College Football Playoff semifinals could set betting records – CDC Gaming Reports


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sportsbook director Jay Kornegay expects huge crowds at Westgate’s Las Vegas location this weekend and Monday to bet on the two College Football Playoff semifinals.

Part of it is timing. Last season’s games were on New Year’s Eve. This season on New Year’s Day.

The other part is the field. Michigan, ranked No. 1 by the CFP committee, faces No. 4 Alabama in the Rose Bowl and No. 2 Washington plays No. 3 Texas in the Sugar Bowl.

“We expect the handle to double, possibly triple what we did last year, mainly because the games are being played on New Year’s Day instead of New Year’s Eve,” said Kornegay, Westgate’s vice president of racing and sports operations. “The participants definitely have a huge fan base.”

Kornegay said the increased betting will happen not just at the Las Vegas book, but at his locations across the country. Westgate has books in eight states besides Nevada.

“The volume may be rising like we’ve never seen before,” Kornegay said. “So we’re definitely looking for potential records during this year’s playoffs.”

The tides are flowing

Michigan opened as a 2 1/2-point favorite at Caesars Sportsbook, but the number was bet to 1 1/2 with an influx of Alabama money. Caesars even moved the line to their choice at one point with about 75% of bets coming on the Tide.

But Book took a nearly $80,000 bet from a professional bettor on the Wolverines to bring the streak back to 1 1/2.

“That tells me Michigan should be a slight favorite in this game,” said Joey Wiesel, who heads college football betting at Caesars. “But the public is too burdened by the crimson tide.”

Westgate had a similar experience. Michigan also opened as a 2 1/2-point favorite. The bet was one point after the Tide’s move came into play before the Wolverines moved into two-point favorites.

“Based on history, we know the Alabama money will show up,” Kornegay said.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which lists Alabama as a 1 1/2-point underdog, saw 81% of bets with the handle go for the Tide to win outright and 69% of bets and 75% of the money on them to cover the spread.

The other half

The betting line for the Texas-Washington match did not witness significant fluctuations. The Longhorns were usually 4 or 4 1/2 point favorites.

But like the other semifinals, most of the action revolves around the underdog.

At FanDuel, 78% of bets and 64% of bets are on Washington to win outright, and 69% of bets and 72% of bets are on the Huskies – 4 1/2 point underdogs – to cover the spread.

Field classification

Feazel is grateful that undefeated Florida State didn’t make it to the field. The Seminoles faltered at the end of the season after quarterback Jordan Travis suffered a leg injury on November 18.

“Without Jordan Travis, they were really just a shell of what they were before,” Wiesel said. “I still say Georgia would be better than Texas or Washington if we were to draw a line in a hypothetical matchup. The same Oregon would be favored over Texas and Washington as well, even though Washington beat them twice.

That doesn’t mean he disagreed with how the stadium was assembled.

“There are matches you have to win in order to compete for championships,” Wiesel said. “I wouldn’t blame the committee for deciding how to classify it.”

I look forward

Whichever team wins the Rose Bowl will be favored by FanDuel in the national championship on Jan. 8 in Houston.

Michigan will be a seven-point favorite over Washington and a three-point favorite over Texas. Alabama will be favored by 6 1/2 points over the Huskies and 2 1/2 over the Longhorns.

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