LSU and Alabama played to a virtual draw for 60 minutes until the Tigers kicked the game winning field goal to win 9-6 in overtime. While some college football fans may scoff at the lack scoring the same way they do in 1-0 baseball game, there’s no denying that the ’Game of the Year’ was thick with drama throughout and captivating.
In a game like this that plays out almost exactly like most of us wanted it to, it’s the little things that sometimes stand out. They get exposed more and we never really took notice in pre-game analysis. Right from the start, the weakness of Alabama’s kicking game was exposed – missing four field goal attempts.
Perhaps the best part of the entire game was the chess match between the two field generals. The battle between Les Miles and Nick Saban was like Rommel v Patton or Spassky v Fischer; two great minds at their craft playing to a stalemate for much of the match.
A lot of us probably found ourselves finding a new gained respect for the job that Miles did in berating such a formidable opponent in one of the greatest home field advantages in football.
Do we want to see it again?
Kind of. Most of us still wanted more after the game was over.
Not only just because of maybe a bet on Alabama, but because of the edge-of-the-seat excitement each possession and play provided. Between the history and status of these two programs and also the fact that they may be the two best teams in the nation, what would be wrong with seeing them go at it again.
LSU may look like they have a clear path to the BCS Championship game, but they still have two pretty formidable opponents left. Arkansas has proven to be a completely different team on the road, but they’ll give LSU a game in Baton Rouge on Nov. 25. Should LSU win, they’ll likely play Georgia for the SEC Championship.
For Alabama to get into position to play LSU again, they’ll need a lot of help beginning with Oregon beating Stanford this week. To help their cause, Alabama should hope for Auburn to beat Georgia this week to strengthen their rating and get a few bonus points for beating them November 26 in the Iron Bowl. They’ll then need Oklahoma to knock off Oklahoma State on Dec. 3.
As west coast football fans, most of us still have hopes for Stanford and Boise State, but are we sure either of those two teams could provide the type of football game most of us want to see, the type we just watched on Saturday. It’s doubtful, so let’s play two.
Las Vegas Hilton Super Book vice-president Jay Kornegay disagrees and believes someone else should get a chance.
“The BCS wants to see a rematch, but I don’t. If Boise State is undefeated with only one other team, they deserve a shot at the National Championship.”
Books do well
Between all the hoopla that surrounded the “Game of the Year’, having a large group from Idaho in town and having the Breeders’ Cup running, the Las Vegas sports books saw a boost in handle over the same weekend last year.
Horse bettors that don’t normally bet sports were drawn to the sports side to make wagers and be part of the excitement.
People who rarely ever come into a casino were drawn in just because of the LSU-Alabama game. While some just made their bet on the game by itself and went home, others stayed a little longer and either played a parlay tying other teams to the big game or took part in some of the other casino activities.
Boise State fans filled the Silver Bowl on Saturday night, but were present all over the Strip and downtown the rest of the time.
Across the board at every casino on Saturday, cash flow was up and it had nothing to do with the marketing department, but rather the circumstance of just being Vegas like no other place in the world can be.
The sports books won on Saturday, but it wasn’t because of LSU winning. It was more about having higher handle and beating a couple of late games with the underdogs coming out strong throughout the weekend.
Last week the favorites went 22-30 with 17 of the underdogs winning outright. The day started out great for the books when some of the Big-10 schools didn’t cover, including Northwestern winning at Nebraska 28-25 as a 17-point underdog. Louisville also jumped on the double-digit do train by winning at West Virginia as a 13-point dog.
Although Stanford covered again (8-0-1 ATS), for some reason there was plenty of support from the public on Oregon State taking the 21 points. Different week, same story, Stanford steam rolled the Beavers in the second half to win 38-13 and sets up a great match this week at home against Oregon.
Oklahoma State was playing Kansas State on ABC at the same time the Big Game was going on and the public loved laying the 21-points as part of their late action with either LSU or Alabama. K-State almost pulled off the upset, but still covered, losing 52-45.
As for the LSU game, most sports books reported it being either a small win or a wash, showing just how evenly bet the game was.
“They played this game like a Bowl game, “said South Point sports book director Bert Osborne, “they laid the points with Alabama to took the plus-money with LSU on the money-line.”
Osborne said he bounced around with the LSU money-line from +175 to +170 most of the day Saturday.
With the day being almost over and the sports books having a great day thus far, all they needed to secure it was beat Boise State and Hawaii.
The visitors from Idaho had a big impact on the handle betting with their team colors, but the locals were also very knowledgeable on UNLV, opting to side with BSU as well.
The Rebels played with a lot of passion early and at one juncture, just before the half, the score was tied 14-14. Boise State rolled to a 48-21 win, but came nowhere close to covering the 42-point everyone needed.
The last piece of the winning pie for the books came when Utah State scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat everyone’s favorite late ‘get-back’ team, Hawaii (-4), 35-31.
The only thing missing to make this the ultimate Vegas weekend for race and sports bettors was championship boxing match. But we’ll get that this weekend at the MGM Grand when Manny Pacquiao takes Juan Manuel Marquez. Pac-man is a -1000 (a 1-10) favorite.