Do you remember Encyclopedia Brown? I liked those stories when I was a kid. It was fun to see if you could spot the clue that good ol’ Leroy would use to break the case wide open. At this point you’re probably wondering how this relates to Clemson football.
I’ve put on my Encyclopedia Brown cap here for the last few days. I’m calling it “Clemson Football and the Mystery of the Shrinking Spread”.
Clemson opened as a 7.5-point favorite over Florida State. My initial reaction was that it was a reasonable amount, and quite respectful toward a Seminole squad that is legitimately improved over the past few years. The game is also in Tallahassee. It’s a tough place for a visiting team to play. -7.5 sounded very fair.
Then something odd happened. The spread dropped almost immediately to -4 points. That isn’t trivial. The spread was almost cut in half in just a few hours. What could be causing such a big change?
The first and most obvious reason why a line will move is that a large amount of money has been placed on one of the sides, and the books move the line to encourage betting on the opposite side. The books want to balance the betting as best they can between the two sides.
If this happened, then we can infer that a lot of money was bet on Florida State covering the spread, and it happened quickly. For this to be true, either many bettors quickly bet on FSU, or a few bettors each placed big money on the Seminoles, and the books saw it immediately and made a fast change.
I suppose this scenario could be true, but often when this happens and the line shrinks, it’s common for other bettors to take advantage and put money on the other side, in this case, on Clemson -4. This will often cause the line to move back in the other direction. It probably wouldn’t get back to -7.5, but you would think it would probably pop back up to -5 or -6.
That didn’t happen. Wynnbet now shows this spread at -3.5. It has dropped another half point since Sunday.
This suggests that bettors were still putting more money on Florida State than on Clemson even after the spread dropped by nearly 50%. Hmmm.
Time for my Leroy impression. What could explain this situation?
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change