Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 2:00 PM
Today we’ll cover sharp betting (smart money from professional wagerers) in all five Thanksgiving games, plus marquee matchups in college football Friday and Saturday. I’ll be back with you at the usual time Friday afternoon to look at the rest of the NFL
Games are presented in the order they appear in the Nevada Rotation so you can make notes in your personal schedules.
CHICAGO AT DETROIT: An opener of Chicago -4 was bet down to -3 because quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will either play with a bad shoulder or miss the game. Right now, he’s expected to play. Chase Daniel is the backup…a guy sharps have shown respect for in prior preseasons. Heavy betting may be delayed until Trubisky’s status is certain. Sharps are taking home dog Detroit at +3.5 or more as they wait. How far would the line move if Trubisky can’t go? Different oddsmakers are saying different things to the media. We’ll just have to let it play out.
WASHINGTON AT DALLAS: Dallas went on the board at -9 because Washington quarterback Alex Smith was lost for the season to a broken leg. Sharps thought that was way too high. Colt McCoy is a respectable backup, and will be playing in his home state. The line first fell to Washington -7.5. Many stores are now testing the key number of seven to see if that brings in money on the favorite. Sharps definitely like the dog at anything over a touchdown. I’m guessing the public will nibble on the TV favorite at -7.
ATLANTA AT NEW ORLEANS: The Saints opened offshore at -14, which is extremely high for this rivalry. Obviously New Orleans has been on fire lately, while Atlanta’s been disappointing thanks to a soft defense. Sharps, particularly old school guys, jumped in at +14, and kept jumping at +13.5. We’ve settled at Saints -13 as I post this. We’ll see what the public does through the day Thursday.
THANKSGIVING NCAA FOOTBALL
COLORADO STATE AT AIR FORCE: Air Force opened at -14, and was bet up to -14.5. Tough to know whether the public will show any interest. CSU has been pretty awful, but played over its head last week at Utah State. Air Force is off a disappointing loss to Wyoming. I think the old school sharps are waiting to see if they can get +15. They’ll take +14.5 if that’s the apex. Quants took the favorite early on the key number of -14, but stopped when the hook went on the board. Big jump on the total from 58 up to 62, which tells you the weather is going to be nice. Both teams played in snow the last time out.
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT OLE MISS: Huge move from the opener of Mississippi State -8.5 up to -11.5 out of the gate. Interesting, because this is Ole Miss’s “bowl” game. The Rebels are ineligible for the postseason due to sanctions. Mississippi State is already locked into a pretty good bowl, wherever they end up. The quants got big gradings on the favorite, obviously due to Ole Miss’s horrible defense. Dog lovers will wait to see if they can get a dozen. Old school guys love rivalry underdogs, particularly when the dog won’t go bowling. The Over/Under was bet up two points from 58 to 60. Good weather again.
MARQUEE FRIDAY GAMES
OKLAHOMA AT WEST VIRGINIA: Should be another high scoring shootout involving track meet teams. A monstrously high opening total of 80 was bet UP to 84! Oklahoma went on the board at -2.5. West Virginia received early money to bring it down to -1.5. Games back up to -2.5 as I write this. Both sides are going to draw support. If the public decides it wants the Sooners at a cheap price, we’ll see a tug-of-war between OU -2.5 and West Virginia +3. Squares (recreational bettors) have been burned by the Sooners several times this season though. We might stick in the area between 1.5 and 2.5.
WASHINGTON AT WASHINGTON STATE: Washington State opened on the key number of three as a home favorite. Underdog Washington started the season as a top 10 power expected to win the Pac 12, and still gets a lot of respect. Sharps hit the Huskies immediately, dropping the game to 2.5 in many spots. Not sure if the public will trust this favorite in such a high-pressure spot. Either a tug-of-are between Wazzou -2.5 and Washington +3…or we’ll stick below the key number. Note that rain and wind are currently in the forecast (no surprise given the locale). That’s caused the Over/Under to drop from 54 to 49.5. Probably helps the dog too.
MARQUEE SATURDAY GAMES
MICHIGAN AT OHIO STATE: Michigan opened at -3.5…which is miles away from what was expected before the season began. Though Michigan was respected, Ohio State was priced like a national championship contender…rather than a team that couldn’t slow down mediocre Big 10 offenses. Both teams enter 10-1 because the Buckeyes have survived some thrillers. A mix of sharp and public money has lifted the line to -4.5 or -5 depending on where you shop. Many sharps will seriously consider the Buckeyes at +5 as a rivalry home underdog. Those who respect defense are already in on the Wolverines at -4 or below. A chance for light rain, which could hurt Ohio State’s passing attack.
GEORGIA TECH AT GEORGIA: We’ve been painted Georgia -17 all week. Sharps might fade any move off that relatively key number. The 17 isn’t as important as 3, 7, or 10 obviously…but it’s a common victory margin for this type of difference in talent level. No sharp indicators yet. You regulars probably remember this means that sharps are looking at the dog and waiting to get at least a hook. If sharps liked Georgia, they would have bet in advance of anticipated public action. A chance for rain, which makes it harder to ask for a blowout.
LSU AT TEXAS A&M: The Aggies opened at either -1 or -2 depending on where you shopped. They’ve been bet up to the key number of -3 since. Interesting that the number stuck on the three. No buy back yet on a very talented underdog. When a game sticks on the three this long, you can assume sharps would fade any move off the key number. Those who like the Aggies are happy to be in so cheap. Those who like LSU may be waiting a bit longer to act.
NOTRE DAME AT USC: Big move on Notre Dame, from an opener of -8 all the way up to -11. Yes, some of that is “need” because the Irish will lock in a final four invitation with a victory. But, the Irish have mostly looked great with Ian Book at quarterback…while USC looked awful last week in a rivalry loss to UCLA. If “those” versions of the teams show up, then -11 isn’t high enough! It is a tough travel spot for ND though, playing in New York one week, Los Angeles the next. And the pressure could get to them with so much at stake. Money stopped hitting ND at -11. Sharps, particularly quants, are happy to be in at -10 or better.
AUBURN AT ALABAMA: An opener of Alabama -24 is up in some spots to -24.5. Not much betting here. Auburn’s offense has struggled so often that the public isn’t looking to back them. ‘Bama has already wrapped up the SEC West, and may get caught looking ahead to Georgia next week. We’ll see if the public jumps in on game day. I think old-school sharps would take flyers on Auburn at +25 or more.
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I hope you have a great holiday at the dinner table and at the ticket window. I’ll see you for sandwiches Friday afternoon to talk sharp betting in the NFL.