Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 11:00 AM
We have five games to look at here in our first report of the new weekend. Two games Thursday and then three on Friday. Let’s jump right in. Games are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules.
BALTIMORE AT PITTSBURGH (on CBS): Looks like we have a tug-of-war here between Baltimore -2.5 and Pittsburgh +3. Michael Vick will get the start for the Steelers because of the injury to Ben Roethlisberger. That’s why the Ravens are a road favorite even though they haven’t won a game yet this season. Sharps generally have a lot of skepticism about Vick…particularly his work ethic as a backup in recent seasons. That’s why it takes the full three to get them interested in the Steelers. Vick-haters are laying anything below the three with the “must-win” Ravens. The Over/Under is shifting from 43.5 to 44. Just minor bets for value at this point on the total.
MIAMI-FLORIDA AT CINCINNATI (on ESPN): An opener of Miami -4 is all the way up to Miami -6.5. It’s assumed that Cincinnati money would come in hard on the key number of seven. Right now, sportsbooks have to decide if they want to take a position on the home dog based on money that’s already been bet…or if they want to try to balance out the books in a way that threatens getting “middle” or “sided.” I know a few sharps who were impressed with Cincy’s new quarterback in the second half last week in Memphis…and are hoping the seven comes into play. The Over/Under is up from 66 to 69 on the assumption that we’ll see another shootout. And, that’s despite a forecast for wind in the 10-15 mph range. We may rise into the 70’s if game time conditions are calmer.
MEMPHIS AT SOUTH FLORIDA (on ESPN2): Big drop here as an opener of Memphis -12 has fallen all the way to Memphis -8.5. As bad as South Florida has looked this season, sharps just couldn’t justify that big a price for a road favorite that has a bad defense. That plus the potential for rain encouraged underdog money. The opening total of 61 is up slightly to 62. That could drop if rain becomes more of a sure thing.
TEMPLE AT CHARLOTTE (on CBS-Sports-Network): Charlotte is horrible…and the market can really only guess at how bad they’re going to be against teams who know what they’re doing. Oddsmakers posted Temple -24.5 on the opener. If you’ve been a football bettor for a long time, it’s almost impossible to even imagine a team like Temple laying that kind of chalk on the ROAD. Dog money has brought the number down to Temple -22.5. The Over/Under is down from 48 to 44 because Charlotte has no offense and Temple runs clock with their ground attack when things are going well for them. That drop represents some sharps “betting Temple” by going with the Under rather than the big team side price.
CONNECTICUT AT BYU (on ESPN2): Not much betting action yet as BYU is still sitting on the opener of -17.5. This is the first relative soft spot on BYU’s early schedule…and it’s hard to know how they’ll perform in a blowout situation. They were completely out of gas last week at Michigan. UCONN impressed sharps with a hard fought effort at Missouri. Tough to fly back out across the country to play at altitude though. This is a game people will want to bet because it’s on TV. Trying to figure out WHO to bet is tough because the high price may scare away squares (the public), while the awkward schedule spot for UCONN may scare away dog lovers. A little interest on the Under so far as the opening total of 45 is down to 44.
Big weekend ahead. Oddsmakers and sharps are very closely monitoring the hurricane situation on the East Coast. Several Saturday college games could be affected, as well as Philadelphia/Washington on Sunday (some models a few days out have a direct hit…which would likely postpone the game until later on when both teams have the same bye week). Very much a cat-and-mouse situation with the sharpest bettors hoping to get in before significant line adjustments. Something for you to monitor on your own the next few days. I’ll discuss what I can on the fly in our upcoming college and pro reports that will go online Friday.
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Enjoy these early appetizers. See you again Friday at lunchtime for our report on Saturday’s marquee college football matchups…and then Friday around dinner time for our weekly look at Sunday and Monday NFL. Thanks for reading. Back at you tomorrow.
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