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College football season win totals moving at Circa Sports

College football season kicks off in two months, and regular-season win totals are on the board — and on the move — at sportsbooks.

Circa Sports posted win totals on every Power Five conference team June 10, and there have been 11 line moves of a half-win or more based on sharp bets and the opinion of Circa sportsbook director Matt Metcalf.

“Ninety percent of the money is sharps playing off some of the biggest differences at some of the other books,” Metcalf said. “In my experience, the more opinionated sharp money doesn’t come in until a couple weeks before the season starts.

“Most of the half-win moves are me putting my opinion in looking for action. If I put up a number and nobody bets it, I see that as an opportunity to move it higher or lower.”

Alabama and Georgia are tied for the highest win total at 11½, and Ohio State is next at 11.

Metcalf recently lowered the Crimson Tide from the +195 favorite to win the national title to +165. The defending champion Bulldogs are +315 and the Buckeyes +350.

“I had Alabama two points better than Georgia and now have them four points better than Georgia. Ohio State is a point or two worse than Georgia,” he said. “It’s those three teams and everybody else.”

Georgia’s win total price opened at -110 before moving to under-145.

“Any time you open a team at 11 or 11½, you’re pretty much asking for wiseguy under money,” Metcalf said. “You’re basically asking a team to go undefeated, and that’s no easy task.”

Down on Cougars

Washington State is the only team that has moved a full win, dropping from 6 to 5 after sharp bettors pounded the under.

Cougars coach Nick Rolovich and four assistants were fired midway through last season for refusing to comply with a mandate that required all state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The team still won three of its final four regular-season games.

“I was very impressed with how Washington State ended last season. They didn’t fall apart when the coach got fired,” Metcalf said. “But the more I thought about it, it’s going to be such a rebuild.

“We took money under 6 and took more under 5½. Six was a really bad opener. At six, you’re saying you’ve got to win seven to beat you. That’s asking a ton for that team.”

Falling totals

Six teams saw their totals dip by a half-win: Arizona (3½ to 3), Boston College (7 to 6½), California (6 to 5½), Illinois (5 to 4½), Indiana (5 to 4½) and Iowa State (7½ to 7).

“There’s a lot of teams I like and probably opened higher than the market,” Metcalf said. “I always like Cal. They never have enough offense, but they’re well-coached.

“I like Iowa State. They underachieved a lot last year. I know they lost a lot of offense, and people might not be as optimistic as I am. But I like the program, and I like (coach) Matt Campbell.”

Rising totals

Four teams saw their totals rise by a half-win: Michigan State (7 to 7½), North Carolina State (8 to 8½), Nebraska (7 to 7½) and Purdue (7 to 7½).

Metcalf said he has an anti-Michigan State bias that stems from his days as a professional bettor, when he was repeatedly burned by the Spartans when he faded them.

“They were never that great on paper but always overachieved,” he said. “If you ever want to bet on Michigan State over, it’s always good to come to Circa. I’ve tried to work the bias out, but it’s in my blood at this point.”

Metcalf said a lot of bettors are going to be on N.C. State, which went 9-3 last season and will return quarterback Devin Leary, who threw for a school-record 35 touchdowns.

“They’re like a solid C-, C+ program,” he said. “If they come out and play to a B+ level, they’re going to go over their win total.”

Nebraska went 3-9 last season, with all nine losses by less than 10 points.

“Nebraska last year played to a good power rating number,” Metcalf said. “But they had bad luck and lost a lot of close games.”

Purdue went 9-4 last season and is a 3-point home underdog to Penn State in their Sept. 1 season opener.

“I like the coach (Jeff Brohm), and I think Purdue could have a decent season,” Metcalf said. “The Week 1 Penn State line tells you the market likes Purdue.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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Las Vegas handicapper Bruce Marshall is an analyst at VegasInsider.com. Each week, he provides the Review-Journal with NFL tech notes and trends.