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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 12:00 PM

More NFL to talk about than normal today, with a couple of Saturday games joining the Thursday nighter. I’ll run through sharp betting in those, along with the first six college football bowl games that kick off Saturday. Then, I’ll be back at the usual time Friday to run through the rest of the NFL.

As always, games are listed in Nevada rotation order…

 

Thursday NFL

LA CHARGERS AT KANSAS CITY: Great game! This season’s much-improved Thursday night schedule has had a big impact on the bottom line at Las Vegas sportsbooks. Bigger handle on Thursday night’s than in the past without hurting Sundays. An opener of Kansas City -3 was bet up to -3.5. It’s stayed there since. Sharps have been monitoring the weather here, because there’s a chance for rainy windy conditions. That drove the total way down initially, but it started ticking back up today. Probably means conditions won’t be as bad as feared. Sharps generally want the Chargers here (and LOVE this team when healthy). The public will bet Kansas City on the three…so that might set up a tug-of-war. Sports books would rather squares (Vegas slang for the public) lay -3.5 enough that a drop isn’t necessary. Books want the hook and the 11/10 working in their favor on this hard-charging dog.  

 

Saturday NFL

HOUSTON AT THE NY JETS: Houston’s long winning streak ended last week at home against Indianapolis. The Jets rallied late to upset Buffalo. DeShaun Watson vs. Sam Darnold. Might be a good game. Houston opened at -7 in some spots, -6.5 in others. Most stores dropped to -6. That’s a small move, but an important one because it went away from the key number. If sharps liked this favorite, they would have bet below seven. Looks like a tug-of-war between squares on the TV favorite at -6 and sharps on the home dog at +6.5. Not sure that the public will lay this many points on the road with Houston though. Might stick at six.

CLEVELAND AT DENVER: Sharps still like Cleveland! Browns won for them last week vs. Carolina. An opener of Denver -4 has been bet down to the key number of three. It’s stood pat since. The public may not want to lay points with Denver after losing with them at San Francisco last week. That busted a lot of parlays (particularly money line parlays). Though, Cleveland looked awful in its last road game at Houston. Guessing additional movement is a tough call. This should be a heavily bet game because it’s prime time on a Saturday night. But, these are two teams the public may have trouble backing at this price.

 

Saturday College Football Bowl Games

ALCORN STATE VS. NORTH CAROLINA A&T (Celebration Bowl, Atlanta): These teams aren’t on the regular board during the season, but sports books do post a number in this bowl game since it started a few years ago. An opener of NC A&T -9 has been bet down to -8, with some stores now testing -7.5. That’s exclusively sharp betting…because the public wouldn’t bet a game like this early. Squares don’t know these teams! We’ll see if the public jumps in for fun on game day. Right now, we know that the Wise Guys like this dog at +8 or better.

UTAH STATE VS. NORTH TEXAS (New Mexico Bowl, Albuquerque): Money keeps coming in on this underdog as well. Utah State is going through a coaching change. This year’s head coach is moving on to Texas Tech. A successful leader from the past is coming back after disappointing results at Wisconsin and Oregon State. The opener of Utah State -10 is all the way down to -7.5. We’ll see what number it will take to attract betting on the favorite Saturday. Might be the key number of seven. Sharps like the dog at +8 or more.

TULANE VS. LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE (Cure Bowl, Orlando): We’ve largely been painted Tulane -3.5 since the beginning. We know sharps DON’T like this underdog, because they didn’t take the hook. You saw the Wise Guys take the first two dogs figuring they were seeing the best line they’d get. It’s not like the public knows anything about Tulane. So, sharps aren’t waiting for a four. They don’t like either team at this number…and would probably fade a move in either direction. Well, they’d obviously jump on Tulane -3 if it became available. Doesn’t seem likely. 

ARIZONA STATE VS. FRESNO STATE (Las Vegas Bowl): This is always a heavily bet game locally because fans of the visiting teams show their support! Plus, the Pac 12 and Mountain West have local followings…so everyone here knows the teams. Fun to watch games at that field in person when the weather’s nice. Fresno State opened at either -3 or -3.5 depending on the store. It was obvious very quickly that sharps wanted this favorite. We’re now seeing as high as -4.5 and -5 everywhere. Maybe it’s the five that will attract enough dog money to start a tug-of-war. We know sharps like Fresno State at -4.5 or lower.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN VS. EASTERN MICHIGAN (Camellia Bowl, Birmingham): Opened at pick-em. Georgia Southern has been getting slow, steady respect through the week. We’re now at -2 most everywhere, with some stores testing -2.5. Nobody’s betting Eastern Michigan yet, and might wait until the key number of three is on the board. It’s interesting that it wasn’t a feeding frenzy at pick-em or -1 though. Just a slow march up from pick-em. The same way Georgia Southern moves the ball down the field.

APPALACHIAN STATE VS. MIDDLE TENNESSEE (New Orleans Bowl): This one opened at -7.5 or -7 depending on the store. Oddsmakers may have been thinking everyone would remember Appalachian State’s great effort at Penn State to start the season. But, money has been hitting this dog. Sharps are taking MTSU +7. Many spots are testing 6.5 as I write this. This last game on the card should get plenty of public action. People have all day to bet it…and these are teams that have some recognition. Middle Tennessee is usually in a bowl. Appalachian State makes headlines every so often. I think we’ll see a tug-of-war…just not sure if it will be at 6.5 and 7, or 6 and 6.5. 

Nice appetizers before Sunday and Monday. I have my eye on a few great situational plays. 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. Be sure to ask about combination packages that include college basketball. That’s my favorite sport to handicap and bet. A lot of great stories developing already.

Thanks for reading. I’ll see you at the usual time Friday afternoon to go through the rest of the NFL.

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