Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion celebrates with fans after defeating… (Greg Wahl-Stephens / Associated…)
Bettors in Las Vegas sports books apparently think they have a winner in Oregon State.
UCLA opened as a 10 1/2-point favorite over Oregon State in Saturday's football game at Rose Bowl, but early money placed on the Beavers has moved the line to seven points.
That's an unusually large adjustment in the line, say industry experts.
Dramatic point-spread shifts can alarm bookmakers, but this one doesn't have a sinister feel, said Jay Rood, director of MGM Resorts' book. Rather, bettors are putting their money on what they feel might be an undervalued team.
In its only game this season, Oregon State was an 8 1/2-point underdog against Wisconsin but won the game, 10-7.
"Oregon State dominated the game," Rood said. "They've delivered as an underdog … We're getting really strong opinions on that team, and maybe we're undervaluing them too."
UCLA is unbeaten in three games and has been explosive on offense, which "warrants them, being at home, with having more than a touchdown point advantage," Rood said.
Jay Kornegay, who runs the Las Vegas Hilton sports book, said line shifts of 2 to 2 1/2 points can happen in college, but that deeper action like this on Oregon State requires necessary line adjustments.
Kornegay said he has 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. "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."