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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Big time college football is back on the Las Vegas betting schedule. Today I’ll run through how sharps have been betting the most prominent matchups on the Thursday and Friday schedule. I’ll be back after lunch on Friday to discuss Wise Guy action in Saturday’s marquee action.

Let’s jump right in. Games are listed in rotation order…but I did skip many of the minor matchups involving mid-major teams. Let’s focus on the games you’ll be watching on TV.


THURSDAY (select games)

SOUTH CAROLINA VS. NORTH CAROLINA (in Charlotte, on ESPN): Note that this is a neutral site meeting being played on the Carolina Panthers home field from the NFL. South Carolina opened at -3 in most places back in July. Sharps hit North Carolina whenever +3 is available. We’re currently seeing a line of 2.5. There’s been some jockeying through the summer in the range just below a field goal. We can say for sure that sharps love the Tar Heels plus the field goal. South Carolina money would come in at anything below the two. A high total of 64 suggests a high octane shootout. Should be a fun game to open the season.

MICHIGAN AT UTAH (on Fox Sports 1): The first line up this summer was Utah -3. Sharps jumped on the favorite immediately because this is a respected home field. The number got as high as Utah -6 before Michigan money came in fairly hard. We’re now seeing mostly Utah -4.5 or -5 everywhere. That’s not a key number…but it might trigger a tug-of-war anyway. Dog lovers who respect Harbaugh like taking +5 or better. Pac 12 money that knows how hard it is for visitors to thrive at this site are laying -4.5 or less. Not much happening on the Over/Under. I’ll only mention those on major moves.

TCU AT MINNESOTA (on ESPN): The first number up was TCU -14 this summer. That stood fairly pat (slight move up to -14.5 or -15 I spots) until the public started getting involved this week. Vegas sportsbooks can’t seem to make anybody bet the home underdog! The line shot up to -17 just within the last couple of days. I can tell you that a few syndicates are looking seriously at Minnesota +17. Some will wait to see if they can get something better. Others will probably jump in at +17 on the assumption that the public is finished betting. The move to TCU -17 was mostly square…though some sharps did like the Frogs down below 15.

DUKE AT TULANE (on CBS Sports Network): A lot of interest on Tulane here. And, you know that’s sharp because the public never bets on bad teams like Tulane! The summer opener was Duke -11 as a road favorite. Sharps hit that opener and drove it down to Duke -9. It sat there through August before more money this week has brought the line all the way down past Duke -7.5 to Duke -7. Maybe, now on the key number…Duke money will come in. Tough call because the public doesn’t see Duke as a football school, and this isn’t one of the ESPN games. Sharps really like Tulane at anything over a touchdown. The total has shot up from a summer opener of 47.5 to the current 51.5. That combination of Tulane and Over from sharp money is a big indictment of Duke’s defense.

WESTERN KENTUCKY AT VANDERBILT (on SEC Network): We’ve had a flip of favorites here. Some of the first numbers up had Vandy as a relatively pricey favorite. That mistake got corrected very quickly. Most stores opened around Vandy -3 or -3.5. Western Kentucky has been taking all the money since then, and is now a favorite of -2 or -2.5 themselves. There’s a good chance the key number of three will be tested. Note that this is a write-in game for those of you using the formal rotation. The total has dropped 65 to 62.5. Vandy’s quarterback situation is pretty bleak!

COLORADO AT HAWAII (on CBS Sports Network): Don’t lose site of this overnight game on the islands. The first number up mid-summer was Colorado in the -4 to -5 range. Sharps hit the Buffalos hard quickly…pushing the line up to -8 before it stabilized for a few weeks. Some sharp Hawaii money did come in very recently…enough to push the line back down to Colorado -7.5. I wouldn’t be shocked if more Colorado money came back in if the key number of seven is breached. The total is up from 57.5 to 60.5.


FRIDAY (select games)

BAYLOR AT SMU (on ESPN): I’m only including this one because it’s on ESPN and Baylor is in the national championship discussion. Very tough to bet SMU because they’re awful and Baylor loves running up the score. An opener of 34 is up to 36 because there was no counter-balance to Baylor interest. Some sharp dog lovers might take a flyer for value if the number keeps going up on game day.

MICHIGAN STATE AT WESTERN MICHIGAN (on ESPNU): Another game I’m listing because of the rankings…and because Michigan State hosts Oregon next week in a huge attraction. Sparty opened at -18.5 as a pricey road favorite. Sharps have taken the big home dog enough to bring the game down a point. I’m guessing stores who test the 17 will see square money come in on MSU. The Over/Under has been bet down from 60 to 57.5.

WASHINGTON AT BOISE STATE (on ESPN): This is the highest profile matchup Friday in terms of marquee value. Though, Washington may not be very good this year and both teams are starting green quarterbacks. Early numbers showing Boise in the -10.5 to -11 range have been bet up to -12 or -12.5. The public usually likes taking Boise State at home in TV games, which might bring the key number of 13 into play. But, I’m hearing that Pac 12 bettors who like Washington for value may not take the risk of waiting around that long. The total has dropped from 57.5 to 55.5 because of the quarterback inexperience on both sides.

That’s it for my sampling of Thursday and Friday college football action. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about longterm packages, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 any weekday during regular business hours or weekends before the first games start.

See you again after lunch Friday to talk about all the big Saturday games. Thanks for reading.  


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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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