Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, November 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM
This Saturday’s card isn’t quite as loaded as last week with games influencing the national title race. As more teams fall out of the mix, fewer games will influence the rankings. But, we do have one of the most important games left this season when #1 Mississippi State visits #5 Alabama. And, #2 Florida State is in a real danger spot in prime time at Miami.
I’ve picked out five games to study this weekend, adding in two games that loom very large in the Big 10 race as well as the Auburn/Georgia game that could tell us a lot about how the eventual SEC Championship game will go down even if those two teams in the West/East crossover aren’t involved.
Games are presented in rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules. The order of kickoff is jumbled just slightly because of TV changes. I’ve put kickoff times in parenthesis.
#8 OHIO STATE at #25 MINNESOTA (noon ET, 9 a.m. Pacific on ABC)
Ohio State now rates very highly in most Las Vegas Power Ratings after the impressive blowout of Michigan State last Saturday Night. An opener of -12.5 was bet up to -14, even though Ohio State is the ROAD team here and this is a potential preview of the Big 10 Championship game. Don’t forget that Minnesota plays its games outdoors now, which means chilly temperatures for this early kickoff. Some sharp money did show up on the Gophers at the key number of +14. That may set up a tug-of-war in the hours before the early kickoff if the public gets up early enough to bet on Ohio State. If this were a later start, there definitely would have been tug-of-war potential. The opening total of 59.5 has been bet down to 56.5 on reports of a chance of snow combined with temperatures in the low 20’s.
#16 NEBRASKA at #20 WISCONSIN (3:30 p.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. Pacific on ABC)
It won’t be quite as cold here as it will in Minnesota. We’re looking at temperatures in the mid-20’s by kickoff. An opener of Wisconsin -6 has been bet up slightly to -6.5. Sharps who preferred the favorite figured -6 was the best they were going to see. The line has stopped with the hook though. Oddsmakers are confident that underdog money would flood in at the key number of Nebraska +7. What happens here will depend on public interest. If squares hit the favorite, we’ll see a tug-of-war between Wisconsin -6.5 and Nebraska +7. If not, then syndicates preferring the dog will have to settle for +6.5 or pass. The total has been bet up a bit from 55.5 to 57. That tells you wind won’t be a factor, and that Nebraska’s style of play (wide-open games with a bunch of scoring from both teams) is expected to rule the day. That’s not always good news for Nebraska!
#9 AUBURN AT #15 GEORGIA (7:15 p.m. ET, 4:15 p.m. Pacific on ESPN)
It’s going to be unseasonably cool in Georgia, with temperatures in the low 40’s at kickoff. But, that’s not so cold that it should affect scoring. The Bulldogs opened at -2 and have been bet up slightly to -2.5. As we just saw in the prior game…favorite money came in early at the assumed “low” for the favorite, while underdog money is waiting for a key number. The fact that this line has stayed below the field goal tells you sharps see Auburn as the superior team. Home field advantage is worth more than 2.5, particularly in a game like this. Auburn money will either come in at +3, or on the moneyline to win straight up if public action isn’t enough to bring the most important number in football into play. The total has been bet up two points from 67.5 to 69.5. Auburn tends to play shootouts…and Georgia is prone to get coaxed into that kind of game when facing better opponents.
#3 FLORIDA STATE at MIAMI (8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. Pacific on ABC)
Not much betting interest here yet…though that should change because this is the best of the prime time games. Florida State opened at -2.5 and has stood pat. That right there tells you that sharps HATE the favorite in this spot because nobody wanted them right below the key number! There weren’t even position takers coming in on FSU -2.5 before the public bets. Squares have lost so much money this year on the Seminoles that they may not bet! Sharps have been very aggressive with Miami in recent weeks…and take the best they can see for a line while also betting the Hurricanes to win straight up on the moneyline. When you see underdogs of +2.5 in the NFL, that usually means teasers come into play. Sharps rarely play teasers in college football because scoring is volatile. Underdogs of +2.5 in the colleges signal moneyline play. No interest on the opening total of 61.5. This is one of the few “great weather” spots on the whole Saturday schedule.
#1 MISSISSIPPI STATE at #5 ALABAMA (3:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. Pacific on CBS):
Sharps have no respect for Mississippi State…but may have too much respect for Alabama. The opener here of ‘Bama -7 (already high for a #5 team facing a NUMBER ONE team!) has been bet up to -8.5 or -9. Some stores are talking about testing -9.5 or -10 if the public comes in as aggressively as expected on the Tide. Don’t forget though that Alabama was lucky to beat LSU last week, and couldn’t beat Ole Miss not too long ago. This isn’t Alabama’s best compared to recent seasons. If Las Vegas determined the poll rankings, Alabama would be #1 in the nation right now, as projected favorites over anyone they might face in the Final Four tournament. Nothing yet happening on the total, that opened at 52.
You can purchase my Saturday college football BEST BETS right here at the website you’re your credit card in the morning before first kickoff. If you have any questions about my personal service, call the VSM office Friday during normal business hours or early Saturday at 1-888-777-4155. Don’t forget to ask about combination packages with basketball. I’ve been burning the midnight oil over the past week getting ready for college hoops.
Back with you later today to look at the NFL. Thanks for reading.
Be sure to follow:
Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters