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USC's big point line splits bettors

October 04, 2007|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

There are times when oddsmakers peg an event so right, money is split evenly for supporters on each side. That's the case with several college football games this week, highlighted by USC's 39.5-point line over Stanford.

Although the Trojans, who have won 35 consecutive home games, are heavily favored to defeat the Cardinal, about half of the early bettors do not agree they will cover the spread at the Coliseum on Saturday.

When you consider Coach Pete Carroll's team is 2-8 in its last 10 games against the spread when it has been favored by 10.5 points or greater, it makes sense to see USC receive only 50.59% of the bets (436-426), as of Wednesday night, according to Wagerline.com.

Stanford, which will start backup quarterback Tavita Pritchard, is 7-3 in its last 10 games as a road underdog against the spread, and although the Trojans have won five games in a row in the series, the Cardinal have won two of the last three games against the spread.

Oddsmakers do not only make things difficult for bettors on oversized-point lines, they also can draw wager balance with tight games. Rutgers is a 3.5-point home favorite over Cincinnati and the Scarlet Knights have picked up 51.2% (535-510) of the bets.

It's a similar situation with Wyoming, which is a three-point home favorite over Texas Christian. The Cowboys hold a slight edge at 50.50% (452-443).

Then you have a game such as Oklahoma vs. Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. After last week, this game lost a great deal of luster when the Sooners lost at Colorado and the Longhorns were upset at home by Kansas State.

But bettors have liked the action this week with Oklahoma listed as an 11-point favorite by Sportsbook.com. Texas, which is expected to start quarterback Colt McCoy (who was injured last week), has received 48.68% support, compared to the Sooners 51.32% (546-518).

Pro football

Just wanted to throw this out there from sportsbetting.com: Washington, New Orleans, Tennessee and Jacksonville were the first teams in the NFL to have an off week this season.

Since the league went to this rotating schedule, teams returning from the season's first break are 13-5 against the spread the following week, including a perfect 4-0 record at home.

Hockey

According to the latest Vegas odds on this season's Stanley Cup winner, the Philadelphia Flyers have made the biggest jump since the draft, going from 85/1 to 25/1. Others to move include the New York Rangers (14/1 to 8/1); San Jose (11/1 to 8/1); Pittsburgh (14/1 to 10/1) and Colorado (22/1 to 14/1).

The biggest drops? Buffalo (7/1 to 10/1), Nashville (13/1 to 22/1) and New York Islanders (35/1 to 60/1).

The odds on the Ducks have remained at 11/2 and the Kings are the same at 60/1.

lonnie.white@latimes.com

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