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Collision or side swipe?

Sep 13, 2008 8:23 PM

by Mark Mayer | What’s billed as the “Collision at the Coliseum” looks more like a fender bender with USC a substantial betting favorite.

The long awaited Ohio State-USC matchup at the LA Coliseum happens tonight, but will the impact be as great as the billing? The Trojans were a 4½-point favorite a few weeks ago at the Las Vegas Hilton, but the line has ballooned to 11½ with Ohio State’s best runner Chris "Beanie" Wells injured and declared out of action.

As the third full week of college football begins, underdogs have nearly erased the edge favorites owned against the spread to this point. With covers the past two days by North Carolina and Kansas, the underdogs have closed within two of favorites (44-42-2).

Baylor was the one favorite of the three early Division I contests to cover, whipping Washington State 45-17. Interestingly, Baylor opened as a 5-point underdog and the public swung the line eight points to a -3 favorite.

As bettors know, the Ohio State-USC game is not the only choice on the menu. Some of matchups that figure to have heavy betting interest include:

Michigan -1½ at Notre Dame

Wisconsin -1½ at Fresno State

Georgia Tech +6½ at Virginia Tech

UCLA +8½ at BYU

Oregon -7½ at Purdue

Georgia -7 at South Carolina

Oklahoma -21 at Washington

UNLV +24 at Arizona State

Favorites at one time held a 24-15 edge against the spread through 39 games. If you’re looking ahead to next week’s slate, here are the early "Games of the Year" lines provided by the Hilton Super Book that can be bet now:

Thursday, Sept. 18

West Virginia -1 at Colorado

Saturday, Sept. 20

Florida -9 at Tennessee

Georgia -6½ at Arizona St

Virginia Tech -4 at North Carolina

Boise St +12½ at Oregon

Iowa St -6½ at UNLV

Wake Forest +6½ at Florida St

Notre Dame +6 at Michigan St