Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, October 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM
This Saturday’s college football schedule is clearly the best we’ve seen all season. There are multiple games involving ranked teams going head-to-head. It’s too early to know how much these results will influence the National Championship picture. It’s fair to say that any big game losers this Saturday will be in deep trouble in terms of reaching the Final Four.
Let’s see how professional wagerers have been betting the most important TV games. I’ll list them in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules. Once again, we have many time changes for TV. I’ll note those for you as well.
SELECT SATURDAY MARQUEE MATCHUPS
IOWA AT NORTHWESTERN (on ABC or ESPN2): This battle of ranked teams highlights the earliest TV window of the day that starts at noon ET, 9 a.m. out here in Las Vegas. The opener of Iowa -1 has been bet up to -1.5 or -2. It’s interesting that Iowa is getting so much respect as the visitor. That price suggests Iowa would be about -5 on a neutral field, and around -8 at home. Sharps know Northwestern beat potent Stanford on this field. They’re not interested in taking the Wildcats immediately on the heels of their poor showing at Michigan last week. Not much passion here because that’s a small move that doesn’t involve key numbers. The low opening total of 40 has been bet up to 41.
ALABAMA AT TEXAS A&M (on CBS): This is the best of the midday session that begins 3:30 p.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. at your favorite sportsbook. The big move from the Wise Guys here was on the Over/Under. An opener of 47 has been bet all the way up to 53.5 and 54. Quants obviously had this game in the 50’s and couldn’t believe oddsmakers opened so low. Smart money expects a shootout…and potentially garbage time points if either team falls behind. On the team side, Alabama opened at -4. Different stores have tested half-point moves in either direction. Things generally drift back to the four.
FLORIDA AT LSU (on ESPN): This one has been time changed to 7 p.m. ET. It lost some luster when Florida’s starting quarterback was suspended for the year. The backup is no slouch, so we’re looking at a line of LSU -7 off an opener of -6. Some stores are testing -7.5…which tells you respected money and the public may both be on the Tigers on the key number. I would expect Florida money to hit the board if +7.5 (or better) becomes more widely available between now and kickoff. The Over/Under has dropped from 47.5 to 46.5 because the Gators will use a more conservative attack with the backup.
OKLAHOMA AT KANSAS STATE (on ABC): This also goes in the midday window at 3:30 p.m. ET. The media has been losing track of this one since both teams lost last week. Oklahoma may have been looking past Texas, and needs to win impressively here to get back in the Big 12 discussion. Sharps aren’t buying that line of thinking! Oklahoma opened at -5 and has been bet down to -4. Big move on the total again from the quants. An opener of 58 has come down to 54.
MICHIGAN STATE AT MICHIGAN (on ESPN): Also at 3:30 p.m. ET. Amazing how much the perceptions of these teams has changed since the summer. Michigan State was around -4 on the “Game of the Year” line that came out at the Golden Nugget. Now, Michigan is laying more than a touchdown. The opener of -6.5 has been bet through the key number up to -7.5. You regulars know that’s an important development because there wasn’t buy back on the dog on the other side of seven. Sharps LOVE this Michigan defense…and it’s not hard to cover spreads when the loser isn’t scoring. Not much happening on the total. Last week’s very low total in Northwestern/Michigan only saw an Over because of two non-offensive TD’s.
ARIZONA STATE AT UTAH (on ESPN): This has been time changed to 10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. Pacific (prime time out West) for the showcase late spot on ESPN. This is a very important game in the Pac 12 South…where Utah is suddenly in position to almost wrap things up already. Not much betting interest yet…as we’re still at Utah -6.5 and 56. The lack of a movement toward the seven is very telling though. Sharps didn’t want Utah -6.5 or they would have jumped in quickly. Sportsbooks know ASU will get hit hard by the Wise Guys if a seven goes up. If the public decides to back the TV favorite, that could set up a tug-of-war between Utah -6.5 and ASU +7.
USC AT NOTRE DAME (on NBC): This prime time rivalry game has fallen off the radar a bit because USC fired head coach Steve Sarkisian this week. It’s still a very important matchup for the Irish and their hopes to crack the Final Four at the end of the season. Notre Dame opened at -4 and has been bet up to -6.5. Dog money would likely come in at the key number of seven. Though, it’s very hard to support USC with big money because of all the turmoil within the program right now. Based on pure talent, the current line can’t really be justified. Given what’s happening off the field, it’s hard to know what mindset the Trojans will bring. Nothing happening on the opening total of 61.
OLE MISS AT MEMPHIS (on ABC or ESPN2): This game appears very late in your schedule, but has actually been time changed to a very early start at noon ET. Interesting regional rivalry game because Ole Miss wants to get back into national championship discussions after the bad loss at Florida. And, Memphis is very good for a mid major. Ole Miss opened at -9.5 and has been bet up through the key number of 10 up to -10.5. That’s an important move as you know because there wasn’t buy back on the home underdog. The Wise Guys are betting like they expect a statement win from the SEC entry. The Over/Under was hit hard by quants, with an opener of 67 now up to 70.5. If you watched the Memphis/Cincinnati weeknight game awhile back, you can understand that move.
PENN STATE AT OHIO STATE (on ABC): Odd, with so many huge matchups this weekend, that the 8 p.m. ET game on ABC is a projected blowout. But, these are name programs…and Ohio State continues to play down to the level if its opponents. This could turn out to be competitive. Ohio State opened at -18 and has been bet up to -18.5. The Over/Under is holding steady at 47. Is this the week the Buckeyes finally impress? A few in the market think so. Just a few.
My top college picks are always available for credit card purchase here at the website. If you have any questions about longterm packages, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. Don’t forget that the ALCS begins Friday night when Toronto visits Kansas City (sharps are impressed with the Blue Jays, which is why they’re about -125 on the road in Game One, and -145 to win the series). Be sure you ask about combination packages that include baseball when you call.
Back with you late Friday to discuss the NFL. Thanks for reading.
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