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Submitted by SportsMasters Consensus on Friday, January 04, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Even though most of the sports betting world will be focused intently on the NFL Wildcard games this weekend, there are TWO bowl games on tap to compliment the pro football schedule. The BBVA Compass Bowl matching Ole Miss and Pittsburgh will go early Saturday before a pair of Wildcard games. The Go-Daddy Bowl featuring Arkansas State and Kent State will go Sunday Night once the last two Wildcard games are in the books.

Let’s see what the sharps have been betting in the last two official “bowl” games of the college campaign. All that’s left after this will be Monday Night’s BCS Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama.

BBVA COMPASS BOWL

MISSISSIPPI vs. PITTSBURGH

Opening Line: Mississippi by 3, total of 52

Current Line: Mississippi by 3.5, total of 54

The earliest stores actually opened at Ole Miss -2. Sharp money on the favorite was apparent right away, which pushed the most common opener to -3. Sharps continued to play the favorite at a field goal, driving the line to the -3.5 that you see right now. There was a bit of see-sawing at some locales that saw a continued back-and-forth between the three and 3.5. That suggests a tug-of-war going on between different factions who have different preferences.

*Ole Miss money is in at -2, -2.5, and -3.

*Pittsburgh money is in at +3.5

If the public bets this game, which is far from likely because of its relatively small stature, it will likely be on the favorite from the SEC over the underdog from the Big East. Even though Louisville of the Big East shocked Florida of the SEC in the Gator Bowl, there’s still a general skepticism about the Big East from the gambling public.

The total has jumped two points from the opener. We’re hearing that this is due to sharp response to what’s been happening to SEC defenses in the postseason. They weren’t as good as expected, and tweaks to math models after bowl results suggested Over bets were in order. Weather isn’t likely to be too big a factor in this outdoor game in Birmingham. Though, there is a slight chance for light rain.

GO-DADDY BOWL

ARKANSAS STATE vs. KENT STATE

Opening Line: Arkansas State by 3, total of 61

Peak Line: Arkansas State by 5

Current Line: Arkansas State by 3.5, total of 61

Arkansas State and other Sun Belt teams were getting early support when lines first went up. Arkansas State’s typical peak was at -5, though some outliers went as high as -5.5 while others didn’t even reach the five. Enthusiasm for the Sun Belt began to wane when Western Kentucky lost to Central Michigan as a favorite, and Louisiana-Monroe was routed by Ohio as a favorite. Those were also Sun Belt-MAC battles like this one.

The settled, widely available line, is still above the opener, but below the peak. Sharps who liked the favorite have most of their money in at -3 and -3.5. Sharps who liked the dog are in at +5, +4.5, and +4. Our sources say that the dog is better represented in sharp cirlces…but that there’s really not much passion for this game amongst the other betting options this weekend.

The total hasn’t been rock solid. The weather currently looks like it will be very nice for this outdoor Sunday Night game in Mobile.

We’ve now covered all the weekend action from the sharp perspective for you here in the VSM blog. Our next sharp report will be overnight Sunday or early Monday for the Alabama-Notre Dame showdown in the BCS Championship game. Don’t forget that stat breakdowns for this weekend’s pro and college football will be available in the blog…and that big play bombshells from the biggest names in handicapping are always just a few clicks away on our “buy picks” page here at the website.

If you need help picking game day winners, our VSM legends are ready to help!


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