Submitted by Richie B. Oddsmakers Consensus on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 at 7:00 AM
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Bowl games are back on the schedule Wednesday with a tripleheader. On this report, I’ll cover all the college action for Wednesday through Saturday (including the two “Final Four” games Saturday afternoon and evening). Then I’ll be back at the usual time Friday afternoon to talk about the NFL. I’ll put together a special report Monday to cover all the college football action on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Are you ready for one of the most exciting football betting weeks of the entire year?!
Wednesday: First Responder Bowl (in Dallas)
BOSTON COLLEGE VS. BOISE STATE: An opener of Boise State -3.5 has come down to -2.5. That’s a really big move because it crossed the key number of three and stuck. Very strong sharp support for a physical underdog. Note that this game is being played outdoors in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas (rather than at Cowboys stadium in Arlington). The Over/Under has dropped from 55 to 51 (possibly moving lower) because there’s a very good chance of rain and wind in the metroplex. That also helps this dog.
Wednesday: Quick Lane Bowl (in Detroit)
MINNESOTA VS. GEORGIA TECH: No weather issue here in the dome in Detroit. Sharps have hit this favorite pretty hard, as Georgia Tech is up from -4 to -5.5. That’s two straight games where the ACC team was bet aggressively. It’s been a down year in the Big 10. Let’s see if that theme holds up through the week. This total is down five points from the opener, as 61 has dropped to 56. It’s not uncommon to see very big drops on Over/Unders because there’s such a long betting window for the bowls. Tech runs clock with its option-based attack. If you think Tech will control the game…that means the Under too.
Wednesday: Cheez-It Bowl (in Phoenix)
TCU VS. CALIFORNIA: Note that this game is at Chase Field where the Diamondbacks play baseball, rather than the football stadium in Glendale. Sometimes the playing surface can become an issue at baseball sites. Small support for Cal at the opener of pick-em. We’ve been painted Bears -1 for awhile now. The Pac 12 was horrible in bowls last year, and already dropped a game this season with Arizona State losing in Las Vegas to Fresno State. Let’s see if the public fades the Pac 12 on game day. Quants bet Under here as well, bringing a low total of 41 down to 39.
Thursday: Independence Bowl (in Shreveport)
DUKE VS. TEMPLE: There’s currently a good chance for rain. But, kickoff isn’t until Thursday so things could change. Temple received support at the opening line of -3. We’re mostly seeing -3.5 now. Half points are important when they move off a key number and stick. Interestingly, that’s against an ACC team here. The Over/Under is down from 56.5 to 54.5.
Thursday: Pinstripe Bowl (in Bronx, NY)
MIAMI VS. WISCONSIN: Good football weather, with game time temperatures expected to be around 40. Sharps liked underdog Wisconsin at the opener of +4. We’re now painted on the key number of three everywhere. This despite the Badgers going with their second-choice at quarterback (prior starter still suffering concussion symptoms). No movement on the total of 47.5. From this point on, I won’t mention totals if there hasn’t been movement. Keep an eye on field conditions at Yankee Stadium.
Thursday: Texas Bowl (in Houston)
VANDERBILT VS. BAYLOR: Little interest here. Vanderbilt opened at -4.5, and is down to -4. The Commodores can be a tough team to back as a favorite. Baylor’s had some really bad games this year. Sharps are leaving it alone. The public might too. This is the first of 11 bowl appearances for the SEC. They’re favored in nine of them.
Friday: Music City Bowl (in Nashville)
AUBURN VS. PURDUE: Early interest on underdog Purdue at the opener of +4. We’ve been sitting on +3.5 for a long time. Auburn’s been a betting disappointment much of the season. Purdue blows hot and cold. A lot of sharps love the Purdue head coach. They were happy to take the four. We might see more money come in the market at +3.5 before kickoff. I think the public would love an SEC favorite at -3. Might set up a tug-of-war between Auburn -3 and Purdue +3.5.
Friday: Camping World Bowl (in Orlando)
SYRACUSE VS. WEST VIRGINIA: West Virginia was favored by -7.5 before its star quarterback announced he was skipping the game to prepare for the NFL draft. Syracuse is now -1.5 because West Virginia doesn’t have an experienced backup. Some sharps will learn from earlier results involving these conferences. I’m sensing more interest in Syracuse at the moment at the current price. Tough for anybody to back an inexperienced quarterback with confidence.
Friday: Dollar Alamo Bowl (in San Antonio)
IOWA STATE VS. WASHINGTON STATE: Important move here from Washington State -5 down to the key number of -3. Not just a two-point move, but a game that went to the three and stayed there rather than bouncing back up. There isn’t a lot of sharp respect for this head coach in big games or as a favorite vs. anyone that knows what they’re doing. Sharps were ecstatic to get +5 or +4. We’ll see what the public does between now and kickoff.
Saturday: Arizona Bowl (in Tucson)
ARKANSAS STATE VS. NEVADA: Arkansas State drew early money, driving a pick-em game up to -1.5. Normally that doesn’t mean much…because not that many games land close to pick-em in college football. Though, it’s telling that Nevada is based in a sports-betting state…but money went against them. Note that this has been time-changed to 1:15 P.M. ET. An early kickoff for this site.
Saturday: Peach Bowl (in Atlanta)
FLORIDA VS. MICHIGAN: This will be the game everyone watches to gear up for the Final Four later in the day. Michigan opened at -6, then was bet up by early money to -6.5. It’s telling that the game didn’t move to the full seven. I’m confident sharps would take that strong Florida defense at +7. And, there may be more evidence in play by kickoff that you should bet the SEC or fade the Big 10.
Saturday: Belk Bowl (in Charlotte)
SOUTH CAROLINA VS. VIRGINIA: An opener of South Carolina -6 was bet down to -5.5. Not a popular betting game early. The public may not get involved much either given marquee matchups elsewhere on the schedule. Generally speaking, sharps are betting like they think the SEC was a bit overpriced in bowl openers. Only a few exceptions, like the next one on the board.
Saturday: Orange Bowl (in Miami)
ALABAMA VS. OKLAHOMA: Note that this has been time-changed from late-afternoon to prime time. Makes sense, with the defending national champions facing the Heisman Trophy winner. An opener of Alabama -13.5 was bet up to the key number of -14. It’s stayed there ever since. I know many sharps (particularly old-school dog lovers) are hoping to get at least +14.5 with an explosive underdog. We’ll see what the public does on game-day. Nothing would surprise me here. We might have a tug-of-war above the key number. Or, everyone could decide that anything around 14 is way too high…creating a dog bandwagon down to something like 12 or 13. This is going to be a heavily bet game for sure.
Saturday: Cotton Bowl (in Arlington, TX)
CLEMSON VS. NOTRE DAME: Obviously a time change also, as this is now a late-afternoon game. Clemson took a lot of early money, driving an opener of -11 up to -13. Patient dog money decided +13 might be the apex, causing Notre Dame to drop to +12.5 in some spots. This is another dog the public might take a liking to. I’m currently thinking we’ll see a tug-of-war between Clemson -12.5 and Notre Dame +13. But, a dog bandwagon is possible. Just from conversations with sharps, there’s way too much interest in the Irish for +13.5 to come into play.
I can’t wait! 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.
Thanks for reading. Watch the carbs when eating your holiday leftovers. See you Friday afternoon to run the whole NFL.