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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 3:00 PM

The college football National Championship game is always very heavily bet here in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada. It will have the highest TV ratings of the year…meaning a very large “public” handle. Sharps will bet the game too, but Wise Guy action will be drowned by public action in terms of the percentages.

There’s been plenty of time for sharps and squares alike to make their preferences known. And, it’s not like weather is going to be a factor at this particular site just outside Phoenix, Arizona in a way that would trigger a late surge. Let’s see how the Wise Guys have been betting the side and total thus far in the final game of the 2015-16 college football season…Alabama vs. Clemson for the National Championship!



It’s been fairly well publicized in the local and national media that the pointspread here has been hopping between Alabama -6.5 and Clemson +7. There are some deep-pocketed fans from both teams, so that’s a “square tug-of-war” to a degree. Rich Alabama faithful can’t believe they can lay -6.5 in this game (particularly after the SEC as a conference has won so many postseason blowouts). Clemson money is shocked that their undefeated Tigers are getting seven after they beat Oklahoma so easily. Horrible news for the industry if the game lands exactly on the seven! Alabama money would win…Clemson money would push…and nobody would lose!

How are sharps betting? There’s a similar tug-of-war because the seven is so important. Enough games land right on the seven that playing intelligently around the number offers value. Generally speaking, more sharps like Clemson +7 than Alabama -6.5. Perhaps on game day we’ll see some of the deepest Wise Guy pockets be more definitive one way or the other.

The best expectation overall is that the “general” public will be backing Alabama strong enough to keep the line at seven in the hours before kickoff. Squares like betting favorites. Alabama is playing great. Alabama just made them a fortune in that 38-0 win over Michigan State that covered by four touchdowns. The “typical” square that doesn’t have a rooting allegiance to one side or the other will want Alabama at -6.5 or -7.

I’ll say this…if we see a move OUT of that current 6.5 to 7 range…sharps would try to POUND it right back. Clemson +7.5 would be a strong Wise Guy play. Alabama -6, while less likely to begin with, would also get hit hard. The market has tightly defined the “right” range in the view of most.

On the Over/Under, we’ve seen a big drop from 53.5 down to 50.5. We may see 50 more readily tested before kickoff. There’s respect for both defenses. And, Alabama has been showing a conservative tendency of late to run a lot to avoid turnovers and protect a lead. Sharps really liked Under 45 in Alabama/Michigan State…and that game needed a punt return touchdown just to get to 38. Quants and situational Wise Guys alike thought 53.5, 53, 52.5, 52, and 51.5 were way too high. Some are still buying.

Will there be a buy back on the Over? It’s hard to see what would cause that because game conditions are known, and there likely isn’t any potential injury news that would “help the offense” for either team. It’s true that the general public typically prefers Overs. But, squares just watched both defenses shine in the Semifinals. Plus, sportsbooks would rather take a position against public “Over” money if it does come in than tinker too much with the number. If the sharpest quants are telling you with their money that they expect a game in the 40’s, sportsbook operators are okay letting the public bet Over 50 or so if squares decide that’s the way they want to go on game day.

You can purchase my championship slate right here at the website with your credit card on Monday. If you have any questions, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Don’t forget to ask about college basketball when you call. That’s my favorite sport to handicap and it’s about to be front and center down the road to March Madness.

Back with you tomorrow for my weekly look at NFL Futures prices. Here’s what’s on tap this week…

Tuesday: a look at the Super Bowl odds for the eight remaining NFL playoff teams.

Wednesday: an introductory article on College Basketball Futures as we start to focus on the path to the Big Dance. I’ve picked Wednesday for this weekly feature because that’s always a huge college hoops night.

Friday: back to the NFL for a look at sharp betting in the four Divisional Round matchups. The bye teams make their debuts against the survivors of Wildcard Weekend.

Busy week ahead! Thanks for reading. See you again Tuesday.


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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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