Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, November 13, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Only a few true college blockbusters this week. But we have important games all over the card that could influence the championship chase if major upsets are scored. I’ve picked out nine games for us to look at. They’re listed in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules. Most have been time-changed for TV, so I’ll list the correct starting times on those.
SELECT SATURDAY MARQUEE MATCHUPS
MEMPHIS AT HOUSTON (on ESPN2): This one has been time changed to 7 p.m. ET, as the American Athletic Conference continues to earn prime TV placement this year with quality play. Not quite as huge as it could have been since Memphis lost to Navy last week. Will the Tigers bounce back at Houston? Sharps don’t seem to think so. The opening line of Houston -6 has been bet up to -7. There wasn’t much interest on a buy back on the dog…though the Houston money did largely stop at the seven. Not much happening on the total. I’ll only mention Over/Unders when there’s been a move of at least a point.
CLEMSON AT SYRACUSE (on ESPN): This one has been time changed to 3:30 p.m. ET. I admit it’s a stretch to call this a “marquee” matchup. But, Clemson is the #1 team in the selection committee poll, and the Carrierdome can be a tricky site for flat visitors. LSU can tell you about that. Clemson is coming off that big win over FSU last week. The opener of Clemson -26.5 was bet up to the key number of 28 by position-takers in advance of public action. It might take more than the 28 to bring in money on shorthanded Syracuse.
WASHINGTON STATE AT UCLA (on ESPN): This one has been time changed to 10:45 p.m. ET for a very late start on ESPN. Of course, that’s prime time here in the Pacific time zone. Washington State’s been a pleasant surprise in some spots this season. But, sharps were all over UCLA at the opener. The first number up of UCLA -7.5 has been bet all the way up to -10.5. That means it went through the key number of 10 without any buy back. Bruins money did stop at 10.5. So…HUGE sharp support for UCLA at -10 or less.
ALABAMA AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (on CBS): Set to go at its original starting time of 3:30 p.m. ET. Alabama opened at -7, and was bet up to -8 in advance of expected public interest. This is obviously a letdown spot for the Crimson Tide off the big win over LSU last week. But, this team keeps winning big in every major TV test. I do expect the Wise Guys to fade any square interest on ‘Bama between now and kickoff. Dog interest is out there…but is biding its time for the best return. The opening total of 49.5 has been bet up to 51.5 because Mississippi State will have to pass the whole game and Alabama doesn’t mind opening things up vs. this kind of opponent.
ARKANSAS AT LSU (on ESPN): This one has been time changed to 7:15 p.m. ET. Nice sleeper matchup because Arkansas just beat Ole Miss and LSU may have lost some fire after being humbled by Alabama. There has been Wise Guy interest on the dog at the opener of +8.5 and at +8. We’re now seeing the game painted at +7.5. Will the game drop to seven? I think some sharps and the public would hit the Tigers if the key number is brought into play. I know the Arkansas money was very happy to get eight or better. HUGE move here on the total, as an opener of 58 is all the way down to 54. Quants expect both teams to play smash mouth football and run clock. Weather isn’t expected to be an issue…so that’s a quant-based move.
OKLAHOMA AT BAYLOR (on ABC): The best matchup of the day has been time changed to 8 p.m. ET. Big move on Oklahoma out of the gate. The opener of Baylor -5 was bet all the way down to -2.5…where it’s stayed since. That’s really important because it goes against a higher ranked home favorite…and past the key number of three without a buy back. Sharps basically LOVE Oklahoma here…and see them as the superior team. Home field advantage is worth at least 3 points …possibly more here because of Baylor’s strong results in Waco under this coach. Yet, the market price is less than the value of home field. The total has come down from 78 to 76, possibly because there’s a chance of rain…but also because of question marks about Baylor’s current inexperienced quarterback.
UTAH AT ARIZONA (on Fox Sports 1): Another Pac 12 matchup time changed to 10 p.m. ET for a late TV window. Utah has been bet up from -5 to -6 because Arizona has been struggling so badly recently. The Over/Under is down from 64 to 62 because there’s a slight chance for rain in the desert…and because Utah generally runs clock when in control of a game.
FLORIDA AT SOUTH CAROLINA (on ESPN): This one has been time changed to noon ET. You’ll note this is the first time I’ve typed that sentence today. This may be the worst noon ET TV window I’ve ever seen! Florida is still sitting at -7.5, which was the opener. Not a heavily bet game. But, one that could get interesting if Florida is flat after celebrating the SEC East championship. Easy to look past this one as they start to think about their rivalry game with Florida State and then the SEC title tilt.
OREGON AT STANFORD (on FOX): Normally a huge game in the Pac 12 North, this one has been time changed to 7:30 p.m. ET for TV. Oregon’s been a disappointment this season, and is now looking to play spoiler for Stanford’s hopes of sneaking into the Final Four as a one-loss team. Sharps took early positions on Stanford at -8.5, -9, and -9.5. When the game moved to the key number of 10, some Oregon money started coming in. That could signal a tug-of-war through the day with Stanford -9.5 and Oregon +10. Tough to imagine Oregon as a double digit dog based on the team’s accomplishments of the past several seasons.
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