How Sharps are Betting Marquee College Football Games
The first full weekend of college football action isn't exactly rife with great matchups. That's why everybody's talking about Alabama/Florida State! It's rare to have a game that great on opening Saturday. But, in terms of pure entertainment value...that's about it.
Here in Las Vegas, we gamble for money rather than entertainment. So, I've added in a few other games of interest for us to study this week. I've also included Sunday's doubleheader and the Monday nighter, which will at least match up bowl caliber teams in early Power Ratings.
I'll run through these handpicked games in schedule order, starting with Saturday action...
Wyoming at Iowa: This game is getting a lot of attention here in Nevada because many sharps follow the Mountain West, and are expecting big things from Wyoming this season. They've already bet the Cowboys at the opener of +13.5...and again at +13, and the money still kept coming in at +12.5 and +12. We're now seeing Iowa -11.5 at most stores. I'm not sure what would bring public money in. Iowa has a history of looking awful as favorites in September. Sharps think they got a steal at +12 or higher.
BYU vs. LSU (in New Orleans, LA): You probably know this game was originally scheduled for Houston until the hurricane disaster. The market moved LSU from -12.5 to -14.5 because of the site switch. LSU is going to have a much better crowd advantage here, though it's obviously not the same as a home game in Baton Rouge. The public has been betting LSU, which has driven the line up to -15 or -15.5. Stores testing 16 have seen underdog money come in. There would have been a lot more interested in BYU if the Cougars hadn't played so poorly vs. Portland State last Saturday. How are they going to score on LSU's defense? Old school sharps won't mind taking +16.
Maryland at Texas: The first "game of the year" numbers this past summer were showing Texas by up around 21 points. Sharps brought Maryland all the way down to around 16. That's when more sportsbooks put up their numbers. Right now, we're seeing Texas -18.5. So, depending on when you started paying attention, it could look like sharps love Maryland, or love Texas. There's definitely a lot of market respect for new Longhorns head coach Tom Herman. Sharps do expect improvement from the team in 2017. The current midpoint probably has it right...with value bettors happy they got in at either extreme. Normally, the public would like a big-name program like Texas as a big favorite. But, it's harder to lay such a high number coming off a bad season.
Temple at Notre Dame: I'm including this game because it's on NBC, because Temple was a fantastic pointspread team last year, and because Notre Dame's coaching situation is such a big story. Early betting interest has been on Notre Dame very aggressively. An opening line of ND -15 is up to -18.5 in some spots. That means it blew through the key number of -17 and kept right on going. Temple only returns four starters on each side of the ball, and have a new head coach and starting quarterback. If Notre Dame DOESN'T win big, its coach will stay on the hot seat
Michigan vs. Florida (in Arlington, TX): Michigan is currently -5 or -5.5 depending on where you shop. Line moves here have generally tracked news of suspensions for the Gators. Tough game for sharps to get involved with because Michigan lost so much personnel to graduation, but Florida keeps suspending current personnel! There was a big move here on the total, from 47 down to 43.
Florida State vs. Alabama (in Atlanta, GA): This is going to be a very heavily bet game. The line is a solid Alabama -7 right now, and has been for many days. This is a number where sharps will typically fade any game-day move off the key digit. But, I can tell you that there are many sharps here in Las Vegas who LOVE Florida State, and are hoping the public will push the line higher. The Wise Guys may have to settle for +7. Some have already taken preliminary positions just in case the only direction is down. While there is respect for Nick Saban's ability to prepare for big games, most respected Power Ratings I've seen have the "right" number as closer to four.
West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech (in Landover, MD): We're hopping between Virginia Tech -4 and -4.5. Four isn't a key number. But, that looks like the range where a tug-of-war could develop between supporters of either side. Those who like Tech find -4 very appealing. Those thinking about the dog jump in at +4.5. Vegas will hope the game doesn't land right on the four with relatively split action.
Texas A&M at UCLA: The opener of UCLA -3 was bet quickly of the key number up to -3.5, with four's being tested. There's not much faith in the A&M program any more in sharp or square circles. UCLA disappointed last season, but still has a "locals" following in Nevada. Plenty of time for things to change in what should be a heavily bet game on a light football day. In sharp circles, I know more critics of both than I know fans of either.
Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech (in Atlanta, GA): Note that this isn't a home game for Georgia Tech, even though the school is based in Atlanta. This will be at the same new stadium as that Alabama/Florida State game Saturday night. The line has been a solid Tennessee -3. I would expect sharps to fade any public move off the key number on game day. Tennessee isn't really a public team any more. So, if sharps loved Georgia Tech, we would have seen a drop by now. No reason to wait for +3.5. But, if it does come into play, sharps will jump on Tech.
Have a great holiday weekend. I wanted to let you know that we'll go to two-a-week reports for the month of September. On Thursdays, I'll look at sharp action in key Thursday and Friday action, plus a few marquee college matchups from Saturdays. Fridays we'll have our traditional "How the sharps are betting the NFL" reports that have been popular for years.
You can purchase my daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the office at 1-888-777-4155. I'm looking forward to this first big week of college action because there are interesting betting opportunities all over the card.
Thanks for reading. Back again next week in time for the NFL season opener matching the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots.
By Richie Baccellieri
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