College football betting: Oregon and Sparty are popular dogs

·5 min read

It's crazy to realize we're already entering the penultimate week of the college football regular season. The drama is ramping up as teams are firing coaches, other schools are fighting for bowl eligibility and the top schools are still playing to impress the playoff committee. Which sides are receiving the most betting action at BetMGM prior to Week 12 of the college football season?

Michigan State is a popular underdog

One of the biggest games of the week will occur in Columbus when Ohio State hosts Michigan State. This top-10 matchup definitely has playoff implications as both teams have just one loss. 

Michigan State is currently an 18.5-point underdog against the Buckeyes, but 78% of the betting handle is on the Spartans to cover the spread. The line originally opened up at 19.5 points but the action has caused it to drop slightly. 

Michigan State vs. analytics has been quite a fun battle to watch this season. Most data-centric models and sharp bettors do not consider the Spartans anywhere near a top-seven team, but yet the Spartans keep winning. The data does not love Michigan State, which explains why this spread is so large. 

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 30: Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10) motions for a teammate to pass to during a college football game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines on October 30, 2021 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, MI. (Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Payton Thorne and the Michigan State offense will need to score to keep up with Ohio State. (Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ohio State's passing attack will provide a huge challenge for a Michigan State secondary that allows over 350 passing yards per game. This is the main reason why 87% of the betting handle is on this game to go over the total of 68.5 points.

Oregon an underdog? No problem

Oregon is currently ranked by the committee as the third best team in the country. If they win out, they almost certainly will be in the playoff. The issue? The Ducks are 3-point underdogs this week at Utah.

Utah has won six of its last seven games and it's scoring over 35 points per game on the season. We know that Salt Lake City is a tough place to play, but it's still always jarring to see one of the highest-ranked teams as an underdog. 

Fifty-two percent of the bets and 67% of the money is on Oregon to cover the 3-point spread as an underdog. Ninety-one percent of the betting handle is also backing Oregon on the moneyline at +135 as bettors like the Ducks to win straight up. 

Both teams are extremely efficient in moving the ball on the ground, so the question becomes whether Utah will be able to slow down the rushing attack and force Anthony Brown to use his arm to move the ball for Oregon. There are questions about whether Brown will be able to do his part if it comes to that. 

Texas might not be back

What happens after you lose to Kansas as a 30-point favorite on your home field? You get faded into oblivion the following week. 

West Virginia opened as a 1.5-point home favorite against Texas, but that line has moved all the way to three points. That isn't stopping the money train as 82% of the betting handle is on the Mountaineers to cover the 3-point spread.

Things have been falling apart in Austin for the Longhorns over the past few weeks. Ever since Texas blew a huge lead in the Red River Showdown, things have not been pretty. Texas has lost five straight games. You can explain losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State. You can not explain a loss to Kansas. 

West Virginia should be motivated to win this game. If they win this week and then beat Kansas next week, Neal Brown and the Mountaineers will become bowl-eligible. It certainly makes sense to back West Virginia here. 

Reverse line movement favors Clemson

Fading Clemson has been a profitable endeavor this season. Clemson entered the season expected to be one of the top teams in the country, but instead it has lost three games and failed to cover in five of its seven wins. The offense, led by D.J. Uiagalelei, has been a tire fire. 

On the other side, Wake Forest has been great to bettors. It's won nine of 10 games and covered in five of its last eight. 

Surprisingly, Clemson opened as a 3.5-point favorite over Wake Forest. Despite Wake Forest getting 78% of the money, the line has moved in the opposite direction. Clemson is now a 4.5-point favorite.

Despite Wake Forest's prolific RPO-offense, Clemson has handled it very well over the past three years. Wake Forest has scored 19 points combined in three games against Clemson. 

Anytime we see reverse line movement, it's worth being on the lookout. Wake Forest might seem like a good underdog play, but what is the market trying to tell us?

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