Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 12:00 PM
This is one of my favorite weeks in all of sports betting. A great mix of major conference championships and exciting matchups from the mid-majors in college football. Today we’ll look at how sharps are betting Championship Week (after starting with tonight’s Saints/Cowboys game). I’ll finish up the NFL Friday afternoon at the usual time.
As always, games are presented in the order they appear in the Nevada Rotation so you can make notes in your schedules.
NEW ORLEANS AT DALLAS: It’s been a tug-of-war all week between New Orleans -7 and Dallas +7.5. The quants like the Saints because their numbers project to a blowout every week. Old school bettors love getting a likely playoff team as a home dog with a hook above the key number. As the public starts betting…well…both teams have big constituencies. Think we’ll see that tight betting range all day. The Over/Under is down from 54.5 to 52.5 because Dallas has a good defense…and because the Saints could run clock if they get a lead.
Friday NCAA Championship games
NORTHERN ILLINOIS VS. BUFFALO (in Detroit): An opener of Buffalo -4 was bet down right away. Northern Illinois is a “defensive dog,” and this isn’t a game where the sharps would expect the public to drive the line higher. The public doesn’t know anything about Buffalo’s college team! But, whenever the line dropped to the key number of three, there was sharp buy back. Looks like different syndicates in play. Support for Northern Illinois at +3.5 or more, but Wise Guy interest on Buffalo minus a field goal in this neutral site game in Detroit.
UTAH VS. WASHINGTON (in Santa Clara): A lot of support for Washington at the opening line of -4, and then again at -4.5…with lingering support at -5 from some bettors. Utah is playing shorthanded on offense because of key injuries. Washington has a great defense, and owned the point of attack in a 21-7 win at Utah earlier this season. Might take the full six to bring in underdog money. Remember that this game is being played at the San Francisco 49ers home stadium.
Saturday NCAA Championship games
UAB AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE: From this point forward, the mid-major championship games will be played on the home field of the second team listed. The major conference matchups will be at neutral sites. So, MTSU is the host here. An opening line of Blue Raiders -3 has been bet down to -1.5 or -1 depending on the shop. That’s a lot of support for UAB because three is such an important number, and this is a ROAD game. No buy back yet on the host. Sharps really liked this road dog at +3, and kept betting even at +2. The Over/Under has dropped from 47 to 44.5 because the forecast calls for light rain and breezy conditions.
MEMPHIS AT CENTRAL FLORIDA: You probably know that UCF lost its star quarterback last week, and will be going with a backup. The hosts opened at -4.5. That was bet down to -3.5 quickly because Memphis is a quality team that gets respect from sharps. But, stores that test the key number of three do see immediate interest in the host. This sets up a probable tug-of-war between UCF -3 and Memphis +3.5 or more. If the backup QB can move the ball, this is going to be a great game. The Over/Under has dropped from 70 to 65 because a shootout is less likely, and there’s a chance of rain.
TEXAS VS. OKLAHOMA (in Arlington): An opener of Oklahoma -7.5 was bet up to -8. Though only a half a point, that’s a big deal because it went AWAY from the key number of seven. Quants expecting a huge day from the Sooners’ offense indoors on a fast track wanted to get in before public money on this favorite. Dog lovers are waiting to see if they can get Texas at +8.5 or +9. A high opening total of 78 came down a point to 77.
LOUISIANA LAFAYETTE AT APPALACHIAN STATE: Oddsmakers overshot the mark with a high opener of Appalachian State -18. This is a very respected team that took Penn State to overtime early this season. But, that’s a high line for a playoff game. Sharps bet the underdog right away, all the way down to +16.5. No buy back yet on the big home favorite. The public might remember the Penn State and bet this favorite on game day.
GEORGIA VS. ALABAMA (in Atlanta): Mostly a tug-of-war this week between Alabama -13 and Georgia +13.5. Public money is starting to hit the board late in the week though, making 13.5 look more solid and bringing the possibility of 14 into play. Old school sharps will love getting the full two touchdowns on a great team like Georgia if that line becomes widely available.
FRESNO STATE AT BOISE STATE: Boise State opened at -3 on its famous blue turf. Early money hit underdog Fresno State, bringing the number down to -2.5. It’s stayed there since. That’s a big deal because there wasn’t any buy back below the key number for a HOME team. Sharps love Fresno State at +3. No Wise Guy interest in the favorite at -2.5. If the public bets Boise, which is likely, we’ll see a tug-of-war on Saturday.
PITTSBURGH VS. CLEMSON (in Charlotte): Wow…a major conference title game opens at -24.5 and goes UP three points! Didn’t expect to see that. Sharps love this Clemson team since the quarterback change. Quants must be getting a rout or the line wouldn’t move like that. We’re currently painted Clemson -27.5. Looks like it will take +28 to inspire Pitt money. Models must be showing that Pittsburgh’s inconsistent offense will have trouble scoring on this great Clemson defense. We can guess that because the total has dropped from 57.5 to 52.5. Quants pounded Clemson and Under in a way we usually don’t see in championship action.
NORTHWESTERN VS. OHIO STATE (in Indianapolis): The opener of Buckeyes -12.5 was bet up to -14. It’s been painted there ever since. I would expect sharps to fade any move off the 14 in either direction. Dog lovers are already betting Northwestern at +14, and would be thrilled with +14.5 or more if the public hits OSU. We already know quants like the favorite at less than 14 because of the mismatch in offensive skill sets.
You can be sure that I have my eye on a few of those. 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.
Enjoy Saints/Cowboys tonight. I’ll be back with you at the usual time Friday afternoon to go through the rest of the NFL…highlighted by Minnesota at New England and the Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh. See you tomorrow.