Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 12:00 PM
I’ve selected 11 big games from Saturday’s college football slate…the matchups you’ll be paying the most attention to all day and night on the TV schedule. They are listed in rotation order rather than kickoff order. I want everyone to be able to make notes in their schedules. I’ll make note of the time changes for you.
SELECT SATURDAY MARQUEE MATCHUPS
WEST VIRGINIA AT OKLAHOMA (on FOX SPORTS 1): No time change here, as the game will go at noon ET, 9 a.m. here in Las Vegas in the early TV window. A lot of sharps are very interested in this one because both TCU and Baylor look vulnerable this year at the top of the Big 12 (particularly TCU). An opener of Oklahoma -7.5 was bet down to only -6.5. Just a point…but a really big point because it crossed the key number of seven and stayed below. That suggests VERY strong sentiment on the dog because there wasn’t a buy back on a TV home favorite just below a key number. If the public hits the Sooners between now and kickoff, expect a tug-of-war between OU -6.5 and West Virginia +7.5. Sharps like the dog at seven or better. The Over/Under has been bet down from 61 to 59. Doesn’t look like that’s weather-related.
IOWA AT WISCONSIN (on ESPN): Also in the earliest TV window, and also a game that’s come down below the seven after early betting. In this case, an opener of Wisconsin -8.5 has come down two points, and is now sitting at Badgers -6.5. No buyback on the TV home favorite. I can tell you that many sharps were skeptical about Wiscy entering the new season. And, that blowout loss to Alabama in the season opener looked even worse when the Tide lost at home to Ole Miss. The Wise Guys like Iowa at +7 or better. The total has dropped by from 47.5 to 45 with a forecast for windy conditions.
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT TEXAS A&M (on the SEC Network): This one has been time changed to 7:30 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. out here in Vegas. Both teams are ranked. Again we see a game moving toward the dog around a TD spread. Here an opener of A&M -7 has been bet down to -6. Some stores are testing -5.5 as I write up this report. Sharps weren’t impressed with the Aggies last week against Arkansas…a game they should have lost as a TD favorite at a neutral site. The total has soared from an opener of 56 all the way up to 63. Quants thought that was a horrible opener! You can guess weather should be ideal for scoring. The numbers guys are expecting a shootout.
KANSAS STATE AT OKLAHOMA STATE (on FOX SPORTS 1): A time change here to 4 p.m. ET. And, a surprising move against the flow of the week and recent Big 12 history. Okie State opened at -5.5, but has been bet up past the key number to a solid -7.5. This after the Cowboys were fortunate to survive Texas last Saturday…and in a pointspread environment where K-State has been pure gold ATS in Big 12 action since head coach Bill Snyder returned to the sidelines. If you study the markets for awhile, you’ll find the sharps don’t have a lot of respect for trends. They focus on talent…and believe OSU is the much more talented side this season. The opening total of 61 is down to 59 thanks partly to a forecast for wind.
ARIZONA STATE AT UCLA (on FOX): This Pac 12 matchup has been time changed to 7:30 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. An opener of UCLA has been bet down without coming back up. Bruins -14 at the outset is now -13.5 or -13 in most stores. Interesting that we haven’t seen a buy back considering how these teams played last week, and the fact that there’s a high profile TV home favorite. I’d expect squares (the public) to bet UCLA on game day. That may set up a tug-of-war between UCLA at -13.5 or lower and ASU at +14 or higher. The Over/Under is up from 57.5 to 60 after both teams played high scoring games last week.
ARIZONA AT STANFORD (on the Pac 12 Network): Time changed to 10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. ET in Palo Alto for prime time on the West Coast. Just like the game above…a hot host opened at 14 against a visitor that got blown out last week. So far…dog money hits at +14, but Stanford sees support at -13.5. Probably sets up a tug-of-war between now and kickoff. The total is down from 63 to 61 with a forecast for wind. Plus, Stanford tends to run clock in games they control.
ALABAMA AT GEORGIA (on CBS): The biggest game of the afternoon stays put at its 3:30 p.m. ET starting time. Much has been made of Alabama opening as an underdog for the first time in years. Georgia -2 has dropped to Georgia -1.5 as I write this up. There’s a chance ‘Bama won’t be a dog by kickoff. We’ll have to see how the public bets. I do think sharps would be more interested in Georgia at pick-em or -1 than they have been at the opener. The total has dropped from 54 to 52.5 on the forecast for heavy rain.
MISSISSIPPI AT FLORIDA (on ESPN): This SEC battle of ranked teams has been time changed to 7 p.m. ET. Ole Miss has been bet up from -5.5 to -7, with some stores now testing -7.5. It’s telling that home dog money didn’t provide any resistance on the key number of seven. Sharps believe the Rebels are for real off the Alabama win. Florida is seen as a lucky winner from last week against Tennessee. The total has dropped from 53 to 51 because of rain chances.
TEXAS TECH AT BAYLOR (on ABC): This will be in the 3:30 p.m. ET TV window. People marveled at the high opener of 85…only to see it bet up to what’s now a solid 87.5 as I write this. Doesn’t look like weather is going to get in the way at Waco. Seems like quant enthusiasm for the Over wears off at the current widely available number. Under support shows at 88 or more. Can’t forget about the team side! Baylor opened at -13.5, and has been bet very hard all the way up to -17.5 on the expectation that Tech will be out of gas after upsetting Arkansas on the road and losing a heartbreaker at home to TCU. Sharps are comparing this scenario to what happened to BYU last Saturday at Michigan. That team just didn’t have anything left and ran into a team ready to steamroll them.
OREGON AT COLORADO (on ESPN): Another Pac 12 TV time change. This one goes at 10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. out West. It’s not really a marquee matchup. But, I wanted to include it because there was a big line move against previous superpower Oregon. An opener of Ducks -11.5 is down to -7.5. Stores who test the seven see favorite money come in. Hard to believe a line like this for THIS matchup based on how the teams have played in recent seasons. Sharps made big money fading Oregon with Utah last week…and are still trying to get them Power Rated properly.
NOTRE DAME AT CLEMSON (on ABC): Going at 8 p.m. ET, in a game that may be ravaged by bad weather. An opening line of Clemson -1.5 has either been standing pat or drifting down to the one. Before betting, most sharps wanted to see what the weather situation was going to be, or if the game would be postponed. The total is only down from 53 to 52.5…which is basically nothing for a bad weather game. Suggests that the Wise Guys were thinking Over if conditions were going to be better.
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Back with you this evening for this week’s NFL report. Thanks for reading!
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