College football line movement: Betting market likes Alabama to roll Arkansas

We're entering the final days of September, which means the early part of the college football season is in the rear view mirror. Most of the Week 5 slate features conference matchups, which should lead to more intrigue and more competitive games. Yahoo Sportsbook's Nick Bromberg took a look at the current conference odds and how they've changed since the start of the season. They'll certainly change even more after this weekend.

Betting lines are released on Sunday, and then they are molded in the early part of the week by the action we see in the market. As more and more data is available on these teams, bettors are willing to take stronger stands in certain matchups. Which games on the Week 5 slate have seen the biggest movement in the early part of the week?

Line moves in favor of Alabama against Arkansas

Alabama kicked off its SEC schedule last week, beating Vanderbilt by a score of 55-3 and covering as a 40.5-point favorite in the process. The Crimson Tide face their first true conference test this week when they travel to Fayetteville to meet the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Of course, when it comes to Alabama, a "test" means the Crimson Tide are still three-score favorites. And even when they go on the road to face a team that could very easily be 4-0 if not for a loud doink on a field goal attempt last week, bettors can't resist betting Alabama.

The Crimson Tide opened the week as a 14.5-point favorite against Arkansas, but as of Wednesday afternoon, that line has moved three points in favor of Alabama. Currently, Alabama is a 17.5-point favorite.

Going on the road hasn't been all that easy for the Crimson Tide over the last year or so. Last season, they went to Texas A&M and lost and then beat Florida and Auburn by just two points each. Earlier this season, they went to Austin and won by just one point as a 21-point favorite against Texas.

However, that hasn't stopped bettors from moving Saturday's line three points, through the somewhat key number of 17.

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - SEPTEMBER 24: Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a touchdown to Traeshon Holden #11 against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first half of the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 24, 2022 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Bettors like Alabama to win big in Week 5 of the college football season. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Other Power Five matchups moving

What other Power Five matchups are on the move this week?

  • Minnesota opened as a 10.5-point favorite against Purdue, but that line is now up to 12.5. The Golden Gophers look like they might be the class of the Big Ten West.

  • After losing straight up as a 13.5-point favorite last week, bettors like Oklahoma to bounce back this week. The Sooners opened as 4.5-point favorites against TCU, but that number is now up to 6.5 points at BetMGM.

  • USC improved to 4-0 last week with an ugly win against Oregon State. USC is a 26.5-point favorite this week against Arizona State, which is up 2.5 points from the opening number of 24. Arizona State is 1-3 on the season and lost 34-13 in their first game of the post-Herm Edwards era last week against Utah.

  • Wake Forest almost beat Clemson last week, but it's a significant underdog this week against Florida State. The Demon Deacons opened as 5.5-point underdogs, but the line is now 7 at BetMGM. Florida State is 4-0, including wins over LSU, Louisville and Boston College.

  • Wisconsin opened as an 8.5-point favorite against Illinois, but that line is down to just seven points. Wisconsin is coming off a thumping at the hands of Ohio State last week.

  • Ole Miss opened as a 5.5-point favorite against Kentucky, but that number is up to 6.5 points. Kentucky was a similar road underdog against Florida earlier this season and won the game outright.

  • The Mel Tucker honeymoon period is over for fans of Michigan State, as his team has been rolled in back-to-back weeks by Washington and Minnesota. This week, the Spartans are 8.5-point underdogs on the road against Maryland. The line opened at seven, but the market has taken a stance against Michigan State.

  • Mississippi State opened as a 2.5-point favorite against Texas A&M, but that number has moved through the key number of three. Currently, the Bulldogs are 3.5-point home favorites.

Biggest line movements come from Group of Five

Sometimes, the more under-the-radar games provide the biggest betting opportunities. The three biggest line movements of the week so far have come in games featuring Group of Five teams.

  • Wyoming opened as a 1.5-point home favorite against San Jose State. However, the favorite has flipped and San Jose State is now a 3-point favorite on the road.

  • Kent State opened as a 7.5-point favorite against Ohio University, but that line has moved four points from the opener. Currently, the Golden Flashes are 11.5-point favorites. Kent State was relatively impressive against Georgia last week, scoring 22 points and losing by just 17 points as a 45-point underdog.

  • South Alabama opened as a 4.5-point favorite against Louisiana, but that number is now up to 8.5-points at BetMGM, going right through the key number of seven. South Alabama is 3-1 on the season and almost knocked off UCLA on the road.

Totals going wild

Eight games have seen their totals move at least five points from the opening number, which is a massive move.