How Sharps are Betting Thursday/Saturday Football
Back for the first of two reports this week on how sharps are betting. Today we'll study Thursday night action and marquee matchups in Saturday's colleges. Then, I'll return at the usual time Friday afternoon to study the rest of the pro football slate.
BALTIMORE AT CINCINNATI: As I write this, the market can't make up its mind on who should be the 1-point favorite! Baltimore opened there…but Cincinnati money comes in at that price. Stores that go all the way to Bengals -1 get Ravens money. Many stores are at pick-em. I honestly have no idea where this is going to settle. Looks like different sharp syndicates disagree. No obvious public side because both have disappointed squares in the past. The Over/Under is up from 43 to 44.5, probably because both teams played high scoring games last week.
BOSTON COLLEGE AT WAKE FOREST: Don't forget that this was time-changed to an afternoon kickoff because of the approaching storm. An opener of BC -5 has been bet up to -5.5 or -6. A lot of respect in sharp circles for this team and their head coach. This isn't the kind of line you'd see in the past. BC laying almost a TD on the road in league play. The total flew up off the opener to the mid 50's because Wake can get into shootouts. We'll have to see if the forecast for high winds affects any thinking.
BOISE STATE AT OKLAHOMA STATE: Not a lot of blockbuster matchups on this third Saturday of the new season. Disappointing that so many power programs treat the month like the preseason. The handful that don't show up time and time again. Already multiple looks for many of the teams in today's discussion. Interesting game in Stillwater, with Okie State frozen at -2.5 for a long time. You regulars know what that means. Sharps DON'T like the favorite of they would have lifted that game to the full field goal immediately. Sharps like Boise, and are hoping public betting brings the three into play.
LSU AT AUBURN: Line has been a solid Auburn -10 most of the week. But, some stores are testing 9.5 because it's mostly underdog money coming in on the key number. LSU impressed a lot of people with that big season-opening win over Miami on a neutral field. Auburn had trouble making the most of speed edges over Washington (though still won and covered). Both sharps and squares alike watched those games on TV. None are supporting Auburn at -10. Let's see if a tug-of-war develops between now and kickoff between Auburn -9.5 and LSU +10. Weekend warriors tend to bet TV favorites.
ALABAMA AT MISSISSIPPI: Crimson Tide opened at a steep -22 on the road. That's been bet down to 21.5 already because sharps couldn't believe it was that high. Sports books are concerned that -21 will bring in a lot of square money on the nation's #1 team. The Over/Under has jumped from 68 to 71 because Ole Miss looked so bad on defense last week. How are you going to stop Alabama from scoring if you couldn't stop Southern Illinois?
USC AT TEXAS: A pair of disappointments so far. USC looked helpless vs. Stanford last week, and didn't impress on TV locally vs. UNLV the week before. Texas was shocked by Maryland in its opener, and only beat Tulsa by 7 in an obvious bounce-back spot. FOX was hoping for better in its prime-time game! Texas gets the money at -3. USC gets support at +3.5. Probably a tug-of-war unless squares pick a side on game day.
OHIO STATE VS. TCU (in Arlington): TCU money has been hitting the board of late. An opener of Ohio State -13 is down to -12.5, or even -12 in a few spots. Some sharps wanted to see if 13 or 14 would be available because the public loves betting the Buckeyes. There wasn't early evidence of that, so the Wise Guys took +13 when they could get it. Ohio State is far from automatic to shine when playing ranked teams.
WASHINGTON AT UTAH: Second big test away from home for Washington this season, who has it relatively easy after this (except for Stanford). An opening line of Washington -6 is down to -5 in some spots. But, Huskies money comes in on the five. Not clear now if this is going to settle at 5, 5.5, or 6 before the late Saturday kickoff.
Once conference play begins, we should have more true showcase games to go over in these Thursday reports. It took a pair of those in the SEC to get us to a handful. That league has been very impressive in the first two weeks. Were you aware the SEC went 18-6 against the spread against non-conference opponents out of the gate? All four teams we looked at today have high profile covers over Power 5 teams (Alabama over Louisville, Ole Miss over Texas Tech, LSU over Miami, and Auburn over Washington).
Thanks for reading. I'll see you again Friday afternoon to discuss how sharps have been betting Sunday and Monday NFL.