Labor Day weekend was supposed to give us a full slate of college football to watch and wager upon, but all we get are a handful of schools willing to put themselves out there, beginning Thursday night with South Alabama at Southern Miss (-14.5). There’ll be four games Saturday and one Monday night game with BYU at Navy.
No ranked teams. No big power conference schools. And also, not a lot of action yet according to William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich.
“We posted the college football lines this morning (Monday) at 6:45 a.m. and haven’t seen much action at all except for some over money on the Navy game (53),” Bogdanovich said. “There’s too much going on every day with sports that don’t normally crossover in the fall (NBA and NHL), so people are just firing away on what’s happening tonight and they’ll get to college football when those games come around, day of.”
COVID-19 made most of our betting lives miserable in the spring and summer with no action, but it’s paying us back with an incredible fall lineup, albeit without Pac-12 or Big Ten college football or preseason pro football.
“It’s just been a weird year so far, but very busy,” Bogdanovich said. “Without the preseason games no one is talking about the NFL right now like they all usually do. But I can tell you when that Thursday night opener between Houston and Kansas City (-10, 55) comes around, it is going to have a monster handle. As of right now, though, we don’t have a lot of action on it.”
The @BorgataSports reports its first six-figure bet of the college football season — $110,000 on BYU +1.
Cougars take on Navy on Monday.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) September 1, 2020
So let’s get on with this improbable weekend of sports and to get us firing on all cylinders right out of the gate I’ve enlisted the help of Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White who has adjusted his 2020 college football magazine several times over the past four months to keep up with what each school is doing.
“It’s been a lot of work updating constantly changing schedules, who is playing, adjusting team power ratings, adjusting my final score projections, and percentages to win and season win totals, and then adjust the conference ratings for all, but I should have the most up to date product available,” White said.
White started his first college football magazine available to the public last season and it was the type of great information he utilized daily creating odds for Las Vegas sportsbooks for the past three decades. His updated magazine featuring 77 teams covers 100 pieces of paper and 200 pages and can be bought in PDF form at KennyWhiteSports.com for $19.99 or have a print version mailed for $29.99.
White’s attention for this week’s games turned immediately to the Monday night game where Navy has dropped from a 2.5-point home favorite down to -1 against BYU.
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“I think BYU is really good, “White said. “I like their QBs, they’re deep with quality talent, and most of all what I like for this game is that their defense has been practicing defending the wishbone for the last three weeks. They’ll be ready for it.”
He also thinks the Memphis spread against Arkansas State is overinflated.
“The best running back for Memphis, Kenneth Gainwell, opted out, which drops their returning running back stats from 62% down to 14%,” White said. “He also caught 51 passes last season so the passing game may be affected as well.
“The back-up, Kaylen Watkins, should be just fine as he averaged 5.2 yards-per-carry in limited play last season. Still, it’s a 1-point drop-off to the number. I like returning Memphis QB Brady White, a graduate transfer from ASU, but it looks like the number is where it should be.”
The Westgate SuperBook initially opened Memphis as a 21-point favorite with the total at 71.5, but they now have them -18.5 with a total up to 72.
“Memphis has 80% of their tacklers from last season back and it’s a defense that has improved the last three seasons allowing only 390 yards per game last season,” he said.
White says he likes Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson and also that QB Lane Hatcher returns as the starter, a positive for the offense to hang around and put some drives together for a Sun Belt team that averaged 34 points last season as well as allowing an average of 34 points in 2019.
“Arkansas State lost its top-6 tacklers last season, but they’ll go up-tempo with Memphis and have some success,” White said. “I’m thinking this could be a spot for a first-half wager taking the points because I could see each team doing a little feeling around or being conservative early on to find their way.”
We may only have a handful of college football games to bet on this Labor Day weekend, but we’ve also got NBA & NHL Playoffs, mixed in with NASCAR Playoffs beginning, Golf’s PGA Tour Championship, while baseball keeps hanging in there daily for us all, culminating to give us the widest range of betting experiences in Labor Day weekend betting history.
Also, the first Saturday in September gives us the delayed Kentucky Derby. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend. Enjoy.