Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, September 18, 2015 at 12:00 PM
There’s not one true blockbuster this Saturday in college football, where two teams in the top 10 square off. Though, I do know a few sharps who have Ole Miss in the top 10 of their personal Power Ratings. So, Ole Miss/Alabama may be a national blockbuster that the polls have misread!
I’ve picked out nine games that will be getting prominent attention throughout the day and night in Las Vegas sportsbooks and on all the TV studio shows you’ll be watching. Here they are presented in official Nevada rotation order. I’ve noted all that have been time-changed for national TV kickoffs.
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SOUTH CAROLINA AT #7 GEORGIA (on ESPN): The first game to fall on the schedule has been time changed to 6 p.m. ET for ESPN. This one has lost some appeal though because South Carolina should have lost to North Carolina and did lose to Kentucky. Georgia opened at -15, and has been bet up to -16.5 because of SC’s poor play. The fact that it’s been sitting at 16.5 for awhile suggests Gamecock money would come in fairly hard at the key number of 17. If the public pushes the line higher, we could see a tug-of-war between Georgia -16.5 and SC +17. The total has dropped three points from 55.5 to 52.5 because SC’s offense has struggled and Georgia is a run-based team lacking a quality quarterback this season.
#18 AUBURN AT #13 LSU (on CBS): This will be in the main afternoon TV window at 3:30 p.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. here in Las Vegas. Looks like a tug-of-war shaping up between LSU -6.5 and Auburn +7. Wise Guy money comes in at both of those, suggesting a split opinion. Sharps are fairly confident now that Auburn was overrated out of the gate. But, some believe LSU has been overrated too! Very interesting time in the SEC West. The Over/Under is down 4.5 points from 52 to 48.5. Auburn’s offense had trouble with consistency vs. both Louisville and Jacksonville State. Much of the “support” for LSU was actually expressed with Under bets here.
#15 MISSISSIPPI AT #2 ALABAMA (on ESPN): This has been time changed to 9:15 p.m. ET for ESPN. Great that we get to enjoy it in prime time here in Vegas! An opener of Alabama -8 was taken down below the key number of -7 for awhile. When 6.5 was on the board, Alabama money started coming in. So, we know that sharps love Ole Miss at +8 and at +7.5. Some support lingers at +7…but Alabama money definitely comes in below the key number. Could set up a tug-of-war through the day before kickoff. Or, action could be relatively split (and heavy with this high profile matchup) in a way that keeps the game solidly on the seven. The opening total of 49.5 has been bet up to 53. There’s respect for Ole Miss’s new quarterback…and Alabama has been playing more wide open football since Lane Kiffin became the offensive coordinator.
NEBRASKA AT MIAMI (on ABC/ESPN2): This one goes at 3:30 p.m. ET. In the not-too-distant past, this would have been a HUGE game. Now it’s borderline as a true “marquee” matchup. I included it because the mid-afternoon TV window just isn’t that deep this week. We’ve been sitting fairly solidly on Miami -3. Some stores have tested -3.5 because more action is coming in on the favorite than the dog on the key number. The Over/Under is up from 56.5 to 58.
#14 GEORGIA TECH AT #8 NOTRE DAME (on NBC): Also at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Irish lost their starting quarterback for the season last week when Malik Zaire suffered a bad ankle injury. It’s unlikely they’re #8 with the backup. The market sees Georgia Tech as the better team now based on the settled line of Tech -2.5. Home field is worth 3 points in college football generally, sometimes Notre Dame get more. So…Georgia Tech would be -5.5 or -6 at a neutral site based on those numbers. Remember that a settled line of 2.5 means a ton of dog money would likely come in at the key number of three. The opening total of 59 has been bet down by quants to 55.5.
FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY (on SEC NETWORK): This one was time changed to 7:30 p.m. ET. There’s been some chatter in Vegas about both teams so I decided to include it. Kentucky is a popular darkhorse play in the SEC East for some sharps. Florida is a team of interest because of respect for their new coach (and an assumed bounce back because the prior guy was so bad!). Florida gets support at -3 as the road favorite…but Kentucky money hits fairly strong whenever +3.5 becomes available. Looks like a tug-of-war spot. Small drop on the total from 53.5 to 52. Definitely a good game to watch if you’re trying to map out the SEC East race.
CALIFORNIA AT TEXAS (on FOX): kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET. Weird to have so many games involving unranked teams in our spotlight this week. But…I know several sharps who have their eyes on California this year in the Pac 12 North race (and a few who have them in their top 25). You know them as the men who moved this line from -3 to -7 earlier this week! Texas money did come in at +7 in recent hours. The dust is settling in Austin after the surprise firing of the Athletic Director a few days ago. I’m now seeing Cal -6.5 in most places…but that may go up again because sharps that like Cal like them at anything below a touchdown. Their QB Jared Goff is positioned to have a really big game against what’s been a disappointing Texas defense. An early total of 60 is down to 58 because the yardage stats of the UT offense have been so bad. (Note that the “summer” line in this game was Texas -9.5!)
STANFORD AT #6 USC (on ABC): You know the network was mad when Stanford was shocked in its opener at Northwestern. That messed up the projected rankings for this prime time affair (8 p.m. ET). Looks like a tug-of-war between USC -9.5 and Stanford +10. Old school sharps really like the defensive dog at +10. The young quant guys are getting gradings to the Trojans based on offensive explosiveness. Small drop in the total from 51.5 to 50.
#19 BYU AT #10 UCLA (on ESPN): Second straight week where BYU shows up in a potential late night thriller (10:30 p.m. ET, which is prime time here in Vegas). Sharps are really high on UCLA this season…and many got a look at new quarterback Josh Rosen last week when the Bruins played here against UNLV. An opener of -15.5 has been bet up to -16.5. The market isn’t expecting a thriller! I believe BYU money would come in fairly strong at the key number of +17. Old school guys are waiting for that. There is some concern that BYU will be out of gas after playing 60-minute wars in each of the first two weeks against Nebraska and Boise State. Not much happening yet on the Over/Under...which is hanging around 60.
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Thanks for reading. See you early Saturday for our weekly NFL report.
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