Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, December 24, 2015 at 12:00 PM
There’s no football on Christmas Day this year. But, we have an NFL game on Christmas Eve, and then seven matchups (one NFL, six bowls) on the day after Christmas Saturday. Let’s see how sharps (professional wagerers) have been betting these holiday TV showcases. (Note that we covered Thursday’s bowl games in the Bahamas and Hawaii back on our Monday report)
SAN DIEGO AT OAKLAND: Interesting spot here because it’s not a game that’s going to attract a lot of mainstream attention. It’s a meaningless matchup in the playoff race and it’s on Christmas Eve. But, here in Nevada…Oakland has a strong betting following. The opener of Oakland -5.5 is up to -6. It wouldn’t be right to call that a “sharp” move necessarily. The Wise Guys could easily make a case for value betting the rivalry underdog. Those thinking of that approach are waiting to see if they can get a better number closer to kickoff after more “locals” bet.
WASHINGTON AT PHILADELPHIA: This could be a heavily bet game by kickoff because it’s important…and families will be ready for some NFL football after a busy Christmas! The opener of Philadelphia -3 hasn’t budged. Sharps are less likely to keep stubbornly endorsing the Eagles given last Sunday’s very poor result vs. Arizona. Still, some syndicates don’t trust Washington on the road though…so there might be some Wise Guy investments in the Eagles on the key number. The three is so huge in the NFL (particularly in important games between evenly matched sides) that the bulk of sharps will likely fade any move off the key number. The Over/Under is down in some spots from 48.5 to 47.5. If the weather forecasts get interesting, that could drop.
SATURDAY’S BOWL GAMES
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL: CONNECTICUT VS. MARSHALL (on ESPN)
This probably won’t be an actively bet game by the public because it’s an early kickoff involving low profile teams. Sharps did bet underdog UCONN for value at the opener of +5. We’re now seeing +4.5 in most stores. Connecticut has the better defense, so “defensive dog” lovers did some minor investing at the five.
SUN BOWL: MIAMI VS. WASHINGTON STATE (in El Paso on CBS)
The big move here has been on the total, as an opener of 60 has been bet up by the quants to 62, with some stores now testing 62.5. Washington State’s style tends to create shootouts. Wazzou opened at -2.5, but wasn’t immediately bet toward the three. That tells you sharps weren’t interested in this favorite. There’s been enough public money for some stores to test the three. Sharps will likely hit the dog fairly hard if that becomes more widely available.
HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: WASHINGTON VS. SOUTHERN MISS (in Dallas on ESPN)
A big day for the Pac 12, as Washington is the second of three league teams to take the field. The opener of Washington -8.5 is still fairly solid across the board. You will see a nine here or there. Not much of a public profile for either team…so this will be likely be a quiet one in betting terms. Dog lovers are waiting just in case they can get something better. The total is down from 56 to 54.5 because of a forecast for rain in Dallas, and respect for Washington’s defense.
PINSTIPE BOWL: INDIANA VS. DUKE (in New York on ABC)
Huge move here on the total, as an opener of 66 has sky-rocketed to 71 thanks to the quants. The total may drop in the hours before kickoff if rain becomes more likely. Both teams have a tendency to play shootouts, particularly against other teams of the same ilk. The quants couldn’t believe the opener was in the mid 60’s. On the team side, Indiana is up from an opener of -1.5 to -2.5. That relatively lukewarm interest on the Hoosiers would be trumped by Duke money if the key number of three comes into play. A chance for public money to be a factor here because this is the most entertaining daytime matchup, and it’s an ABC game being played in New York.
INDEPENDENCE BOWL: TULSA VS. VIRGINIA TECH (in Shreveport on ESPN)
Tough to imagine the public paying much attention to this one. Virginia Tech plays ugly football, but they’re 14-point favorites over unheralded Tulsa! Sharps preferring the dog waited for a bit to see if the line went up. It didn’t….so the old-school guys have taken +14…which is causing some stores to drop to +13.5. Not much happening yet on the total.
FOSTER FARMS BOWL: UCLA VS. NEBRASKA (in Santa Clara on ESPN)
Even though both programs had disappointing campaigns (particularly Nebraska, who stole a bowl bid despite having a losing record!), this will likely be a heavily bet “public” game. These are name teams…and UCLA in particular has a betting presence in Vegas. Actually, Nebraska has a larger one than you might expect because of past glory. An opener of UCLA -6 is up a point to -6.5 largely because of “local” money. Sharps would definitely hit the dog pretty hard at +7 because that’s a key number. The total is up a point from 60 to 61.
You can purchase my football BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours Thursday or Saturday morning. Be sure to check on combination packages that include all football through the Super Bowl and basketball for as long as you like.
Back early Saturday for a look at Week 16 NFL after we take Friday off from publishing. Here’s the LOADED report schedule for the next several days…
Saturday: NFL Week 16
Monday: A look at the SIX weekday bowls that are set for Monday and Tuesday (Military, Quick Lane, Armed Forces, Russell Athletic, Arizona, and Texas bowls)
Tuesday: An update on NFL Futures after Week 16 is in the books.
Wednesday: SEVEN college postseason games running Wednesday and Thursday…which are the Birmingham, Belk, Music City, Holiday, Chick-Fil-A, Orange, and Cotton Bowls. (The Orange and Cotton Bowls are the National Semifinals matching Oklahoma vs. Clemson and Alabama vs. Michigan State).
Thursday December 31: The New Year’s and post-New Year’s bash for January 1-2 featuring the Outback, Citrus, Fiesta, Rose, Sugar, TaxSlayer, Liberty, Alamo, and Cactus bowls
Saturday January 2: we close out the 2015 NFL regular season with a look at Week 17.
Thanks for reading and visiting all through the year. Merry Christmas! See you again Saturday morning.
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