Alabama over 11.5 wins is Caesars Sportsbook's largest liability on its season-win totals.

• The SuperBook has Clemson at -400 to win the ACC Championship Game and had not taken a bet on the Tigers with less than a week before the season kicked off.

• Bookmakers have seen increased interest in first-half lines involving powerhouse favorites in recent seasons. Bettors have become more willing to lay three touchdowns with a massive favorite in the first half instead of 40 points for the full game. Alabama, for example, went 10-3 against the first-half spread last season.

"No one is going to forget that," Salmons said. "We just got destroyed last year on Alabama first halves. You couldn't stop it. They're laying 38 for the game and the first-half line is supposed to be 20.5, and it's 28-0 halfway through the first quarter."

The Crimson Tide are 80-62-5 against the first-half spread under coach Nick Saban.

Here are other coaches who have had success against the number in the first half over the last five seasons: Purdue's Purdue's Jeff Brohm (41-19-2), Clemson's Dabo Swinney (42-20-2) and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio (37-21-3).