Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Back for a new week of college and pro football. Today we’ll look at how sharps have been betting Thursday and Friday action, as well as marquee matchups in Saturday’s relatively soft schedule. I’ll be back with you Friday afternoon to study the rest of this weekend’s NFL.
Games are presented in the order they appear in the Nevada Rotation so you can make notes in your personal schedules.
GREEN BAY AT SEATTLE: We had been painted Seattle -2.5 all week, but that moved to a solid three across the board this morning. You could take that two ways. Either sharps and the public have decided that Seattle shouldn’t have been laying less than a field goal on its very strong home field. Or, that Green Bay was going to be a huge teaser play, moving from +2.5 to +8.5 with a six-point adjustment…so sports books decided to scoot up to avoid that exposure. Maybe it was a mix. Seattle was probably getting the most team-side money at -2.5…and that would have been a huge window for a middle. Sharps were going to be rooting for that, oddsmakers sweating it.
TOLEDO AT KENT STATE: The opener of Toledo -14 has been bet all the way down to Toledo -12 or -11.5. Part of that may be due to weather, with temperatures right near freezing and a chance for precipitation. But, dog lovers definitely outnumbered chalk bettors in terms of the sharps. This isn’t a game the public would bet…so there was no reason for underdog money to wait. Plus, you regulars know that old-school sharps love taking double digit dogs in any sport. A lot of factors in play here. The Over/Under drop from 61 to 58 was definitely weather-influenced.
TULANE AT HOUSTON: Another dog getting interest here, as an opener of Houston -11 has been bet down to -8.5. Not sure what price will start bringing in favorite money. Sharps, particularly the quants were getting gradings to Tulane at anything above the eight. This is another game the public won’t bet, particularly with a great matchup in the NFL on TV. Weather shouldn’t be an issue in Houston based on the current forecast.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC AT NORTH TEXAS: We’ve jumped the key number of three, with North Texas opening at -2.5 before being bet quickly up to -4. That’s a HUGE move because three’s are such a common final victory margin. Movement did stop on the four…where dog money starts to come in. So, sharps LOVE the Mean Green at -3 or better, and some still laid the hook. Not sure if this will set up a tug-of-war later today, or if we’ll just sit on the four until kickoff.
MEMPHIS AT SMU: Not much interest here, with a slight tick from the opener of Memphis -8 up to -8.5. This isn’t a high-strike range for final margins…so that’s not much of a move. Might take the full SMU +9 to bring in dog money. The public is more likely to bet here because there’s no NFL on TV at the same time. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a game-day tug-of-war between Memphis -8.5 and SMU +9.
BOISE STATE AT NEW MEXICO: This line has come down from a high opener of Boise State -21.5 to -19.5. That’s a fairly important move because 20 and 21 are common victory margins. They’re not key numbers the say way 3 and 7 are…but they’re much more key than the numbers around them (18-19-22-23). Sharps clearly think inconsistent Boise was priced too high. This wasn’t so much about “love” for New Mexico as it was about line value when a steep road favorite has to travel right after a big game.
SATURDAY MARQUEE MATCHUPS
CINCINNATI AT CENTRAL FLORIDA: This has been time-changed for a prime time telecast on ABC, which tells you what a horrible schedule we have this Saturday in terms of entertainment value. Sports books love it when there are a lot of big TV games driving traffic. They’ll have to wait a week. Even though both of these teams are ranked, neither is respected in Vegas Power Ratings. An opener of Central Florida -8 was bet down to -7. Sharps saw how easily Temple moved the ball on UCF awhile back, and is assuming Cincinnati will be able to do enough to hang within the eight. Sharp money stopped on the key number of seven. The public will probably bet the favorite in the TV game…setting up a likely tug-of-war through the day Saturday between UCF -7 and Cincinnati +7.5.
SYRACUSE VS. NOTRE DAME (at Yankee Stadium, NY): This is actually the game of the day because not much of interest is happing in the major conferences. Two ranked teams. One current final four team. And, an interesting environment at the famous baseball stadium in the Bronx. Notre Dame opened at -10. The line dropped to -9.5 for a couple of days before favorite money started hitting the board yesterday. We’re now seeing Irish -10.5 with a chance for -11 or higher coming into play depending on public interest. This will be a heavily bet game, particularly now that football betting is legal not far from the site (in New Jersey). Looks like different sharp syndicates have different takes. Dog lovers take +10 or more. Some Wise Guys step in on ND at -9.5.
WEST VIRGINIA AT OKLAHOMA STATE: Most interest here was on the total, with an opener of 69.5 rising to 73.5 even though there’s a chance for drizzle with an occasional breeze. The team side like opened at West Virginia -5, and is hanging around there still. Different stores are testing half-point moves in either direction to see if that drives more action.
IOWA STATE AT TEXAS: Important game in the Big 12, with both teams still in the hunt to play Oklahoma in the conference championship game. Both are 5-2 in league play entering the contest. An opener of Texas -3 is still painted. Another game with much more interest on the total. An opener of 51 is down to 46. That’s a big move considering how shaky the Texas defense has been lately! Quants were showing a conservative battle in their simulations. A chance for rain to have an influence too.
USC VS. UCLA: I included this just because it’s such a big betting game here in Las Vegas, and because it’s on national TV. USC opened at -5, and has been bet down to -3.5. USC may need to win this to become bowl eligible because the season finale is against Notre Dame. UCLA is 2-8, and will treat this as its bowl game. Squares (the public) stopped betting USC with enthusiasm awhile back. Dog lovers took +5, +4.5, and +4 when they saw it…figuring they should get in when they could.
I have my eye on a few great college spots this weekend. 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. We have some great matchups coming up soon, including that big tournament in Maui that begins Monday, and features Duke, Auburn, Gonzaga, and Arizona (among others).
Thanks very much for reading. See you Friday afternoon for the NFL.