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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Sunday, January 6, 2019 at 6:00 PM

Just one game to talk about for Monday. But, it’s the most important game of the college football season. We’ll all be watching Alabama take on Clemson Monday night to see who wins the national championship.

How have sharps been betting this game? Professional wagerers expressed a very clear preference for Clemson at the early numbers. First stores up this week were showing Alabama -7. Many quants I talked to had spent the past month saying these two teams were only a field goal apart. I know a few oddsmakers who had it more like three or four in their Power Ratings. So, it was no surprise that sharps took Clemson +7, Clemson +6.5, and Clemson +6.

They weren’t going to wait to see who the public wanted. If squares jumped on Alabama later, the Wise Guys would come back in and take more Clemson.

Late last week, the line in this game dropped to Alabama -5, and finally -4.5 at a few locales. Sports books weren’t able to find what number would bring in Alabama money! Even the public was taking Clemson at anything over five. Finally, as more tourists were in Vegas over the weekend, we started to see some buy back. A few stores rose back up to Alabama -5.5.

I think some of that was just pent up frustration. The public loves betting favorites…but they knew this past weekend’s NFL favorites were in vulnerable positions. They had to lay points on somebody!

Game day will likely see a tug-of-war. But, it’s hard to know where that will center. We know that sharps really like Clemson at +6 or better, and that a mix of sharps and squares still invest in the Tigers at +5.5. Alabama -4.5 looks to be the floor. It’s not going to go below that because Crimson Tide money came in that low. That money battle will either be at Alabama -5 and Clemson +5.5, or Alabama -5.5 and Clemson +6. We’ll just have to let the day play out.

The Over/Under has come way down from an opener of 62.5. We were seeing 58 or 58.5 through the weekend. Many NFL sharps like playing Unders at this stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers. The turf can get dicey at times. Plus, we have two very good defenses here. That said…58 is still very high for a “defensive battle.”

The public generally bets Overs in big TV games because it’s more fun to root for points. We’ll have to see if that comes true here. Tougher to bet Over the way Clemson’s defense is playing of late.

We know for sure that sharps LOVE the Under at 60 or more, and still like it at 59. The public hasn’t yet shown a passion for the Over in early betting. They’ve been busy with the NFL. With only one football game in town Monday, more Over money may start to hit the market.

All told, the sharps are on their usual “dog and Under” combination. The only difference here is that they jumped in right away rather than waiting to see if square money would give them better options. Oddsmakers guessed too high on their initial numbers.

More and more people are betting money lines these days. So, I’ll include that for this big game. Alabama opened around -240 (meaning you’d have to risk $240 to win $100 that the Crimson Tide would win straight up or anything in that ratio). Clemson was +200 to spring the upset (Bet $100, and you win $200 if the dog pulled off the shocker). Those numbers have dropped to Alabama -200 to -210 at most spots (after testing -190 or so a couple of days ago). Clemson now returns around +180 depending on the store.

The public typically DOESN’T want to lay high prices on money line favorites. So, they’ll put them in parlays with other favorites. Many of those parlays that featured NFL favorites from the past weekend are already dead. But, there’s nothing to stop squares from putting Alabama in parlays with the NFL favorites of this coming weekend.

I’ll have at least one championship game selection for my clients online Monday. 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. I’m really excited about this week’s basketball schedule. Conference play is going strong across the country. Some of the big TV games this week include…

Tuesday: St. John’s at Villanova, Oklahoma at Texas Tech, and Purdue at Michigan State.

Wednesday: Marquette at Creighton, Butler at Seton Hall, and TCU at Kansas.

Friday: Purdue at Wisconsin.

Saturday: Texas Tech at Texas, Duke at Florida State, Kansas at Baylor, Tennessee at Florida, and Nevada at Fresno State.

Of course, many of my top picks are in out-of-the-way conferences because the lines are often softer in the non-TV leagues. If you love college basketball the way I do, I hope you’ll sign up for my affordably priced service through March Madness.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back again Friday to talk about the Divisional Round of the NFL. Underdogs profited for smart bettors this past weekend. That continued the trend we saw last year. Oddsmakers are shielding too much against what they think the public is going to do. That opens the door for smart dog gets. Did that door finally close shut with the early numbers for Kansas City, New England, New Orleans, and the Los Angeles Rams? We’ll talk about that Friday.

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