Vegas has provided sports gamblers with another Christmas as 5Dimes released certain over/under win totals for college football teams yesterday with Penn State included. The sportsbook seems to think very highly of Penn State, setting the Nittany Lions' line at 8.5 wins with money lines of +150 if you take the over and -190 if you take the under (meaning that the "favorite" is the under).
The number seems pretty fair, at least by Vegas standards, due to the higher expectations placed on the Lions after a remarkable first year under Bill O'Brien. Most previews that have come out so far peg the team to hover right around that same 8-4 mark the team reached in 2012. Most fans that I've talked to like Penn State to go anywhere from 7-5 to 9-3. And Vegas tends to know a thing about what people would be willing to put money down on. They have been at this racket for a while now.
Last year, most sportsbooks put Penn State's projected win total at either 6.5 or 7 wins before the sanctions were announced. To my knowledge, no one went and changed their projections afterwards and I'm sure that Sin City made a killing on people who thought that the NCAA buried Penn State for the 2012 season. The total being higher this year may come as a surprise to some, but as Devon said in an email conversation, no one is putting Penn State v. Illinois down this year as a pick 'em.
Some of the odds I do like that were announced yesterday:
Alabama: over 11.5 (+140) - These guys aren't losing more than one game next year. (EDIT: I thought this included conference championship games, but it doesn't. Still, give me the over for value and only LSU being a toss-up game in my eyes.)
Arizona State: over 9.5 (+175) - They get Wisconsin, USC, Oregon State and Arizona all at home with their only tough road test coming at Stanford early in the Pac-12 season. Todd Graham led the Sun Devils to eight wins last year with a much tougher slate.
Louisville: over 10.5 (-130) - Yeah, you gotta pay a little extra to make some money, but Louisville's schedule is cake and Teddy Bridgewater may end up being your Heisman Trophy winner. If you have an extra few bucks, this seems right.
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