Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Monday, December 29, 2014 at 9:00 AM
As promised, I’m back with a special early Monday report to talk about how sharps have been betting the six college football bowl games set for Monday and Tuesday. There are three bowls each day. The participants are all from major conferences, except for major Independent Notre Dame. Should be the best day yet!
The next bowl report will go up Wednesday morning, and will cover the New Year’s Eve tripleheader along with the five big games set for New Year’s…including the National Semifinals in the Rose and Sugar Bowls. This is going to be a heckuva week.
Games are presented in rotation order so you can makes notes in your schedules.
WEST VIRGINIA vs. TEXAS A&M (2 p.m. ET Monday on ESPN)
This line dropped from West Virginia -3.5 to -1.5 when it was announced that Mountaineer quarterback Clint Trickett wouldn’t be able to go because of a concussion. He’s officially retired from football to pursue a career as a coach. Sharps weren’t interested in Texas A&M in general because the team’s defense is bad and the offense is spotty. It became very hard to invest in WV with the quarterback situation. This isn’t likely to be a heavily bet game unless a syndicate surprises the market right before kickoff. Be sure you watch line moves throughout Monday and Tuesday for developments. The opening total of 64 was bet up initially to 65.5, where it sits as I write this.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL
CLEMSON vs. OKLAHOMA (5:30 p.m. ET Monday on ESPN)
Quarterback developments loomed very large here, particularly regarding the offshore opener near pick-em. Most Vegas stores went up at OU -3.5 when it was clear that OU quarterback Trevor Knight was very likely to return from injury. He’ll be facing Cliff Stoudt of Clemson. The Wise Guys believe OU is much more explosive in this scenario…resulting in the number moving away from the key number of three and up to -4.5. The total is down to 51 because starting Stoudt forces Clemson to keep things close to the vest. The public is likely to bet Oklahoma (and possibly Over) in this late afternoon Eastern time start (midday here in Vegas). I believe sharps would definitely come in on the dog at +6 if the number goes that high.
TEXAS vs. ARKANSAS (9 p.m. ET Monday on ESPN)
Arkansas has been bet up from an opener of -5 to -6.5. But, there’s a flood of Texas money waiting to come in if the key number of seven is breached. Arkansas money came in early…based on respect the team earned through steady improvement this season. Longhorn money is waiting to see what it can get. The opening total of 47 has been bet down to 44.5 or 44 in what’s expected to be a defensive battle.
MUSIC CITY BOWL
NOTRE DAME vs. LSU (3 p.m. ET Tuesday on ESPN)
Moving to Tuesday, there hasn’t been much early interest in this one. LSU opened at -8, and has dropped a half a point to -7.5. That may seem high to some of you given how much hype Notre Dame was getting much of the season. The Irish closed poorly. And, everyone remembers what happened the last time ND played a big postseason game against the SEC! Oddsmakers are concerned that LSU would become one-sided if the game hits the seven. It tells you a lot about how far Notre Dame has fallen in local Power Ratings that this line is staying above the seven. The total is up a half a point from 52 to 52.5. Sharps often wait to check on the weather in these late December outdoor bowls before committing too much. This one’s in Nashville.
LOUISVILLE vs. GEORGIA (6:30 p.m. ET Tuesday on ESPN)
Georgia opened at -7. Some stores are testing -6.5 because Louisville was generating the bulk of the interest on the key number. That could set up a tug-of-war between Georgia -6.5 and Louisville +7. We’ll see what the public does on game day. They’re more likely to bet Georgia, particularly if SEC favorites Arkansas and LSU got the money earlier in this sequence. The opening total of 57 is down to 56.5 for this outdoor game in Charlotte.
SAN FRANCISCO BOWL
MARYLAND vs. STANFORD (10 p.m. ET Tuesday on ESPN)
It’s been awhile since we talked about a double digit favorite. Stanford opened at -13.5 playing near their home of Palo Alto against an inconsistent ACC team that has to fly cross-country. That has been bet up to the key number of -14 in advance of anticipated public action. Old school sharps who take every double digit underdog are waiting to see if they can get more than the +14. The only double digit dogs thus far against the openers, UTEP and Northern Illinois, have both failed to cash (Marshall closed nine over Northern, then won 52-23). But, even with that, I would expect a lot of sharp money to come in if squares drive the line all the way up to 14.5. The total is down half a point from 48.5 to 48.
Clear potential for some great games in there. And, then the schedule really picks up Wednesday and Thursday with highlights that include Ole Miss vs. TCU, Boise State vs. Arizona, Wisconsin vs. Auburn, Michigan State vs. Baylor, and the Final Four featuring Oregon vs. Florida State and Alabama vs. Ohio State. I’ll talk about those games the next time we’re together. (Look for this week’s NFL report on the Wildcard games late Friday morning).
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Thanks for reading. See you again Wednesday.
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