Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Great game set for Thursday night in the NFL, with two hot teams squaring off. Plus, some late-breaking news about a major college quarterback to talk about today. A lot to discuss in my look at how sharps are betting late-week football and Saturday’s marquee college matchups. I’ll be back at the usual time Friday to finish out pro football.
Let’s get to it. Games are presented in the order they appear in the Nevada Rotation.
CAROLINA AT PITTSBURGH: Carolina has won and covered three in a row, while Pittsburgh has won and covered four in a row. Sharps liked the dog here at the opening line of +5, and kept right on betting the Panthers at +4.5 and +4. We’re painted at Pittsburgh -3.5 as I prepare this report. I don’t expect the number to come down to the key number of three. Sports books would get bombarded with sharp (professional) and square (public) money on the favorite at that price. Sharps like the dog at four or more. Not much happening on the total, which is at 51.
WAKE FOREST AT NC STATE: Big move on host North Carolina State, as an opener of -15 has been pounded all the way up to -19 or -19.5 depending on where you shop. The Over/Under rose from 65 to 68. So, we have a very clear assessment that sharps think Wake Forest’s defense is so horrible that State can do what it wants. Might take the full 20 to bring in underdog money. Old school sharps are waiting to see if it goes that high by kickoff. They’ll take almost any double-digit underdog on principal, particularly in college TV games.
LOUISVILLE AT SYRACUSE: This one’s been sitting on Syracuse -21 all week. Louisville is awful, making it very difficult to bet on them. Syracuse doesn’t have the defense to protect a big lead in garbage time. So, no interest either way from sharps or squares. I would expect old-school sharps to eventually buy a bit of Louisville. They’re hoping the line goes up so a 21-point margin would be a win rather than a push. Total is up a smidge indoors from 67.5 to 69.
FRESNO STATE AT BOISE STATE: Remember when Boise State was getting so much respect on the road at Oklahoma State? Now they’re home dogs in a big November matchup! Fresno State opened at -2.5 and has stood pat. It’s telling that the line didn’t move to the key number of three. Sports books know Boise would bring in a lot of money at that line. Might be a game that sees more money line attention than normal. If you like Boise State on its blue turf, you might as well take the short return to win outright. Fresno State laying more juice at pick-em will feel safer to some of that potential favorite money.
SATURDAY MARQUEE MATCHUPS
CLEMSON AT BOSTON COLLEGE: Clemson’s been on fire lately, causing this line to rise from an opener of -17 all the way up to -20.5. Quants really like this new quarterback. But, “defensive dog” backers are looking at Boston College plus the huge number. The public loves betting ranked teams in the playoff hunt. That could bring Clemson -21 into play. Many sharps would pounce on the dog at three touchdowns. One of those spots where different factions of sharps will be on different sides depending on the number. Quants moved early at anything below 20. The Over/Under is down from 61 to 57, as the “defensive dog” guys already made their presence felt on that option.
OREGON AT UTAH: Hardly anyone’s paying attention to the Pac 12 any more this season. This could be a fun game between good teams. An opener of Utah -3 has been bet up to -4.5 because of its strong home field. Dog lovers would come in at +5…and might have already decided +4.5 is going to be the apex. Can’t suggest an all-out tug-of-war because the public may not be very interested.
WASHINGTON STATE AT COLORADO: Washington State’s one of those ranked teams in playoff discussions. So, they got hit early. Some sharp syndicates are just taking positions on favorites like that, assuming they can come back over the top later in the week if they want. An opener of -4 has been bet up to -6. This home dog usually gets respect. I expect smart money to hit Colorado before kickoff.
AUBURN AT GEORGIA: Georgia opened at -13.5, which was way above what everyone had been expecting for this matchup back before the season started. Slight tick up to -14. Tougher to ask for a blowout here with a ranked team that needs to win because it’s a letdown spot for Georgia after they clinched the East last week. And, many bettors are assuming Georgia won’t beat Alabama in the title tilt anyway, which would give them a second loss. Sharps might fade any move off the 14 in either direction. Total is up from 50 to 52.5
WISCONSIN AT PENN STATE: Penn State was bet up from -8 to -9. Many bettors have soured on Wisconsin given their recent slide due to injuries. It might take the full 10 to bring in dog money. Big rise on the total from 51 to 55.5 because Penn State’s defense tends to play soft. Looks like great weather this weekend across much of the country given Over/Under indicators.
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT ALABAMA: Steep opener of Alabama -24. Nobody wanted to lay that price in the letdown spot off the LSU rout. Some stores are testing 23.5 because only Mississippi State money is coming in. We’ll see what the public does Saturday. Might be a tug-of-war between the public on ‘Bama -23.5 and sharps +24. Or, the public will leave this game alone to focus on other matchups.
TEXAS AT TEXAS TECH: Longhorns are up from -1 to -2 at a tough site. Both teams lost high scoring wars last week. Hard to know which will be able to recover the quickest. Texas Tech has some quarterback issues because the starter suffered a punctured lung. That’s the cause of the early move on Texas.
FLORIDA STATE AT NOTRE DAME: Ian Book of Notre Dame was ruled OUT of this game Thursday morning because of a rib injury suffered last week vs. Northwestern. That caused the line to drop from -17 to -16.5. Tough to like FSU given their horrible form this season. And, Notre Dame’s “backup” quarterback was the starter in the first month of the season. That’s why we saw just a minor move on the news off the key number.
OHIO STATE AT MICHIGAN STATE: We’ve been sitting on Ohio State -3.5 all week. Nobody wants to bet the Buckeyes any more. Michigan State’s offense is so bad that squares don’t like betting Sparty either. I wouldn’t be shocked if the public eventually finds Ohio State irresistible at this price. Squares have lost so much money on the Buckeyes though…we may not see much of a move. This line of 3.5 has been solid so long that sharps would probably fade any move off the hook. The Wise Guys would take OSU at -3, but MSU at +4 for percentage value.
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. Already a lot of buzz in Las Vegas about that sport given what’s happened in this first week.
Thanks again for reading. See you Friday afternoon for the NFL.