The long-awaited kickoff to the 2010 college football season is set for Thursday, with bettors taking aim at Week 1 NCAAF point spreads and totals. Patient bettors will see many of these numbers move in the hours before game time, meaning they can get better NCAAF line value if they wait and watch. Depending on which side they're wagering on, waiting until the public has its say might be the edge football bettors need to start the NCAA pigskin schedule off on the right foot. Here are a few lines to keep an eye on as kickoff draws closer:
ADVERTISEMENT: COLLEGE FOOTBALL ODDS MOVE QUICKLY AND YOU NEED TO STAY ON TOP OF THE BETTING ACTION TO GET THE BEST ODDS - VISIT Sportsbook TODAY FOR SOLID LINES AND TERRIFIC SIGNUP BONUSES! Thursday - Pittsburgh Panthers at Utah Utes (-3, 48.5 at Sportsbook)
This spread has already dipped at some sportsbooks, falling to 2.5 after Sportsbook as high as 3.5 in the weeks leading up to Thursday. Utah has won the respect of football bettors for its strong showing against BCS powers in past seasons; however, the Utes are lacking big-game experience on the defensive side of the ball and will struggle to contain Pitt's explosive rushing attack. Panthers running back Dion Lewis turned heads as a freshman last season, finishing third in the nation in rushing with 1,799 yards and 17 touchdowns. This year, the speedy sophomore is getting a ton of Heisman buzz heading into Thursday's prime-time opener. That media blitz is enough to sway public bettors to take the underdog in this Big East-MWC battle. Books could pull this one closer to -2 or even -1 by 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday.
LSU Tigers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (+3, 42 AT Sportsbook) This game has plagued books and bettors alike since word came out of Chapel Hill that the Tar Heels may sit a handful of players due to academic and NCAA rule violations. North Carolina has yet to release a depth chart or say which players are in jeopardy of missing Saturday's game in Atlanta, but rumors mention at least seven defensive starters from a stop unit that ranked sixth in the nation in 2009. Oddsmakers have taken this line for a ride in recent weeks, moving it from its Sportsbook post of UNC -1.5 to as high as +4 and eventually settling at its current spot of +3. The public will be on LSU regardless of what happens with the Tar Heels players, so now might be the time to pounce if you're wagering the Bayou Bengals.
Monday - Boise State Broncos at Virginia Tech Hokies (+2.5, 50.5 AT Sportsbook) Boise State has been one of the best bets in sports this past decade and added to that reputation with a 9-5 record against the spread last season. But if there was any secrecy left about how good the Broncos really are, the cat was let out of the bag in 2009. Despite playing in the WAC, Boise State is no longer a sleeper team and will be among the biggest public favorites in college football this season. While the spread may not budge for this contest, the total has already dropped from its Sportsbook of 52 all the way to its current stand at 50.5. Football bettors are well aware of the explosiveness of the Broncos, averaging 42.2 points in 2009 – tops in NCAA Div-1. However, this is Week 1 and with it comes some shaky offensive calls and Sportsbook-night jitters. Virginia Tech was the top defensive program in the ACC last year, allowing only 15.6 points per game. The Hokies do have plenty of new faces in the stop unit but won't roll over for BSU, especially at home where they were a stingy 2-5 over/under last season. Expect the betting total to ease into the 40's before kickoff Monday.