How Sharps are Betting Thursday-thru-Saturday Football
Back with you for another week of running through how professional wagerers have been betting the football board. We'll look at all the Thursday and Friday action today, as well as select games from Saturday's big college schedule. As always, I'll return on Friday for a game-by-game rundown of the NFL.
LA Rams at San Francisco: The public may be getting tired of these ugly Thursday night matchups. But, San Francisco does have a "locals" following in Nevada because of proximity and past TV history...so this could still be an actively bet game. The opener of Rams -3 as a road favorite has come down to a solid -2.5 everywhere. There may not be enough interest in the Rams to cause a tug-of-war, even though a key number is close by. Hard to trust them as a road favorite until they prove themselves. You regulars know that San Francisco +8.5 will be a popular choice in two-team teasers if the game line stays below the three. The Over/Under has been bet down from 42 to 39.5 the Niners have played very low scoring games thus far...and this has been a low scoring site because of turf issues since the stadium was built.
Temple at South Florida: Smart money has hit the combination of South Florida and Over, because Temple's defense looked so bad against Notre Dame...and because USF can pile up the points. The home favorite is up from -17.5 to -19.5. It might take the full -20 to bring underdog money into play. The Over/Under has soared from 58.5 up to 63. It takes much less money to move college totals than pro or college team sides. So, that's a sharp move...but with sports books playing aggressive defense once they saw all the interest in the Over.
Virginia at Boise State: Virginia was outclassed at home by Indiana last time out. Boise State's been pretty horrible against the spread as home favorites over the last dozen outings or so. They couldn't cover vs. New Mexico last week...and Virginia is at least more physical than New Mexico coming from the ACC. We've seen an early move from -13 up to -13.5. I think sharps are waiting to see if +14 comes into play before firing at the dog. Boise State just isn't a money team any more.
Utah at Arizona: Clear respect for Utah here, as an opener of -3 is now up to -3.5. That's only half a point...but it takes respected money to move off a key number like three. Utah's defense is driving the interest...as an opening Over/Under of 62 is all the way down to 55. Again, totals move more dramatically in college football. Oddsmakers are scared to death of the quants!
Michigan at Purdue: There are a few games Saturday where a highly respected visitor opened up around -10 give or take a point against potential dangerous home underdogs. There aren't any true "marquee" games on the calendar this week. But, at least one of these might get interesting. I can tell you that many sharps are very impressed with what they've seen from Purdue so far under their new head coach. An opener of Michigan -9 was driven up to the key number of 10 with public money. Sharps are coming in at +10, and are likely to continue to do so until kickoff. Wouldn't be surprised if we have a tug-of-war here between Michigan -9.5 from squares, and Purdue +10 from the Wise Guys.
Penn State at Iowa: Penn State opened at -11, and has been bet all the way up to -13. Interesting game because a few sharp syndicates are really high on Penn State as a potential final Four team this season. They'd rather not lay double digits at a spot like Iowa! Some of the quants did get math gradings at -11 and -12. Some public money on the favorite too. We're starting to see some sharp resistance at +13. Old school sharps in particular won't mind taking flyers on a dangerous home dog at such a high price.
Mississippi State at Georgia: A rare early line movement DOWN in a high-profile game. Mississippi State impressed a lot of people with how they dominated LSU last Saturday night. Sharps wanted to bet them at the opener of +6.5 even in a letdown spot. They didn't wait to see if the key number of seven came into play! We're now seeing Georgia -5.5. It might stay there until kickoff because sharp interest seemed to dry up below the six. Georgia isn't quite a "public" team in terms of automatically getting bet by squares on game day.
Washington at Colorado: Another of the big road favorites who will have to dodge bullets this week. The Huskies were bet up from -10 up to -11.5. I'm sure some dog money is biding its time to see of +12 or better will come into play. Washington has become a public team, and did CRUSH Colorado in the Pac 12 Championship last season. Monitor the markets Saturday to see if sharps come in at +12, or wait to see if anything higher becomes available.
Notre Dame at Michigan State: Not the big game it used to be since Michigan State fell off the map. Notre Dame opened at -3.5. Some stores have stood pat, others are testing the four because it's mostly Irish money coming in so far. Telling that there wasn't any important money wanting the hook above the field goal. Sparty will have to prove itself to sharps.
TCU at Oklahoma State: Sharps have been pounding Oklahoma State all season, and are getting rich doing so! Same story here, as an opener of -10.5 is all the way up to -13. We're starting to see some dog interest on +13. That may set up a tug-of-war on Saturday. Depends on how active the public gets on this favorite. It's mostly sharps rather than squares that have been moving Okie State lines higher all season.
UCLA at Stanford: Interesting spot, as UCLA is hoping to bounce back off that loss to Memphis, while Stanford wants to make everyone forget its loss to USC. The home favorite has been bet up from -6.5 to -7.5, meaning it blew through the key number. That indicates very strong support even if it's just a one-point move. UCLA's defense is so soft that Stanford may be able to control the game on the ground. Quants who use game stats thought the line should be more than a TD.