During the slowest days of summer, when sports books are sparsely populated, a story about Brett Favre wanting to emerge from his brief retirement is a reminder that football season is on the horizon.
The curtain will be raised soon on NFL training camps, and college football betting lines already are open for business.
Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller kicked off the season July 4 by posting numbers on 59 college games. After one week, he said, about half of the lines have moved one point or more.
“It’s to perk the interest and get people rolling on football,” Miller said. “Real close to 90 percent of play at the beginning is from wiseguys.”
Professional bettors are taking early positions and picking apart the lines at the Golden Nugget, where the wagering limit is $1,000. More options will be available Sunday, when the Las Vegas Hilton opens its lines for several college games.
Miller was first to put up college numbers, and he did so with the help of oddsmakers at Las Vegas Sports Consultants.
At this point, the highest-profile game of the season is Ohio State at Southern California on Sept. 13. The Trojans opened as 31/2-point favorites, and the line is up to 41/2.
“That’s the biggest game everyone is looking at, and that (line) might go up,” said Miller, speculating that USC could close as a favorite of 7 points or more.
Handicapper Phil Steele ranks the Buckeyes No. 2 in the nation. Ohio State returns 19 starters, including star running back Beanie Wells. Steele ranks Florida No. 1, Oklahoma third and USC fourth.
Also on Sept. 13, Notre Dame hosts Michigan in a game that has seen a major line move. The Wolverines opened as 3-point favorites, but money on the other side has made the Irish 2-point favorites.
Oklahoma, led by sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford, opened a 31/2-point favorite over Texas in a neutral-site game at Dallas on Oct. 11. The Sooners now are favored by 51/2.
One UNLV game is on the board. The Rebels are 4-point home underdogs to UNR on Sept. 27. The Wolf Pack opened as a 6-point favorite.
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907.COLLEGE FOOTBALL BETTING
The Golden Nugget sports book opened lines on 59 of this season’s top college football games, including (HOME TEAM IN CAPS):
SOUTHERN CAL 4 Ohio State
NOTRE DAME 2 Michigan
Georgia 6 ARIZONA STATE
y-Oklahoma 5 Texas
z-Florida 2 Georgia
OHIO STATE 16 Michigan
Florida 8 FLORIDA STATE
SOUTHERN CAL 17 Notre Dame
y-at Dallas; z-at Jacksonville, Fla.