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Surprisingly large line in Pac-12 title game; sharp move on UNLV

Updated November 28, 2023 - 7:22 pm

Washington is unbeaten, is ranked higher than Oregon and dealt the Ducks their only defeat this season.

So why are the Huskies 9½-point underdogs to Oregon in Friday’s Pac-12 championship game at Allegiant Stadium?

“When they played, there were a lot of thoughts at the time that both teams were very similar,” Westgate SuperBook vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “But since that game, Washington has been very fortunate to win these one-score games, and Oregon is just demolishing everyone.”

Following the Huskies’ 36-33 home win over the Ducks on Oct. 14, Oregon has won six games by an average of 26 points, while Washington has won six by an average of 6.5 points and its last three by 4.0 ppg.

The Huskies escaped with a 24-21 home win over Washington State on Saturday the week after holding on for a 22-20 victory at Oregon State. The Ducks whipped Oregon State by 24 on Friday and previously beat Washington State by 14.

The SuperBook made Oregon a 7½-point favorite over Washington before the Apple Cup, and the line shot up to 9½ after the Huskies’ close call.

“It moved because of what happened with Washington nearly losing to Washington State,” Salmons said. “With Washington playing as bad as it did, this line is so inflated. But the purpose of it is to get half the bets on one side and half on the other. That’s why it’s so high.”

Despite the big spread, a bettor at the SuperBook wagered $30,000 on Oregon -9½.

“It’s not stopping the public,” Salmons said. “Oregon is a very public team. Any team that scores this many points, the public really jumps behind.”

The Ducks have rewarded their backers this season, going 9-2-1 against the spread.

Sharp money on UNLV

Boise State opened as a 3-point favorite over UNLV in Saturday’s Mountain West championship game at Allegiant. The line dipped to 2½ Monday after a sharp sports betting syndicate wagered on the Rebels +3.

“I think this game will get a decent handle, with it being in town,” Salmons said.

The Rebels lost 37-31 to San Jose State on Saturday at home but are still tied for the nation’s best college football spread record at 10-2. Arizona also is 10-2 ATS, and New Mexico State is 10-2-1 ATS.


Two-time defending national champion Georgia opened as a 4-point favorite over Alabama at Circa Sports in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference title game. The unbeaten Bulldogs shot up to -6 on Monday over the Crimson Tide, who scored a go-ahead touchdown on fourth-and-31 with 32 seconds left Saturday to beat Auburn.


Michigan, the 2-1 favorite to win the college football national championship (Georgia is +225), is favored by 23 points over Iowa in Saturday’s Big Ten title game.

The total is 35½. The Hawkeyes have gone under in seven straight games and 10 of 12 this season. They beat Nebraska 13-10 on Friday, and the total, believed to be the lowest in college football history at 25, stayed under.

Salmons said Iowa’s team total is 6½ points.

“I think the total says all you need to know about Iowa football,” he said.

Don’t mess with Texas

Texas opened as a 13-point favorite over Oklahoma State in Saturday’s Big 12 championship game before the line shot up to 14½. The Longhorns destroyed Texas Tech 57-7 on Saturday.

“This is such a mismatch on paper. Texas can name any score they want,” Salmons said. “Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are literally the same team. Texas has the motivation to go out and try to win this game 60-0 to make a case to get into the playoff.”

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

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