Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 12:00 PM
A great Thursday schedule kicks off a new weekend in football. We have an NFL game that would be worthy of a Sunday night or Monday night spot, and a college game matching two ranked teams. Let’s see how sharps (professional wagerers) are betting those, plus a few other matchups Friday and Saturday.
New England at Tampa Bay: Even though New England is off to a shaky 2-2 start (that was almost 1-3), the public and many quants are still betting them as a road favorite against the Bucs. An opener of New England -4 went up to -5.5 very quickly…and some sixes are now being tested on game day. If the public stays stubborn…then it might sit on the six all day. Or, we could have a tug-of-war between New England -5.5 and Tampa Bay +6 between now and kickoff. Many sharp dog players are looking at the Bucs here pretty strong. They’re waiting to see if it goes higher, but will happily take +6 if that turns out to be the apex. In essence, squares and the math guys are getting New England to score a lot of points. Old school sharps think New England’s defense isn’t being punished enough in the line. The total is hopping around a bit because of the weather forecast. Quants are getting high scoring gradings…but it might be a rainy, breezy night in Tampa Bay…which makes it harder to have a true shootout.
Louisville at NC State: The opener of Louisville -1 has been bet up through the key number of three all the way to -3.5. That’s usually a telling sign because three is so important. But, here, that could be overly influenced by the public’s love of betting offense and highly productive quarterbacks. A high-octane offense “feels” cheap at lines this low. Sharps preferring the dog are biding their time to see if four or more might come into play. Sharps liking Louisville got in early at the best numbers. The Over/Under has been bet up from 63 to 66…with some stores testing 66.5 early Thursday. Louisville’s tendency is to play high scoring games.
Memphis at Connecticut: Neither Friday game is very appealing…but they could still be fairly actively bet in Nevada because they’re the only football games on the board that night. Memphis opened at -14 over what’s turned out to be a very poor Connecticut side. The public wasn’t interested in betting this one early, so dog players took the +14 to exploit the key number. We’re now seeing Memphis -13.5 in most spots. No movement yet on the high total of 70.
Boise State at BYU: This was supposed to be a showcase game for both teams and their network. Instead, Boise State has been a disappointment (losing badly at home to Virginia), and BYU’s been a disaster. Now BYU is dealing with multiple quarterback injuries too. Boise State is laying -8 on the road because of the host’s injury problems, up slightly from an opener of 7.5. The total is up from 45 to 48, as the math guys got Over gradings due to BYU’s tendency to give away so many cheap points to opponents.
SATURDAY MARQUEE GAMES
Penn State at Northwestern: Vegas was disappointingly quiet last Saturday because there weren’t many good TV games, and because the public has lost so badly in the NFL out of the gate that they don’t have as much spending money as usual on Saturdays. We have another relatively quiet day in terms of matchups that are going to excite people. This one at least has a chance to because the Wildcats can be a feisty home underdog. Penn State went down to the wire at Iowa recently. Here, an opener of Penn State -14 has been bet up to -14.5. Old school dog lovers are waiting to see what they can get with NW. I wouldn’t be shocked if the game reached as high as -16 given all the Heisman hype this week about the Nittany Lions star running back.
Michigan State at Michigan: An opener of Michigan -12 has been bet down to -10.5. A mix of factors here. Sparty looked competitive in a win over Iowa last week (a bit lucky to cover in a defensive struggle). Michigan’s offense hasn’t been reliable yet this season, which makes laying double digits dicey. Though, if -10 comes into play, I believe many quants would step in on the favorite for value. The public will probably prefer Michigan, which might make the current -10.5 the low point.
West Virginia at TCU: I’m including this one because TCU may be on the verge of becoming important. They’re getting a lot of market respect here. An opener of -12 is already much higher than people would have imagined a few weeks ago given preseason expectations. Then the line went UP! We’re now seeing -13.5. The computer guys and some public bettors have hit the favorite out of the gate. I do believe that a large number of sharps would come in HARD on the road dog if +14 comes into play. Is TCU really this good? We’ll find out Saturday.
LSU at Florida: This is the big CBS game in the mid-afternoon. They weren’t expecting to talk about “who’s going to be fired” every week. But, the conference has fallen so far once you get past Alabama that CBS has to show games involving embattled coaches. LSU actually got a lot of respect here for a team that’s falling apart! An opener of Florida -4.5 is down to -2.5 or even -2. That’s a big deal because the key number of three was crossed…and the market held after the move. Given how little has been going right for LSU lately, you have to assume that’s anti-Florida money.
The Sunday schedule is going to be a lot more fun to look at. Back with you at the usual time Friday to run through how sharps have been betting the rest of the NFL slate.
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Thanks for reading. See you Friday.