College football doesn’t kick off for three months, but that didn’t stop the South Point sports book from announcing opening betting lines for the first week of the season.
According to VSiN’s Matt Youmans, the first two hours Thursday drew $70,000 in bets, and many of those were certainly on Ohio State, the No. 1 team in the nation according to book director Chris Andrews.
The Buckeyes, who start their 2017 season on the road on Aug. 31 against Indiana, open as 21-point favorites vs. the Hoosiers, but that wasn’t the biggest spread of the day in the Big Ten. Minnesota also opens its season Aug. 31 and is a 31-point favorite vs. Buffalo.
Those big spreads probably aren’t a huge surprise for the first week. Many Big Ten schools are heavy favorites in their openers: Wisconsin (-37), Michigan State (-18), Iowa (-11.5), Penn State (-39), Nebraska (-19), Northwestern (-28), Illinois (-11).
One of the closest opening matchups, according to South Point, is the Michigan-Florida game on Sept. 2. That game is a big one for Jim Harbaugh’s team and the conference, as many eyes will be on the Big Ten-SEC matchup.
Aside from Indiana, there are three other Big Ten teams that opened as underdogs in Week 1. Louisville is a 27-point favorite vs. Purdue in a neutral-site game in Indianapolis, while Texas is a 23-point home favorite against Maryland. Rutgers is the conference’s biggest Week 1 underdog — a 33-point underdog against Washington.