Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM
We have a busy late-week schedule, with four football games Thursday Night (one in the NFL and three in the colleges), and then a college tripleheader on Friday Night. You know what seven is a lucky number here in Las Vegas! Let’s hope that this lucky seven brings good fortune.
Here’s how sharps have been betting the games so far this week. Matchups are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedule…
KANSAS CITY at OAKLAND (Thursday-NFL): Most stores opened at Kansas City -7, though the earliest shops up had it at -6.5. That was quickly corrected to the key number, where the line has been sitting through the week. Some spots are now testing KC -7.5 because there’s been so little early interest on the Raiders. It’s assumed that the public is going to come in on the Chiefs if they bet the game. Sharps who prefer the dog are waiting to see what they can get. The Raiders did cover a divisional game last week, and at least have a defense capable of making the game interesting. Most likely scenarios are that the game just sits on seven until kickoff, or that we see a tug-of-war between squares (the public) on KC -7 and sharps on Oakland at +7.5.
KANSAS STATE at WEST VIRGINIA (Thursday-College): West Virginia usually gets a lot of respect at home from sharps. Oddsmakers knew that going in, and made the hosts a 1-point favorite over the more highly regarded Wildcats. Sharps bet the Mountaineers anyway! We’re now seeing -2.5 in most stores. There would definitely be a good amount of sharp money on underdog K-State at +3. Sportsbooks will have to decide if they want to bring that number into play. Wise Guys that like the home favorite are in early below the key number. Those preferring the dog are hoping they see the full three before kickoff.
NORTH CAROLINA at DUKE (Thursday-College): An opener of Duke -7 has been bet down to Duke -6 in early action. Sharps know that Duke’s just not a team you can trust as a favorite. The defense is soft, and prone to allowing backdoor points even if things are going well. The offense can be erratic and mistake-prone, even against poor opposition. The Wise Guys thought the full seven was too high…and dog money still kept coming in at NC +6.5. The public probably won’t be heavily involved even though it’s an ESPN game. Kansas State/West Virginia on Fox Sports 1 is the more appealing TV matchup, and the NFL is still king even when a team like the Raiders are playing.
ARKANSAS STATE at TEXAS STATE (Thursday-College): No way the public is going to mess with this one. So, we’re looking at oddsmakers vs. sharps, or different sharp syndicates lined up against each other. An opener of Arkansas State -6.5 has been bet down to -6 in some spots. This might be hinting at a small tug-of-war between different groups on Arkansas State -6, or home dog Texas State +6.5. By the way, none of the Thursday totals had moved more than a half a point off the opener as of publication time. I’ll only talk about Over/Unders when there’s a move of at least a point.
UTEP at RICE (Friday-College): As we moved to Friday, big move here on UTEP with an opener of Rice -10 getting bet down to Rice -8. There are some indications that the number will keep dropping. This isn’t a game that would appeal to the general public, so dog lovers had no reason to wait to see if the price would go higher. They jumped in on UTEP at +10, +9.5, +9, and +8.5. It’s possible that Rice money wouldn’t hit the board until the key number of seven is brought into play…if the game continues moving in that direction.
AIR FORCE at SAN DIEGO STATE (Friday-College): Important move here because early money pushed a game off the key number of three…and then kept right on pushing. San Diego State opened at a field goal, but is now -5.5 in some stores as we post this online. The move is clearly related to the questionable status of Air Force star running back Jacobi Owens who was still in a walking boot on Tuesday. The market either expects him to miss the game, or perform at nowhere near 100% of his capabilities. This is the only late week matchup where the opening total moved at least a point. The opening number of 49.5 has been bet up to 50.5, probably on the assumption that Air Force will have trouble running clock if Owens is hobbled or out.
SAN JOSE STATE at UTAH STATE (Friday-College): Early sharp money on home favorite Utah State drove the opener of -11.5 all the way up to -13 or -13.5 depending on the store. The market has soured on San Jose because of their current four-game losing streak. They were shut out by Hawaii last week because of turnovers and missed field goals. This is also a tough weather spot for a California team having to play in 25-degree temperatures. I’m hearing it would take at least +14 to bring in underdog money. There’s currently no precipitation in the forecast, so the total hasn’t moved.
It’s not exactly a marquee slate! But, the money pays the same as long as you’ve picked the right side. I’ve found that many of the best betting options on the board often come in lower profile conferences like the Mountain West, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt. This is particularly true late in a season because mainstream media coverage is so focused on what’s happening in the championship chase. I’ll post my BEST BETS on the Thursday and Friday cards right here at the website. You can always purchase my strongest opinions online with your credit card. If you have any questions about my personal service, call the VSM office Thursday or Friday during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.
I’m not going to post a Saturday college showcase report this week because there just aren’t many great matchups on the card that are capturing the public’s fancy. I’ll make up for that with bonus coverage during Thanksgiving Week when there are great games all over the schedule. My final sharps report for this week will go up midday Friday when we look at the rest of the weekend in the NFL. See you then. As always, thanks for reading.
Be sure to follow:
Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters