Submitted by Richie B. Oddsmakers Consensus on Monday, December 31, 2018 at 7:00 AM
We have six bowl games on Monday (New Year’s Eve), and five more Tuesday to bring in the New Year. Let’s see how sharps (professional wagerers) have been betting the final stage of this season’s bowl bonanza.
Monday: Military Bowl (in Annapolis)
CINCINNATI VS. VIRGINIA TECH: An opener of Cincinnati -5.5 has been bet up to -6.5. That’s a bit of a surprise because Cincinnati’s American Athletic Conference has had some poor results so far…and Virginia Tech has such a short trip to this site. But, the quants in particular are backing their gradings on Cincinnati and Central Florida in the bowls with cash regardless of what lesser teams did. I do think dog money would come in pretty strong at +7. Might not be time for the public to drive it that high in this early kickoff (9 a.m. here in Las Vegas)
Monday: Sun Bowl (in El Paso)
PITTSBURGH VS. STANFORD: A lot of dog interest here. An opener of Stanford -6 has come down to -4, probably because the Pac 12 is having another miserable bowl campaign so far. Arizona State and California looked awful. Washington State was dominated in game stats but eked out a close win over Iowa State. There’s some interest in the favorite on the four. That might set up a tug-of-war on game day if the ill-informed public reflexively takes all the favorites.
Monday: RedBox Bowl (in Santa Clara)
MICHIGAN STATE VS. OREGON: Big time matchup for a bowl with such a weird name. Oregon found out its star quarterback was staying for another year. That created initial buzz for the Ducks…which was then erased when the Pac 12 opened so poorly. An opener of Oregon -1.5 is back where it started after a temporary surge. Sharps seem to like Michigan State at +2 or more. Oregon would have soared to the key number of three if sharps liked them.
Monday: Liberty Bowl (in Memphis)
MISSOURI VS. OKLAHOMA STATE: Missouri opened at -9.5. That struck some old-timers as steep. But, Okie State’s defense was awful this season…and the Big 12 as a whole isn’t setting the world on fire this postseason. Missouri’s from the SEC, that has been getting good results. As I put together this report, we’re seeing a variety of lines in that -9 to -9.5 area. Sharps would definitely take this dog if they see a +10 available.
Monday: Holiday Bowl (in San Diego)
UTAH VS. NORTHWESTERN: Not much betting interest here. An opener of Utah -6.5 was nudged up to the key number of -7 early on. Sharps haven’t been interested in Northwestern as much as they should have been this season. Utah rose despite the recent Pac 12 bias. It is a shorter trip for the Utes. Northwestern has been a feisty dog this season. Maybe that will create a tug-of-war before kickoff.
Monday: Gator Bowl (in Jacksonville)
TEXAS A&M VS. NC STATE: A lot of love for the Aggies since lines went up. An opener of Texas A&M -4.5 has been bet up to -7, with some stores testing -7.5. Sharps obviously loved A&M at anything below a TD. We’re seeing some buy back on the dog with the hook. We’ll have to see what the public does. This is the last game of the day, which gives squares several hours to lay the points. That would probably set up a tug-of-war between A&M -7 and NC State +7.5. Though, that could happen a half-point higher depending on what happens in earlier games.
Tuesday: Outback Bowl (in Tampa)
MISSISSIPPI STATE VS. IOWA: 2019 begins with the traditional SEC vs. Big 10 bowls. Here, the SEC entry has been getting a lot of support. Mississippi State opened at -6, and was driven up to -7.5 after Auburn and Florida crushed Purdue and Michigan. Iowa does historically get respect as a “defensive dog” under this head coach. We’ll see if that causes a tug-of-war, or just freezes the number at 7.5. Sharps like the SEC favorite at -7 or less (especially below the seven).
Tuesday: Citrus Bowl (in Orlando)
PENN STATE VS. KENTUCKY : Penn State is up from -5.5 to -6.5. Tricky one to read because the public loves betting favorites on New Year’s Day, and is much more likely to bet a traditional power like Penn State rather than a traditional doormat like Kentucky. That said, Kentucky is the SEC team facing a possibly overrated Big 10 team. Sharps would definitely take this dog at +7. Oddsmakers may not give them that opportunity unless shops are just flooded with Nittany Lions money. Could happen.
Tuesday: Fiesta Bowl (in Glendale, AZ)
LSU VS. CENTRAL FLORIDA: An opener of LSU -8 has been bet down to -7. SEC respect shows up on the key number, which is why some shops have posted the hook. Probably a tug-of-war between LSU -7 and UCF +7.5. Though, if the SEC keeps getting good results, that money battle could happen a half-point higher. This is a great situational spot for UCF, who exploited it to upset Auburn last season. Here they’d have to do it with a talented but relatively inexperienced backup quarterback. Sharps definitely like that backup QB at +8…and some kept betting at +7.5.
Tuesday: Rose Bowl (in Pasadena, CA)
OHIO STATE VS. WASHINGTON: Ohio State is up from -5 to -6.5, with some stores now testing the key number of seven. Again, we have the Pac 12 issue in play. Maybe the conference will get better results Monday than they had in prior days. For now, sharps like the “Urban Meyer” factor with the head coach retiring after the game for the favorite. Sharps have laid -6 or less with OSU. We’ll see if dog lovers come in hard at +7, or soft at +7 but harder at +7.5.
Tuesday: Sugar Bowl (in New Orleans)
GEORGIA VS. TEXAS: Strong sharp sentiment early for Georgia, as an opener of -10.5 went up to -12.5. A few spots have tested -13, but Texas money does come in at that price. Most sharps believe Georgia was a final four caliber team that was much better than Notre Dame and at least a field goal better than Oklahoma. The public had no qualms laying double digits with Clemson and Alabama this past Saturday. I think we’ll see a more solid -13 by kickoff unless some rich Texans pull out their wallets.
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Thanks for reading. I won’t be back until Friday to cover sharp betting for NFL’s Wildcard Weekend. Let me be among the first to wish you a Happy New Year! Hope the games go your way. See you Friday.