Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 10:00 AM
We have a very light late-week schedule because the college football regular season has ended for all but a couple of conferences. No Thursday games in the colleges…and then just one Friday mid-major championship showdown before the final Saturday before the bowls. Championship Saturday is going to be huge! Until then…just two football games counting tonight’s NFL attraction. I decided to toss in that hyped Kentucky/UCLA marquee matchup in college hoops.
Let’s get to it.
GREEN BAY AT DETROIT (on NFL Network): the first numbers up offshore were either Green Bay by 5.5 or -5. Those were hit very hard, as sharps have soured on the Packers. Lions money drove those testers immediately down to the key number of three. That’s where we’ve been sitting ever since. It takes a lot of money to move off a three in the NFL. I would expect that line to stand pat until kickoff. If it doesn’t, sharps would fade any public move off the three. Obviously, that’s more likely to be squares liking the Packers at what seems like a cheap price. Squares have mostly given up on the Packers too though. Green Bay has lost four of their last five games straight up, all as favorites.
Don’t forget that sharps won big Thanksgiving night with Chicago (+) at Green Bay. Just no reason right now to invest in the Packers until they play a couple of good games in a row. That road win at Minnesota stopped a losing skid…but didn’t start a winning streak.
The Over/Under opened at 47.5. It’s been bet down to 46.5 by the numbers guys. The game will be played indoors in Detroit, so weather obviously isn’t a factor. Green Bay’s offense has been the big culprit in their recent slide. Packers games have landed on 30, 43, 34, 66 (at Carolina), and 39 during this recent stretch of struggles. That’s four of the five landing at 43 or less, with three of the games finishing in the 30’s.
A recent meeting between these teams in Green Bay ended in an 18-16 upset for the Lions (against a line of +10 and 50).
THURSDAY COLLEGE HOOPS HIGHLIGHT
KENTUCKY AT UCLA (on ESPN): Generally speaking, most stores opened up around Kentucky -5.5…and have seen more Kentucky action out of the gate. Some stores are testing the six to see if that brings in UCLA money. Others are playing a waiting game as I write this. That early money was in anticipation of public action on Kentucky. The Wildcats once again look like a superpower…which means squares will bet them whenever they seem affordable. Sharps thinking about the home dog are going to wait to see if they can time the apex at a higher line. Don’t forget that this is a HOME game for UCLA in Pauley Pavilion, not one of those “made for TV” neutral site showcases that have been so common early this season.
A few places posted an early total of 147.5 at low limits. Sportsbooks are still scared to death of college basketball Over/Unders, particularly early in a new season after rules changes! If you see movement off that opener between now and tip-off, you can assume that’s a sharp influence. The public doesn’t bet college hoop totals in December. It’s oddsmakers vs. sharps on Over/Unders.
MAC CHAMPIONSHIP: NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT BOWLING GREEN (in Detroit on ESPN2): Really big move here as the most common offshore openers of Bowling Green -9 or -9.5 have been bet all the way up to -12. Important because it didn’t just cross the key number of 10…but flew past it all the way to a clean dozen. This isn’t the kind of game the general public would bet early. So, you know that all sharp influences (quants or otherwise) were getting big gradings to Bowling Green. We may see some old school guys who love taking double digits in important games stepping in eventually. They’re likely waiting to see if something closer to two touchdowns comes into play after the public notices this on the schedule Friday.
The Over/Under is currently sitting at 70 or 69.5 depending on the store. Some of the earliest openers were just above 70 before getting bet down. Not much quant interest yet as we have the second straight night of football indoors on this field in Detroit! Bowling Green played a lot of very high scoring games earlier this season…but four of their last five have stayed Under the total. That slowed down anyone who was on the Over bandwagon with the Falcons.
Plenty more to talk about the next couple of days. I’ll be back around lunchtime Friday to discuss Saturday’s college football conference championship games…then late in the day with our weekly look at the rest of the NFL
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Thanks for reading. We have a big football weekend ahead…and a lot of potential drama waiting to be played out in the college football championship picture. #1 Clemson is far from a sure thing to survive against North Carolina in the ACC Championship game. #4 Iowa vs. #5 Michigan State is supposed to be a play-in game in the Big 10 title tilt…but you never know for sure what the committee has up its sleeve. See you Friday!
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