Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 1:00 PM
The late-week college schedule has really expanded this Thursday and Friday. So, 11 games to talk about before we even get to a couple of marquee Saturday matchups. As always, we start this report with the Thursday night NFL game. We’ll discuss the rest of the pro football slate Friday afternoon at the usual time.
MIAMI AT HOUSTON: An opener of Houston -7 was bet up to -7.5 very early. Looks like a tug-of-war now between Miami +7.5 and Houston -7. Sharps (professional wagerers) are generally betting the dog with the hook. Though, some of that early-week money on the favorite came from Wise Guys too. Squares (the public) hate betting on Brock Osweiler. But, DeShaun Watson of Houston is really banged up. The opening total of 45.5 has come down to as low as 44 in some spots early Thursday.
TOLEDO AT WESTERN MICHIGAN: Western Michigan has been bet up from an opener of -4 to -6. Both teams have been money burners this season. Toledo is worse at 2-5 ATS (compared to 3-5 ATS for Western). Money did stop on the six. We haven’t seen any buy back yet. Might take a hook to bring in dog lovers. Nobody wants Toledo yet.
BALL STATE AT OHIO: A light tug-of-war between Ohio -10.5 and Ball State +11. The big news here was on the total, as quants drove the opener of 60.5 all the way up to 65. Must mean the weather is going to be good (forecast looks like cool, dry, and calm).
APPALACHIAN STATE AT GEORGIA SOUTHERN: Both teams have been great for bettors this season. Appalachian State is 5-1 ATS, while Georgia Southern is 6-1 ATS. Appalachian is the much stronger team overall, which is why it opened at -9.5 on the road here. Stores quickly went to the key number of -10. I’m seeing some testing -10.5 Thursday. Dog lovers, particularly the old school guys who like taking double digits, are going to grab that hook. Possible a tug-of-war just above the 10 from now to kickoff. The Over/Under is down two points from 51.5 to 49.5.
GEORGIA TECH AT VIRGINIA TECH: An opener of Virginia Tech -4.5 has been bet down to -3.5. That despite the fact that Georgia Tech is only 2-5 ATS this season. Guys who run models always focus on the run defense of any Georgia Tech opponent. Hokies looks vulnerable there, which is why this number has dropped. If the key number of Va. Tech -3 is tested, that would likely bring in sharps and squares alike. We’ll have to see if sports books want to stay one-sided above the key number, or risk whatever happens with the three in play.
BAYLOR AT WEST VIRGINIA: West Virginia hasn’t been as consistently good as many sharps expected, even with a 4-2 ATS record. The outright loss at Iowa State (and bad halves here and there) surprised quite a few Wise Guys. That’s why nobody was interested in laying the opening price of West Virginia -14. Dog lovers eventually took that key number, causing the line to drop to -13.5. We’ll either see a tug-of-war between the host -13.5 and Baylor +14 after the public gets involved. Or, we’ll just hang below the two-touchdown mark because squares are saving their chalk bets for later in the weekend. Another big total move, with the opening Over/Under of 63 getting bet up to 67.5 or 68. No wind in the forecast, which is good news for both offenses.
MIAMI AT BOSTON COLLEGE: Big move on Miami, up from -3.5 to -5.5. That’s very important because it moved HARD away from the key number of three. And, Boston College has been covering spreads this year, with a 5-2 ATS mark so far. Sharps, particularly the quants, see Miami as the much superior neutral field side. Big move too on the Under. First numbers up offshore were bad lines. But, even stragglers have seen Under money bringing the total down to 49.5 from the low 50’s. Sharps love Miami and Under, even in good football weather.
INDIANA AT MINNESOTA: Not much happening here. Indiana opened at -2.5, very rare for that program to be a road favorite in league play. But, Minnesota has to be pretty bad to be getting points at home…so nobody wants them either. I would expect dog money to hit the board at +3 if that comes into play. Might not. Even though this is a good TV window, this just isn’t a game that’s going to appeal to the general public.
UTAH AT UCLA: Nothing much here either. Utah opened at a steep line of -10.5. That’s way out of character for this series. But, UCLA is uncharacteristically bad! Utah is now the favorite to win the Pac 12 South. Will the Utes take their eye off the ball against a bad team? No early interest on a conference home underdog, suggesting old-school guys are hoping for +11. The public isn’t ready to lay that kind of price with an untested favorite. Too bad…this would have been a heavily bet matchup in recent seasons.
WYOMING AT COLORADO STATE: Two very disappointing teams. Wyoming looked great in its opener at New Mexico State, but that turned out to be a mirage against a bad opponent. Colorado State was supposed to improve under its hyped head coach, but got worse. Early line of CSU -2 is down to -1.5 in some spots. Interesting that sharps are biding their time in so many of these late-week games. If the quants don’t see a math edge, nobody bets. The Over/Under has dropped from openers around 48-49 down to 45.5 or 46.
LOUISIANA TECH at FLORIDA ATLANTIC: This was a date-change from Saturday, so be sure you’re aware of this extra Friday night betting option. It’s not listed in schedules that were printed early. An opener of FAU -3 was bet quickly up to -3.5. It’s stuck there ever since. So, money stopped with the hook. Early sharp bettors are happy to be in on the key number. No interest on the dog with the hook yet. I imagine sharps would fade any moves in either direction. Dog lovers would step in at +4. The math guys who bet early will come back in on Florida Atlantic if -3 is available again.
SATURDAY MARQUEE MATCHUPS
GEORGIA VS. FLORIDA (in Jacksonville): Another lousy Saturday schedule in terms of big TV games. The annual cocktail party is the biggest attraction of the afternoon, in the weaker division of the SEC…with Georgia coming off a bad recent loss to LSU. An opener of Georgia -7 was bet down to -6.5. Any store that re-tests the seven sees Florida money come in hard. The public will probably lay -6.5 because of prior reputations for these programs. I think that’s going to set up a tug-of-war on game day between Georgia -6.5 and Florida +7. But, it’s possible enough squares watched Georgia/LSU that we stay below the key number until kickoff.
TEXAS AT OKLAHOMA STATE: Texas opened at -1.5 at the earliest shops…then -2 or -2.5 at others. Sharps hit the Horns hard enough to drive through the key number of three all the way up to -3.5. We’ve been painted there for awhile. Okie State has laid some real eggs this season. While Texas has played well since that bad opening loss at Maryland. I think we’ll stay over the key number until kickoff. Sharps have shown they don’t want the Cowboys this time around. The public will either be “Texas or pass.”
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Thanks again for reading. See you again Friday afternoon to talk about the rest of the NFL.