Submitted by Richie B. Oddsmakers Consensus on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM
Sharps have already been very active in Thanksgiving Day football. Let’s take a look at how the Wise Guys have been betting the big holiday matchups, plus select games from Friday and Saturday. Then, I’ll be back Friday afternoon to review the rest of the NFL weekend.
THANKSGIVING DAY AND NIGHT
Minnesota at Detroit: Most stores opened the game around pick-em or Minnesota -1. Sharps were very impressed with the Vikings last week against the Rams, and drove the game all the way up to the key number of three. As of yet, still not much buy back on the Lions. So, this is a VERY strong move on Minnesota. Sharps have been aggressive with league powers in recent days like New England over Oakland, Philadelphia over Dallas, and Atlanta over Seattle. This feels like one of those games so far. Sharps not only have more respect than oddsmakers realize for the top Super Bowl contenders…but they also bet EARLY to get in before the public.
LA Chargers at Dallas: We’ve flipped favorites, as an opener of Dallas -1 is now the Chargers -1. A few weeks ago, this would have been very hard to imagine. Dallas just beat the Kansas City Chiefs on this field as a favorite, now they’re a home underdog to LAC?! That’s how bad the Dallas defense has looked its last two games. And, the Chargers have been a pet team of the Wise Guys since early on.
NY Giants at Washington: The holiday nightcap might be a tug-of-war between Washington -7 and the NY Giants +7.5. Different sharp syndicates have been playing those for value. I would expect the public to prefer the favorite. But, this isn’t an important game in the playoff picture, and squares may decide to devote more time to celebrating the holiday and less time to betting and sweating a relatively meaningless night game. We’re either going to settle in at Washington -7.5…or see that tug-of-war just above the key number.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State: On opener of Mississippi State -17 has been bet down to Ole Miss +15. A lot of the old school sharps like double digit underdogs in rivalry games. They came in early at the key number, figuring the public wouldn’t get too involved in this token TV game. There’s only one state where fans care about the game! Were we to see a drop all the way down to the key number of -14, that would bring in some of the math guys. I don’t expect that at the moment. Note that the quants drove the Over/Under up from 62 to 66. That suggests the weather is going to be nice, and that this is going to be a LONG game.
SELECT FRIDAY COLLEGE GAMES
Miami at Pittsburgh: It’s telling that Miami opened at -13.5 and wasn’t bet up to the key number of -14. Some stores have tested that…but sharp money comes in very hard on the Panthers at that price. In fact, it’s coming in hard enough after the announcement that Miami had leapfrogged Clemson to #2 in the Playoff Poll that we might see Pitt +13 come into play. This is a look-ahead spot for Miami to the ACC Championship game against Clemson, and Pittsburgh has enough weaponry to make things interesting. Old school sharps in particular like the intangibles of this home dog, but were hoping for colder weather than is currently in the forecast.
California at UCLA: It will be interesting to see how the UCLA players handle the firing of their head coach. Tough spot off the game effort vs. archrival USC last week. An opener of UCLA -8 has been bet down to the key number of seven. We may see a tug-of-war around that number depending on whether squares do well during the day Friday and re-invest in this late kickoff. The public usually bets favorites. Sharps have already made it clear they like Cal at anything over seven.
SELECT SATURDAY GAMES
Ohio State at Michigan: This is always a very heavily bet game. If Michigan had played four good quarters at Wisconsin last week, we might have seen balanced action. Instead, Ohio State has been pounded from an opener of -10 up to -12 or -12.5. It may move even higher before kickoff because the public loves betting the Buckeyes and there’s nothing getting in their way here. Michigan’s starting quarterback suffered a concussion last week, and may not be up to contributing much Saturday. The Buckeyes HAVE to earn style points to have any chance of crashing the Final Four. I would expect -13 at the very least to come into play. Will we see -14? Maybe. The constituency for this dog already lost big money when the Wolverines played Penn State and Wisconsin.
Georgia at Georgia Tech: An opener of Georgia -10 has been bet up to -11. That’s a lot of respect for a road favorite in a rivalry game against a bowl caliber opponent. Georgia was topping respectful lines much of the season, before losing some mojo vs. South Carolina and Auburn. Sharps are going to wait to see what they can get on the underdog. Many will be happy with +11, but might as well hang back to see of +11.5 of +12 comes into play.
Washington State at Washington: Washington continues to get way too much respect from oddsmakers. An opener of Washington -11 has been bet through the key number of 10 down to Wazzou +9.5. Last week, Washington was laying around -17 vs. Utah in a game that went right down to the wire. And, that’s after they were overpriced at Stanford. Sharps love getting double digits with this rivalry dog, and will come back in if the public pushes the number back up before kickoff.
Notre Dame at Stanford: An opener of Notre Dame -1 has been bet up to -2.5. It’s been sitting there for awhile, which tells you sharps would pound Stanford at the key number of +3. Sportsbooks won’t bring that into play unless the public hits the Irish hard before kickoff. It’s possible. But, Notre Dame money just lost at Miami and vs. Navy, which makes it hard to go back to the well one more time here in Palo Alto. We might see a tug-of-war between ND -2.5 and Stanford +3. Or, we’ll just hang here below the key number the whole way.
Alabama at Auburn: This game has been bettable for awhile in Las Vegas and offshore at low limits. Once limits were raised, we settled in at Alabama -4.5. Auburn is getting slightly more interest at that price in terms of respected money. But, stores testing Alabama -4 are seeing squares come in on the Tide. This is going to be a huge betting attraction. It might have set records if it were a prime-time game. Maybe it will set records anyway. The public is anxious to bet big football games after a few quiet weeks on the gridiron. They really came out for the big NFL games last weekend. This is a matchup all college football fans want to bet. Note that the total is down from 50 to 47.5 because both teams have high quality defenses.
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Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll see you Friday when you’re enjoying turkey sandwiches for my NFL report. Don’t forget that college basketball is back on the sports betting scene, and that’s my favorite sport to handicap. Some great stuff is happening already in college hoops, and I went 5-2 last weekend in football, winning all my double-rated games or higher. Holidays are even better when you’re winning!