Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, October 23, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Unlike last week, the Saturday schedule isn’t exactly chock full of blockbuster matchups involving highly ranked teams. But, there are some tests on the card for contenders in the national championship hunt. If some quality dogs score some upsets, this week’s action could have an even bigger impact on the eventual brackets than last week’s did.
Games are listed in rotation order so you can makes notes in your schedules. A few games have been time-changed for television. I’ll let you know the new starting times in those.
SELECT SATURDAY MARQUEE MATCHUPS
CLEMSON AT MIAMI (on ABC): This one goes as originally scheduled at noon ET. Definitely one to pay attention to because #6 Clemson has a real shot at running the table if they can survive this tester. The opening line of -4.5 has been bet all the way up to the key number of -7, with some stores testing -7.5. That’s a huge move…particularly since underdog interest didn’t show up until the hook was brought into play. Clearly oddsmakers were thinking “upset” more seriously than early sharp action was. We may see a tug-of-war from this point forward with Clemson -7 and Miami +7.5. The Over/Under has been bet up from 53 to 55.
UTAH AT USC (on FOX): Time changed to 7 p.m. ET for a prime time telecast, this is one everyone’s been talking about. Never in history has a #3 team in the national polls been an underdog to an unranked opponent. Here the line is more than a field goal…so the market sees USC as the better side in neutral field Power Ratings. The opener of -3 was bet up right away to a solid -3.5. The four was tested for a bit…and Utah money came in pretty strong. So…we know that some sharps (and much of the “local” public support in Las Vegas) would like USC at -3. Sharp money (and some public money too, to be fair) comes in strong at Utah +4. Would expect the line to settle on -3.5. through the day. The total has been bet up from 58 to 59.5 because USC played into the low 70’s vs. both Stanford and Notre Dame.
TENNESSEE AT ALABAMA (on CBS): You know it’s a relatively quiet week in the SEC when “the best game in the best conference” at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS features a 15-point favorite. Alabama opened at -14 and was bet up on the heels of comfortable victories over Georgia, Arkansas (a non-cover in garbage time) and Texas A&M. Stores testing -15.5 do see Tennessee support. Might be another spot where the big dog hangs tough, or is a threat in garbage time. The Over/Under has come down from 56 to 53 because recent Alabama scoreboard totals have been inflated with defensive points. Quant projection programs often erase those from the equation because they’re so random.
TEXAS A&M AT OLE MISS (on ESPN): This one has been time changed to 7 p.m. ET for the main night game on ESPN. Not quite the showcase these teams or the SEC had been hoping for. Both lost last week (the Aggies to ‘Bama, and Ole Miss in an early TV game at Memphis). Ole Miss opened at -4, and has been bet up to -5. Stores testing -5.5 see Aggie money come in. We’re not near any key numbers…so the game may settle right near the five through the day. The total has dropped from 66 to 64, possibly on the chance for rain.
TEXAS TECH AT OKLAHOMA (on ABC or ESPN2): This one has been time changed to 3:30 p.m. ET as part of the midday window. Another game where the favorite was bet up on the opener. Clearly a theme this week where sharps liking the favorite jumped in early to beat the public…while those liking the dog waited to try to time the apex. Oklahoma -14 is now at -14.5 or -15 in a few spots…though Texas Tech interest hits the +15, and may settle for +14.5 on game day. Big drop on the total from 77 to 73 because a stiff wind is in the forecast. Sharps love betting Unders with passing teams in windy games…and they love it because it works so well!
FLORIDA STATE AT GEORGIA TECH (on ESPN2): This one has been time changed to 7 p.m. ET. The theme continues with favored FSU rising from an opener of -5.5 up to -6.5. Stores testing the seven do see underdog money come in on the key number. Georgia Tech has been a huge disappointment this season. But, they could at least partially make up for that with a big home field win over the undefeated and #9 ranked Seminoles. Total holding steady around 56.5.
OHIO STATE AT RUTGERS (on ABC): Ohio State’s been time changed to the 8 p.m. ET spot on ABC for the second week in a row. The opening line of -21 has been bet up to -21.5. Rutgers hung tough enough with Michigan State in a similar schedule spot recently…which does inspire some dog money above the key number of 21. Note that J.T. Barrett will get the start at QB for the Buckeyes over Cardale Jones. The OSU offense has been a big disappointment this season considering the defenses they’ve been facing. The total of 58.5 jumped to 64 partly as a result of that lineup change. Barrett has been effective when getting chances to play. Looks like bettors who approve of the move focused more on the Over/Under rather than that high team side price.
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Thanks for reading. Back Friday around dinner time for this week’s NFL report.
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