Submitted by Richie B. Oddsmakers Consensus on Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM
Back with you to take a look at how sharps (professional wagerers) have been betting some more college football bowl games. Today we’ll run through every bowl from Thursday night’s Gasparilla Bowl to next Wednesday’s four-game grand slam. Then, I’ll have another bowl report for you a week from today. Our usual NFL reports will continue to run on Fridays.
Temple vs. Florida International in the Gasparilla Bowl: Not much happening on the team side, as an opener of Temple -7 has largely stood pat. Some offshore places opened higher, and sharps bet it down to the key number. Sharps would fade any move off the seven between now and kickoff. Quants hit the total early, as an opener of 53.5 is now up to 57. A lot of teams are scoring easy points off turnovers in these early bowls.
Ohio vs. Alabama-Birmingham in the Bahamas Bowl We’ve seen a gradual move toward the underdog. An opener of Ohio -7.5 dropped and sat on the key number of seven for several days. Beginning Wednesday, more 6.5’s started popping up without enthusiastic buy back on the favorite. We’ll probably either see a tug-of-war between UAB +7 and Ohio -6.5, or a firm 6.5 before kickoff. It’s possible more dog interest brings the line lower. Dogs are off to a great start ATS…and these early bowls don’t have “public” favorites.
Wyoming vs. Central Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl The earliest openers were bet up from Wyoming -1 to Wyoming -3 because many sharps expected Wyoming’s quarterback to return from injury. When it was confirmed that he would a couple of days ago, we moved to Wyoming -3.5. Some stores have started pulling back to a field goal because Josh Smith wasn’t setting the world on fire when he was healthy. The total is still in the mid 40’s because temperatures are supposed to be cold at kickoff and through the game.
Texas Tech vs. South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl: An opener of South Florida -2.5 just moved up to -3. Looks like it’s going to be very rainy, which plays more into the hands of USF than Texas Tech. The total opened at 64.5, and is now up to 66.5. Sloppy play is leading to high scoring bowl games so far…and this one could get very sloppy.
San Diego State vs. Army in the Armed Forces Bowl: We’ve been hopping between San Diego State -6.5 or -6 for a few days now. That’s a lot of respect for underdog Army, because Nevada sharps really like this SDSU team and its start running back…but the line is still under a touchdown. Army money hits the board anywhere that shows +6.5 or higher. Probably a tug-of-war between SDSU -6 and Army +6.5 between now and kickoff.
Toledo vs. Appalachian State in the Dollar General Bowl: An opener of Toledo -8 is down to -7. I’d expect sharps to fade any move off the seven. Though, it’s possible that enough Appalachian State sentiment is out there that we’d stick at +6.5 in the hours leading up to kickoff. Sharp dog lovers are happy with their start in the bowls so far. This one is also in Alabama…meaning rainy weather could be a factor based on the current forecast. Appalachian State isn’t as poorly suited to rain as earlier dog Texas Tech.
Houston vs. Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl: We’ve been sitting on Houston -2.5 for a long time (after an early opener of -2). You regular readers know that sharps must like the dog for the line to stay under the key number of three so long. The Wise Guys will wait and hope for a three to come into play. If dogs keep covering all these early bowls, that might not happen. Sharps who liked Houston already got in at -2 (there weren’t many of them). Dog lovers are biding their time.
Utah vs. West Virginia in the Heart of Texas Bowl: You can tell by the high line of Utah -6.5 that West Virginia quarterback Will Grier isn’t likely to make it back from his broken finger injury. West Virginia would probably be a small favorite if he were healthy. The opener of Utah -4.5 has been bet up. Though, it’s expected sharps would take the underdog Mountaineers at plus 7. The Over/Under is up a couple of points from 54 to 56 based on quant interest.
Duke vs. Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl: The earliest offshore lines up were around Duke -3. The Blue Devils were hit hard at those lower prices. Las Vegas opened at Duke -4.5. We’re now seeing Duke -5, where we’ve settled in for a bit. This is the dead area between the key numbers of 3 and 7. My sense is that dog lovers are waiting to see if they can get something better early next week. Duke isn’t a “public” favorite, but this is a major conference laying points against a mid-major, which might bring in square chalk money.
Kansas State vs. UCLA in the Cactus Bowl: Kansas State has settled in at -2.5, after early lines were lower. Another one of those games where the favorite would get interest at pick-em, -1, or even -2…but sharps would pound the dog if +3 became available. Bruins money is waiting for that key number. Quants have driven the total up from 63.5 to 65. In any of these “outdoor” games, early week weather forecasts could drive additional action.
Florida State vs. Southern Miss in the Independence Bowl: Not many double-digit lines this season. Florida State opened at -14, and has been bet up to -16 of -16.5 depending on the store. Florida Atlantic covered a tall number, but that was a home game. Dog lovers, particularly old-school guys, are waiting to see if +17 will come up before kickoff. Squares (the public) will be more likely to lay this price if favorites started coming in more heavily in prior action. The opening total of 50 is down to 49. That’s a low total for such a high spread. Quants will perceive value on “dog and Under” combos.
Iowa vs. Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl: Most stores are now at Iowa -2.5 because sharps hit BC so hard when +3 is available. We’re either going to settle on 2.5…or see the public take Iowa enough to create a tug-of-war. Tough to anticipate this far out. Squares remembering Iowa’s blowout of Ohio State, and near-miss against Penn State will like this cheap favorite. Those paying closer attention will be impressed with BC’s late surge.
Texas vs. Missouri vs. the Texas Bowl: A great sleeper before the top programs hit the schedule. Missouri closed the season playing fantastic ball. Inconsistent Texas played extremely well during its upswings. The opener of Missouri -1 was bet up to -3, though sharp money does hit Texas at the key number. We may have a tug-of-war between Mizzou -2.5 and Texas plus three all the way from now to kickoff (barring suspensions or injuries). Solid betting constituencies for both sides of this attraction.
Purdue vs. Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl: First time so far we’ve had a tug-of-war on the other side of the three. Arizona gets enough respect at -3 to encourage sports books to use the hook. Purdue +3.5 has been a popular bet for dog lovers. Not quite the energy that we’re seeing in Texas/Missouri. But, this is the last game on the card, which gives bettors all day to get involved. I know a few sharps who, before the bowl matchups were announced, had BOTH of these teams on their watch lists. They were disappointed the pair matched up.
Easy to see that the bowl schedule is really going to pick up in very short order. You can purchase my BEST BETS in all sports right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure you ask about combination packages with college basketball when you call. College basketball is my favorite sport to handicap and bet.
Back with you Friday to cover Week 16 of the NFL. Thanks for reading.