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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM

A marquee matchup in the NFL that also happens to be a playoff rematch kicks off Thursday and Friday action when the San Diego Chargers (5-2) visit the Denver Broncos (5-2) tonight on CBS. That’s likely to be one of the most heavily bet Thursday Night games of the whole season because of its high profile…and because squares come out of the woodwork to bet on Peyton Manning!

How have sharps been strategizing for this game? Let’s take a look at that matchup and the SIX college games set for tonight and tomorrow night. As always, we’ll take the games in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules.  

SAN DIEGO at DENVER (Thursday-NFL): Denver opened at -7, but was immediately bet up to -7.5 by early position takers or sharps preferring the Broncos who knew they wouldn’t see anything cheaper. As of publication time Thursday, we’re now seeing Denver -8 in many stores, with some testing -8.5. As you regular readers know, this is a trouble spot for sportsbooks. Denver is in the teaser window for “basic strategy” two-teamers that cross both the 3 and the 7. Many sharps AND squares will be putting Denver -2 or -2.5 in six-point teasers. (In fact, many Wise Guys will pair Denver up in what had been open-ended teasers with Houston +8.5 from this past Monday Night).

Sources tell us that sharp money on San Diego will eventually hit the board during the day, as dog backers are waiting to see how many points they can get before jumping in. The public is going to bet Denver…which could conceivably push the game all the way to -9. Sharps who wanted Denver are in a -7, and are very happy with teaser options. Sharps preferring San Diego are waiting to see what they can get.

The Over/Under has nudged upward from 51 to 51.5. There’s plenty of time for a bigger move. You saw in Tuesday’s Sun Belt game that steam can really take off on a total in the hours before kickoff.  

CONNECTICUT at EAST CAROLINA (Thursday-College): This projected blowout was bet up from an opener of East Carolina -26.5 to the somewhat “key” number of -28. It hasn’t moved past the four-TD threshold. This isn’t a high interest game for sharps, or a game the public is likely to bet heavily. Sharps expecting EC to run up the score got in below -28. Value dog bets from old-school sharps are likely to come in late in the day at whatever’s perceived to be the likely apex at the time. No interest yet on the total.

MIAMI at VIRGINIA TECH (Thursday-College): Huge move here initially, as the market responded to injury news regarding Virginia Tech and other concerns. We had a flipped favorite for awhile, as an opener of Virginia Tech -3 moved all the way to Miami -2.5 or -3. But, Virginia Tech was BLASTED Thursday morning by some Wise Guys...actually RE-FLIPPING the favorite! Minutes before posting this article, I was seeing Virginia Tech -1 at many locales...but with indications that more Miami money was about to hit the board hard in response. Looks like we have strong opinions from different syndicates on both sides of this game. We have a meaningful move on the total, as an opener of 51.5 has been bet down to 49. Some stores are testing 48.5 as we go to press.  

TROY at SOUTH ALABAMA (Friday-College): Favored South Alabama was bet up from the opener of 12.5 to the key number of -14. Some of that was position-taking on the assumption that the line would rise. That strategy will lead some Troy money finding the board for middles at +14 or anything better. This isn’t likely to be bet much by the public. USA money is in at -12.5 and -13. Old school “double digit dogs always offer value” money will probably trickle in Friday afternoon.

SOUTH FLORIDA at CINCINNATI (Friday-College): It’s always telling when an opener moves towards the underdog. Sharps weren’t waiting to see if public money would come in. South Florida +11 on the opener has been bet down to +10.5, with some +10’s being tested. Sources tell us many of the Wise Guys were surprised the game opened so high and didn’t want to miss the eleven. The Over/Under has been bet up two points from an opener of 58 to 60. That combination is an indictment of the Cincinnati defense. Any “Dog and Over” combo is telling you sharps expect a shootout.

BYU at BOISE STATE (Friday-College): Position-takers jumped on Boise State at the opener of -6…because Boise always gets bet at home, and because BYU hasn’t excelled with their new quarterback since star Taysom Hill was lost for the season to injury. But, there’s enough Wise Guy skepticism about Boise State this year when matched up vs. quality that a tug-of-war looks to be starting between Boise State -6.5 and BYU +7. I'm also hearing that the upgrade of BYU running back Jamaal Williams is a factor here, as he's expected to take some of the offensive load away from new quarterback Christian Steart. This is the ESPN game Friday Night, and the public usually bets Boise State on TV. Looks like sharps will have plenty of opportunities to get BYU at +7 or better in the hours leading up to kickoff. The total is up a point from 58 to 59.

OREGON at CALIFORNIA (Friday-College): Interesting game here in market terms. Oregon has a history of running up the score, and is often bet by the public. Sharps have generally liked improved California this year…though many took a big hit when the Bears lost at Washington recently. An opener of Oregon -18.5 has come down to Cal +18 or +17.5. That’s telling because it went against the projected square side before squares had much of a chance to bet. Nobody’s waiting to see if they get anything better! More than a few Wise Guys like fading Oregon on the road. It’s only been sharp money coming in early. Sportsbooks are lowering the number to encourage the public to take shots on the Ducks. The Over/Under is up from 78.5 to 80.  

Game Three of the World Series is also Friday. Numbers haven’t been up long as of publication time. Sharps didn’t aggressively jump on the opener of San Francisco -130, with a total of 7 (Guthrie vs. Vogelsong). I will tell you that most of the quants have this is as a dead even series overall, and will likely fade any numbers that move too far away from that projection.

That’s a look from the market perspective at Thursday and Friday action. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office Thursday afternoon at 1-888-777-4155. I’ll be back with you Friday around lunchtime in the East, late breakfast time here in Las Vegas for our full look at the NFL weekend ticket. Thanks for reading. See you then!

 

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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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