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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 10:00 AM

I know a lot of you are more focused on the college basketball extravaganza today than MAC football. The full day hoops schedule really didn’t allow for comprehensive market coverage. I’ll provide some general tips at the end of this report. We’ll gradually work in more basketball when football winds down.

Today I’ll look at early sharp betting in the Tuesday and Wednesday college football. Then, we’re back Thursday to cover a busier than normal late week schedule. There aren’t any truly marquee college football matchups Saturday…so we’ll put that on the shelf until Rivalry Week on and around Thanksgiving. Our weekly NFL report will go up at the usual time on Friday.

To the MAC…where I’ll present games in rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules…

MASSACHUSETTS at AKRON (Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET): A game so unimportant that it won’t even be picked up by one of the smaller ESPN networks! UMASS is actually 3-3 in MAC play, which has them tied for second in the weak East. Big step forward this season for the Minutemen. The first number up offshore was Akron -7. Very limited early interest because the market is concerned about the availability of some personnel. The public won’t touch this one at all. Any move you see during the day off the key number of seven should be considered a sharp move as a result.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT OHIO (Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU): Northern Illinois is in a three-way tie for first in the West Division (along with Toledo and Western Michigan). Ohio is the team that’s tied with UMASS for second place over in the East. The first number up offshore was Northern Illinois -4. Sharps liked the home dog at that price and bet immediately. Later openers were around a field goal, with some stores testing Ohio +2.5 just below the key number. That could be hinting at a tug-of-war through the day between Northern Illinois -2.5 and Ohio +3. If the public does bet this game (not very likely because ESPNU games don’t get much attention), it would probably be on the more recognized favorite that needs to keep winning in a big divisional race.

KENT STATE AT BUFFALO (Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU): you really have to LOVE betting on college football to consider a game like this. Kent State is 1-9 this season, and 0-6 in the weak MAC. Buffalo is 2-4 in league play, which is enough to make them an early favorite of -7 on their home field. There’s a lot of time between now and kickoff for that to change. You can assume any meaningful line move here would be caused by sharp action. Just not a game that would appeal to most squares.

BOWLING GREEN AT TOLEDO (Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2): This is the best matchup of the bunch. If you’re going to pick one game to watch…this would be the one. It’s a possible preview of the MAC Championship game. Bowling Green has a two-game lead in the East, and would clinch the division with a win here or next week as a heavy home favorite over Ball State (currently just 3-7 this year). Toledo is tied for first place in the West with Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. As I write this, a number hasn’t yet gone up on the board. Assume immediate action is from sharps. It’s possible that some square money would hit late in the afternoon on Wednesday before kickoff. But, this is still very likely to be “oddsmakers vs. sharps” with little square influence on any line moves.

I mentioned earlier that I’d provide some quick notes on reading the college hoop markets this week. That last sentence from BG/Toledo tells the story. The public just doesn’t bet much college basketball until football ends. So, almost every game is “oddsmakers vs. sharps.” I would expect some square money to hit the board Tuesday Night for that great doubleheader in Indianapolis. ESPN is showing Michigan State/Duke and Kentucky/Kansas.

Even though those are March Madness type games, many of you would be surprised how little volume marquee matchups like that will generate on a November evening. Football is king! When football is gone, then squares start to pay more attention to the baskets. In any non-TV game, all line moves are sharp moves. Even in the biggest early season college basketball games, virtually any move will be sharp as well.

You don’t need me to tell you who sharps are betting in college basketball. The line moves are telling you!

If you’d like some help making smart early season bets in basketball, or finding value in one of these MAC games, you can purchase my BEST BETS right here at the website you’re your credit card. If you have any questions about my personal service, call the VSM office Tuesday or Wednesday during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.

Thanks for reading. See you again Thursday around lunchtime on the East Coast, or for a late breakfast here in Las Vegas.  

 

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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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