Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 1:00 PM
The Friday college slate is more about entertainment than importance in a few of the national TV windows. But, there are a few games that will determine divisional championships…and could set up spoiler possibilities down the road for teams trying to get into the Final Four.
I’ve picked out the five most prominent TV games on Friday in terms of network coverage. The games below are either in high profile windows or will determine who plays in the SEC and Pac 12 Championship games next week. I’ll present them in rotation order rather than order of importance so you can make notes in your schedules.
VIRGINIA at VIRGINIA TECH (8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. Pacific on ESPN): I’m only talking about this one because it’s the only prime time game on a major network! It’s been time-changed from early in the schedule to evening, and should actually be an intense game because both teams are 5-6 and fighting for bowl eligibility. That plus the historical rivalry elements should make feel like at least a minor bowl game. It’s also worth pointing out that this game could influence the selection process for the football Big Dance. Ohio State’s only loss is to Virginia Tech. Every time Tech loses, Ohio State’s resume gets worse! Visiting Virginia is actually a road favorite over tumbling Tech. An opener of Virginia -1 has moved around a bit but now settled back on the one. Monitor this one on game day. The public probably won’t bet it…meaning game day moves will be sharp.
NEBRASKA at IOWA (noon ET, 9 a.m. Pacific on ABC): The main attraction on early TV involves Big 10 teams jockeying for bowl position. Nebraska is trying to get to 9-3 and a possible New Year’s Day invitation. Iowa is shooting for 8-4. Both just lost big games to Wisconsin, and are hoping to get back on the right track before the postseason. Just like the game above it, we’re looking at a game moving between pick-em and -1. In this case, it’s the home team that’s settled in as a very small favorite. The total has come down a point. If the forecast for double digit wind speeds holds true, we may see that number drop even more before kickoff. Because neither this game nor the one above it were right near a key number, there was no reason for sharps to bet early. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a relatively late Wise Guy indicator in either. Keep an eye out for that.
ARKANSAS at MISSOURI (2:30 ET, 11:30 a.m. Pacific on CBS): It’s a sign of how much respect oddsmakers and sharps have for Arkansas right now that they Hogs are a road favorite over a team that’s playing to win the SEC East! Missouri will make its second straight trip to the title tilt if they win. A loss would drop them into a tie with Georgia…and send Georgia because the Bulldogs won the head-to-head matchup. Arkansas is playing so well lately that the market doesn’t expect Missouri to win. An opener of three (meaning Arkansas would be -6 on an neutral field or -9 at home!) has discouraged sharps from jumping in. The public hasn’t bet yet…but might on game day when they realize that the “must-win” team is a home underdog. The Over/Under has dropped from 47 to 45 on the forecast for winds across the Midwest…and because the passing game of both teams is very spotty even when it’s not windy.
STANFORD at UCLA (3:30 p.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. Pacific on ABC): This will be a heavily bet game in Las Vegas…at least relative to the rest of the day. Vegas is a virtual suburb of Los Angeles in terms of sports interest…so both UCLA and USC drive a lot of action when they’re playing in a big game. UCLA will win the Pac 12 South if they get this victory. That would earn them a rematch with Oregon. Stanford has been a disappointment, but can make up for that with a win here and an impressive bowl result. Sharps bet UCLA on the opener of -4.5 in anticipation of locals taking the Bruins. We’re now seeing UCLA -5.5 as I write this. I believe Wise Guy underdog money would come in on Stanford +6. Sharps who liked the Bruins bet earl. Sharps who like Stanford are waiting to see what they can get. The Over/Under is up a point from 49 to 50.
ARIZONA STATE AT ARIZONA (3:30 p.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. Pacific on FOX): If UCLA loses to Stanford, then the winner of this game will win the Pac 12 South. Arizona opened at -2.5 and has stood pat. That tells you the sharps don’t like the host, or they would have lifted that to the key number right away. Sharps are hoping the public takes the cheap home favorite so they can come in on ASU +3. Part of the reason sharps aren’t looking at the Wildcats involves the injury to quarterback Anu Solomon. He hurt his ankle last time out against Washington and his level of readiness to play at a peak level is still in question. Nothing happening on the total yet.
My special Thanksgiving Weekend package will continue Friday with my best college bets (and probably some basketball too). You can always purchase my top plays right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about my personal service, call the VSM office Friday during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.
Back with you Friday morning to cover the marquee matchups in Saturday’s college football action, and then Friday afternoon with our regular weekly report on the NFL. I hope you’re having a great Thanksgiving so far. See you Friday.
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