Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Finally, some real marquee matchups to discuss (and bet) this weekend in college football. Today we’ll take a look at how sharps have been betting Alabama/LSU and a few others. But, first, we start with Thursday and Friday action. Games are presented in the order they appear on the official Nevada Rotation. The rest of the NFL weekend will be covered in our Friday afternoon report.
OAKLAND AT SAN FRANCISCO: The line sat on Niners -3 most of the week. But, we’re seeing enough Oakland money hit the board that -2.5 is in play at most shops as I write this. San Francisco has struggled as a favorite since the injury to Jimmy Garappolo, losing twice to horrible Arizona! I’d have to say most Wise Guys are leaving the game alone because both sides are so bad. Those who are betting are taking the ugly dog on principal. The Over/Under has come down from 47 to 45.5.
OHIO AT WESTERN MICHIGAN: Ohio has been bet hard from an opener near pick-up up to the key number of three. Favored money stopped right there. No buy back yet on Western Michigan, which tells you a lot. Sharps love Ohio at anything below the three. We have to assume it will take +3.5 to bring in Western Michigan money. Sports books have to decide if they want to stay one-sided or risk getting middle by posting the hook.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT AKRON: Nothing happening here. We’ve been painted Northern Illinois -6 all week. Given such a long time of stability, we can assume that sharps would fade any move off the relatively key number of six. It’s not as common as the three or seven, but it’s an important number nonetheless. The Over/Under has dropped from 39 to 37. Amazing to see a football total that low in 2018! Smash mouth football in rainy conditions.
TEMPLE AT CENTRAL FLORIDA: An opener of Central Florida -12 has been bet down to -11. Some stores are showing 10.5 as I prepare this report. Interesting that the Wise Guys didn’t give the public much of a chance to lay the points with an undefeated team on the fringes of the playoff discussion. That suggests real enthusiasm for this big dog, rather than just the old school guys taking double digits whenever they can. Sharps like Temple at +11 or better a lot. We’ll see if any of the quants come in to lay chalk if the line drops further.
PITTSBURGH AT VIRGINIA: Looks like a tug-of-war brewing between Virginia -7 and Pittsburgh +7.5. Hard to trust either side. But money does come in from sharp constituencies at the favored lines. I’m sensing more support for Pitt +7.5 than Virginia -7 amongst sharps. We’ll see if the public bets this TV favorite on a quiet Friday. The Over/Under is down two points from 50.5 to 48.5.
WESTERN KENTUCKY AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE: Important move here through a key number. The opener of Middle Tennessee -14.5 has been bet down to -13.5. Though that’s only one point, it’s HUGE because there wasn’t buy back on the favorite below the 14. Sharps love this road dog at +14 or better. No interest on the favorite yet.
COLORADO AT ARIZONA: Arizona has the look of a team that can’t be trusted as a favorite, though you can consider taking occasional flyers on them as a dog. The opener of -4 was bet down to -3, consistent with that theme. Sharps like Colorado a lot at anything above the key number. No buy back yet on the home favorite, even on the key number. The Over/Under has dropped two points from 58.5 down to 56.5.
SATURDAY MARQUEE MATCHUPS
GEORGIA AT KENTUCKY: Who would have thought this game would have been for the SEC East championship?! Kentucky has been better than expected, and caught some breaks in close games. They would win the division with an upset victory here, presumably going on to play Alabama for the league title. The market doesn’t see that happening, though is betting on a competitive game. The opener of Georgia -10 has come down to -9…and even -8.5 in some spots. Sharps like defensive home dogs as a general rule. And, Georgia could be a bit flat off the huge win over Florida last week.
WEST VIRGINIA AT TEXAS: An opener of Texas -2.5 has come down to -2 or -1.5 depending on the store. That’s actually a big deal because money moved AWAY from the key number on the visitor. This is the kind of cheap home favorite the public would normally love to bet. Sharps like West Virginia so much that they took whatever points they could get before a Wise Guy feeding frenzy on the short underdog broke out. Given how shaky the Texas defense has looked since the start of the fourth quarter of the Oklahoma game, informed money (particularly the quants) expects West Virginia’s offense to have a huge day.
NOTRE DAME AT NORTHWESTERN: An opener of Notre Dame -7 has been bet hard up to -9 and -9.5. That’s interesting because Northwestern is a feisty underdog under this head coach. But, the hosts are much more focused on Big 10 play right now, and might not bring the same intensity. Sharps are counting on that. Plus, the Wildcats are a bit banged up while the Irish have all the motivation in the world to win big because of their position in the playoff chase. Might take the full +10 to bring in underdog money.
STANFORD AT WASHINGTON: Just a slight click up from the opener of -9.5 to -10. Washington has been a huge disappointment this season, but still gets market respect on its home field. Obviously the sharps don’t trust Stanford to score on a good defense or we would have seen a tug-of-war rather than just a half-point move. This was supposed to be the unofficial championship for the Pac 12 North. Now everyone’s talking about Washington State, with Oregon getting media attention too. Washington may have peaked in a prior season under this head coach.
PENN STATE AT MICHIGAN: Oddsmakers and sharps have loved Michigan all season. Will that hurt them here against a top opponent? The opener of -10 has been bet up to -10.5 or -11. Michigan is another team that needs to impress the selection committee. Looks like some sharps have been betting chalk early in the week on playoff contenders in advance of public money to position themselves for middles or “over the top” buy backs on talented dogs. We’ll see if that happens here. I think informed money would hit Penn State at +11 or more.
ALABAMA AT LSU: The opener of Alabama -14 was bet quickly up to -14.5. That’s where we sit now. I’m confident dog lovers are biding their time, seeing what they can get. The public could push this line up to -15 or more having all day Saturday to bet this prime-time attraction. Quants who think Alabama is going to crush everybody got in at -14. A tug-of-war is going to happen. Bettors are just now getting ready to grab the rope.
Great to have some exciting games to pick from this week. Don’t forget that you can purchase my daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. Remember to ask about college basketball when you call. That’s my favorite sport to handicap and bet. This year’s action begins Tuesday with a blockbuster TV doubleheader.
Thanks for reading. See you Friday afternoon for the NFL.