NCAAF opening line report: Massive Michigan support moves line vs. Wisconsin
Patrick Everson

"The early bettors aren’t concerned that the Wolverines covered the number just once in their last 10 meetings versus the Badgers"

Week 12 of the college football season is one of the weakest on the entire schedule, with arguably just one marquee matchup. But thanks to betting, you can always find a few noteworthy games. Patrick Everson checks in on the opening lines and early action, with insights from Dave Mason, brand manager for offshore sportsbook BetOnline.ag.

No. 18 Michigan Wolverines at No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers (-8.5)

Wisconsin continues to push toward what it hopes will be a berth in the four-team College Football Playoff, though it is not yet among the top four in those rankings. The Badgers (10-0 SU, 6-4 ATS) rumbled over upstart Iowa 38-14 as a 12.5-point home chalk in Week 11.

Michigan has no CFP hopes at all, but could certainly play a giant spoiler this week. The Wolverines (8-2 SU, 4-5-1 ATS) have won three in a row (2-1 ATS), including Saturday’s 35-10 rout of Maryland as a 14.5-point road favorite.

“So far, Michigan is the most popular bet on the entire college football betting board,” Mason said. “The early bettors aren’t concerned that the Wolverines covered the number just once in their last 10 meetings versus the Badgers, as 89 percent of bettors are taking the points. It’s down to 7.5.”

Virginia Cavaliers at No. 2 Miami Hurricanes (-18)

No one is doubting Miami’s credentials any longer. The Hurricanes (9-0 SU, 5-4 ATS) blew right through highly touted Notre Dame in Week 11, posting a 41-8 victory as a 3.5-point home underdog.

Virginia is just hoping the ‘Canes have some kind of letdown after such a huge win. The Cavaliers (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) got out of the gate 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS, but they’ve since lost three of four SU and ATS. On Saturday, Virginia went to Louisville as a 13.5-point ‘dog and fell 38-21 on Saturday.

“Miami’s trouncing of Notre Dame was the biggest winner of the college football weekend for the house,” Mason said. “With the Hurricanes’ huge win in prime time, it’s surprising that early bettors prefer UVA. Only about 44 percent of the tickets are on the ‘Canes so far.”

UCLA Bruins at No. 10 Southern California Trojans (-15)

Southern Cal was among the preseason favorites to make a run at the national title, but that’s extremely unlikely now. However, the Trojans (9-2 SU, 3-7-1 ATS) have won three in a row and scored a lot of points since getting shellacked at Notre Dame. USC topped Colorado 38-24 in Week 11, pushing as a 14-point road fave.

UCLA’s season is already up in flames, with a 5-5 SU and 3-7 ATS mark. The Bruins bested Arizona State 44-37 laying 3 points at home on Saturday.

“Early bettors don’t seem too enthused with the battle for Los Angeles, as there are five times more bets on Michigan alone than both UCLA and USC combined,” Mason said. “Perhaps the action is a little slow so far (because) neither team has been generous to bettors this year. The early bet count is split 50/50.”

Navy Midshipmen at No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-18.5)

Notre Dame was pretty much eliminated from the CFP in Week 11, and in downright embarrassing fashion to boot. As noted above, the Irish (8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS) went to Miami as a 3.5-point chalk and got boatraced 41-8.

Navy (6-3 SU, 4-3-2 ATS) won its first five games, then lost three in row before righting the ship on Saturday. The Midshipmen held off Southern Methodist 43-40 giving 1.5 points at home.

“Up until a couple of weeks ago, the public won a ton of money off of Notre Dame,” Mason said. “However, over the last two weeks, the house won big off of the Irish failing to cover versus Wake Forest and Miami. Bettors don’t seem to be so eager to bet Notre Dame, as 64 percent of the early bets are on the Midshipmen, moving them down to +17.5.”