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Odds and Ends

Bookmakers satisfied with weekend CFB handle

by Sam Panayotovich
Updated On: September 7, 2020, 5:57 pm ET

I already knew the answer to the question before I asked it. 

How was the college football betting handle on the first weekend with multiple games?

“The handle was even better than we imagined,” PointsBet Sportsbook senior sports analyst Andrew Mannino told NBC Sports. “Obviously, it’s a lighter slate for this time of the year, but people were excited to bet football again. On a per game basis, there was a lot of interest.”

The first game kicked off at noon Eastern time and the last game ended around midnight. It was a wall-to-wall Saturday of action and the schedule will only get busier as the season progresses.

Favorites ruled the day early with Marshall (-25) destroying Eastern Kentucky 59-0 and Army (-3.5) steam rolling Middle Tennessee 42-0. SMU (-24.5) struggled with Texas State, but escaped 31-24 giving underdog backers their first win. Then, North Texas (-23) eeked out a cover against Houston Baptist 57-31, UTEP (-5) beat Stephen F. Austin 24-14 and Arkansas State (+18) got a backdoor cover against Memphis as the Tigers won 37-24.

And while there were only six college games on Saturday, sports bettors had plenty of opportunities to lay down a bet. Live wagering is getting more and more popular across the country. Now more than any other time, bettors can fire a sports bet at any point of any game. Mannino estimated that 40 percent of all college football bets were in-game wagers.

Any big decisions for the house?

“Arkansas State-Memphis was a great outcome for us, but all in all we had a good weekend overall," Mannino explained. "We really didn’t do badly on anything.”

The Labor Day weekend ends with a stand-alone college football game tonight between BYU and Navy at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. 

“We opened up BYU +3, now they’re giving -1,” Mannino said. “After all that action, we’ll be rooting for Navy tonight. And almost all our total bets are on the Under. We’re rooting for Navy and the Over.”

Sam Panayotovich

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst from the South Side of Chicago. He'll probably pick against your favorite team a lot. Follow him @spshoot