Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 | 7:30 p.m.
Sports Betting Blog
If the purpose of the BCS National Championship Game is to pair the two best teams in the country, Las Vegas oddsmakers agree with the matchup between LSU and Alabama.
The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook opened LSU as a 1.5-point favorite over Alabama after the national championship matchup was revealed Sunday evening. Oklahoma State, a team that was controversially left out of the game after finishing third in the BCS standings, would have opened around a 10-point underdog in a hypothetical matchup against either LSU or Alabama at the Hilton.
“Personally, I thought it would have been a little more intriguing with Oklahoma State in there,” Superbook director Jay Kornegay said Sunday night. “I just thought it would have been something different. But I’ve asked a lot of people over this last week or so, and there’s a split. People think the two best teams should play in the national championship. I can’t argue with that.”
The outrage over LSU vs. Alabama comes because it’s a rematch of a game played less than a month ago. The Tigers went to Tuscaloosa, Ala., as 6-point underdogs and beat the Crimson Tide outright 9-6.
The result didn’t convince Kornegay and other bookmakers that LSU was the better team. In fact, sports books would have posted Alabama as a slight favorite in an immediate rematch on a neutral field.
The only reason LSU opened as a favorite in the national championship, according to Kornegay, was because it looked more impressive than Alabama in the final four games of the season. The fact that the game is scheduled for the Superdome in New Orleans favors LSU, too.
“I believe Alabama is a slightly better team than LSU,” Kornegay said. “We kind of felt that the perception was LSU was going to be a favorite. But if there wasn’t another book in this world, we probably would have put up Alabama -1.”
Most other Las Vegas shops posted LSU as a chalkier favorite. Down the road from the Superbook, Wynn installed LSU as 2.5-point favorites.
The over/under was more universal, with almost every book deciding 40 was the right number — down from the 41.5 total when the teams first met.
LSU was more kind to bettors than Alabama this year, as the Tigers terrorized competition with a 10-3 record against-the-spread. The only three games they didn’t cover came in blowout victories against Northwestern State, Kentucky and Western Kentucky.
The Crimson Tide went a respectable 8-4 against-the-spread. Although sports books wouldn’t have expected much from Oklahoma State against either SEC team, the Cowboys have defied the odds more than any team this season.
They are 11-1 against-the-spread and managed to cover in every game they won. Oklahoma State was a 3-point favorite against Oklahoma Saturday in its season finale and won 44-10 to further ratchet up the noise for a national championship berth.
“Entertainment-wise, I think Oklahoma State would have been better — especially after their performance yesterday,” Kornegay said.
The Hilton took no significant action on the national championship within the first two hours of posting the spread, but saw more small plays trickle in on LSU. Las Vegas’ biggest sports book will unveil the rest of its BCS numbers sometime Monday.
Wynn had Oklahoma State as 3.5-point favorites over Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, Oregon as 5-point favorites over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, Clemson as 1.5-point favorites over West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and Virginia Tech as 2.5-point favorites over Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.