How Sharps Are Betting Early NFL and Bowls
Today we're going to look at how professional bettors have been attacking the Thursday Night NFL game matching the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts, as well as several of the early college football bowl games. I'll be back with you Friday to look at the rest of Week 15 in the NFL.
Denver at Indianapolis: The Broncos opened at -1.5, and have been bet up to -2.5. Whenever a line stays jus below a key number like three for a long time, everyone's aware that the sharps are waiting for the full three to hit the dog hard. Sportsbooks have to decide if they're going to give them that opportunity or not. They either root for the Colts at +1.5, and +2 (because early money is on the Broncos, and the public probably will be too), or bring the three into play and possibly root the other way. Sharps who bet teasers are definitely on Indianapolis +8.5 in two-teamers where you get to move the line six points. If you're waiting to bet a home dog at +3, you definitely like them at +8.5. Not much interest in the total. Two shaky offenses.
Troy vs. North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl: I'll save us some space at the top by telling you that the sharps bet the Overs in ALL FIVE Saturday bowl games. Quants often get Over gradings in bowls because the postseason is more wide-open with trick plays. Some matchups have shootouts where both teams drive the scoring higher. If it's a blowout, the lesser team will be passing like crazy to get back into it rather than saving themselves for a future game. On the team side here, an opener of Troy -5.5 was bet up to -6.5. The public might push it to the key number of seven before kickoff. Dog lovers would definitely come in at North Texas +7. That might set up a tug-of-war between Troy -6.5 and UNT +7. Though, this is an early kickoff Vegas time, and not a game that squares (the public) will be very interested in.
Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State in the Cure Bowl: Another game hanging just below the key number of seven. Western Kentucky opened at -5.5, and has been bet up to -6 or -6.5 depending on the store. Same situation as the earlier kickoff. Sharps who liked the favorite bet in advance of the public. Those preferring the dog are waiting to see what they can get. This one feels less likely to get to the seven because Western Kentucky has been such a disappointment this season. Also, low profile teams.
Oregon vs. Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl: Obviously a lot of betting interest in Las Vegas for this one. Both teams travel well. Both conferences have a lot of local interest. This will feel like the first "real" bowl game of the postseason because big name teams are involved. Looks like a tug-of-war shaping up between Oregon -7 and Boise State +7.5. Most of the early money was all on the Ducks, driving an opener of -5 up through the key number. Dog money has finally started coming in. This should be the most heavily bet bowl of the first weekend. Sportsbooks will hope the game doesn't land right on the seven.
Colorado State vs. Marshall in the New Mexico Bowl: A lot of interest on the total here, as the Over/Under is up from an opener of 54.5 all the way to 58. Not much happening on the team side. Colorado State opened at -5.5 and is siting there now. The Rams were a disappointment after starting the season so well against Oregon State (who turned out to be terrible). Marshall is very much an off-the-radar team for the public. Some people will bet it Saturday afternoon just because it's there. Dog money would come in from sharps at +6 just because of line value.
Arkansas State vs. Middle Tennessee in the Camellia Bowl: The biggest line move of the first weekend was on this Over/Under. The opening total of 57.5 is up to 63. Quants got a very big grading here obviously. And, we can assume that weather isn't going to be a negative factor for scoring given the lack of a buy back. Arkansas State opened at -3.5…and has moved to -4 in many places. Even though that's only a half-a-point, the move was AWAY from the key number. That's always telling. If sharps liked the dog, they would have taken out the hook quickly. Sharps will take the dog if squares move the line higher before kickoff.
Florida Atlantic vs. Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl: I'm going to include the bowl games from next Tuesday and Wednesday since we won't start up next week until the normal Thursday spot on the schedule. This is the tallest line of the whole postseason, with an opener of Florida Atlantic -17 getting bet all the way up to -22.5. Some of that move was because the earliest openings may not have realized this was a HOME game for FAU (game will be on its home field). Though, the public has heard all about Lane Kiffin's team winning blowouts this year. Sharps were a big part of the move up to -21.5 (laying -21 or less). Public sentiment has been pushing things even higher. The "Over" trend continued here, as an opener of 62 is up to 63.5.
SMU vs. Louisiana Tech in the Frisco Bowl: Nothing happening at all here, as an opener of SMU -5 and 70 has stood pat. Maybe we'll see more interest next week. This isn't a "home" game for SMU because it's not at their stadium. But, Frisco is close by, and might be packed because it's a smaller soccer stadium being used here for football. We may not see big money unless there's a key suspension. But, if favorites come in early for the public, they'll probably keep that rolling with bets on SMU. Sharps would come in on the dog +6 if that dynamic comes into play.
Back with you tomorrow to cover the rest of the NFL. Don't forget that there are two Saturday games this week, including that huge Chargers/Chiefs battle for first place in the AFC West. Thanks for reading. See you Friday!