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Oregon State attracting bettors' interest vs. UCLA

September 20, 2012|By Lance Pugmire
  • Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion celebrates with fans after defeating Wisconsin, 10-7, two weeks ago.
Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion celebrates with fans after defeating… (Greg Wahl-Stephens / Associated…)

Gamblers in Las Vegas flocked to bet on Oregon State when sports books listed UCLA as more than a 10-point favorite, resulting in a substantial dip in the point spread.

Unbeaten UCLA (3-0), which will play Oregon State at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, stands as a seven-point favorite at the multi-property MGM Resorts sports book and at the LVH casino.

“The sharp bettors think highly of Oregon State,” said Jay Rood, director of MGM Resorts’ book. “It’s all sharp money now.”

While dramatic point-spread moves can sometimes alarm bookmakers, Rood said since the heavy betting is coming on Oregon State to win following a similar pattern in the Beavers’ upset of Wisconsin this month, he does not suspect anything sinister.

Oregon State opened against defending Big Ten Conference champion Wisconsin as an 8½-point underdog Sept. 8 in Corvallis, Ore., and won the game straight up, 10-7.

“Oregon State dominated the game,” Rood said. “They’ve delivered as an underdog and the sharps like them. We’re getting really strong opinions on that team, and maybe we’re undervaluing them too.”

Rood said Oregon State’s seeming resurgence remains a bit unproven to him, however, and as they venture on a Pac-12 road game against an unbeaten Bruins team that has displayed a strong offense, which “warrants them, being at home, with having more than a touchdown point advantage.”

Jay Kornegay, who runs the LVH book, said line shifts of 2 to 2½ points can happen in college, but deeper action like this on Oregon State requires these necessary line adjustments.

Kornegay said he took no more than three of the maximum $5,000 bets on Oregon State since the line opened late Saturday, but has also monitored the game’s line across town and at offshore Internet casinos for perspective.

“How I move the line — this might sound corny — is like an art form, a feel,” Kornegay said. “We took the $5,000 bets, but we also know the sharps are playing it. When you get a feel that, 'Wow! They’re really playing a side,' you need to move the line a half-point or full point even if it’s based on nothing but what we call 'air,' our own feel.

“This line was too high, and we’ve moved it … you’ve got to be with the market.”

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