Richie Baccellieri: How Sharps are Betting Marquee Matchups
There are so many good games in college football this Saturday that I'm going to skip the Thursday and Friday night matchups in that sport to focus on the showcases you'll be watching on TV in a couple of days. We'll start today's report with a look at how sharps (professional wagerers) are betting tonight's NFL game...then skip right to Saturday's colleges. Games are presented in the order they appear in the Nevada Rotation.
Buffalo at the NY Jets: This one was fairly solid on Buffalo -3 all week. Some stores are starting to test Bills -3.5 as I write this because more people are interested in betting Buffalo at that price than the Jets. Sportsbooks know that the Wise Guys will hit the Jets hard at +3.5 as a divisional home underdog. Each locale will have to figure out how they want to be positioned. It's safe to say that squares (the public) are on Buffalo -3, and sharps will take the Jets +3.5 anywhere they can find it. That could set up a tug-of-war at the key number. Or many stores may just accept public action on the three and root for the Jets. The Over/Under is up a tick from 42 to 42.5.
SATURDAY MARQUEE COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Clemson at NC State: An opener of Clemson -7 was bet up off the key number to Clemson -7.5. Some stores are testing Clemson -8. It's telling that there wasn't buyback on the home underdog. State lost badly to Notre Dame last week, much worse than expected. Clemson is relatively fresh, and starting to get healthier. Many of the quants still have Clemson up with Ohio State in Power Ratings when the Tigers are healthy. Hard to know what number would bring in dog money on this particular puppy. Not much happening on the total.
Ohio State at Iowa: Big number considering the site. Ohio State opened at -17, and has been bet up to -17.5. That might strike you as odd since Penn State barely won on this field earlier this season, and Ohio State barely beat Penn State last week. But, the Buckeyes won stats HUGE over the Nittany Lions, and have a big edge in talent over the Hawkeyes. This is another game that's very much "math-driven." Old school sharps like conference home dogs like Iowa, particularly when the visitor is in a letdown spot. Quants have Ohio State has another Alabama...and that money is in play already at -17. The total has dropped from 54 to 52, which isn't uncommon in Big 10 games played in November.
Virginia Tech at Miami-Fla: There was a huge move here early that shocked many people. Miami opened at -2.5 on its home field, which was already a sign of dis-respect for a host. Home field by itself is worth three points normally, and Miami is a top ten team. THEN, respected money POUNDED Virginia Tech...flipping the favorite and moving the game to Hokies -2.5. That's what I see as I write this. Were the key number of three to come into play, Miami money would hit that hard. At +2.5? Not so much interest because that's been available all week. Somebody important loves Virginia Tech to win this game, and several syndicates are skeptical about the Hurricanes. The total is up a point from 49 to 50, which at least tells you it probably won't be rainy.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State: Even though this game has only moved a point since the opener, it's the biggest "one point" move that's possible in our field. A favorite of -3.5. has been bet down through the magic number of three to -2.5, where it's held firmly since. Because so many games land exactly on the three, and because the public usually likes taking home favorites, that represents HUGE support for underdog Oklahoma. There wasn't much buy back on a respected home favorite below the key number! If sharps DON'T like Okie State -2.5 in Stillwater, that tells you something very emphatically about their feelings for the Sooners. Sharps loved the dog at +3.5, and will take the dog enthusiastically at +3. We may have to see of a drop to -2 brings in Wise Guy money on this favorite. Two-point jump on the total from 74 to 76. But, points or so cheap on Over/Unders in shootouts that the one-point move on the side is much more important than the two-point move on the total.
LSU at Alabama: Alabama is being Power-Rated at a level that's rarely seen in this sport. There's been some talk that the Tide would be a 9-10 point favorite over Georgia if the SEC Championship game were held today...and the playoff committee has Georgia at #1 in their rankings! This opener of Alabama -20 has been bet up to -21. Some stores are testing 21.5 because the key number didn't bring in dog interest. It might take LSU +22 to bring in aggressive Wise Guy action. Old school guys won't mind the Tigers at +21.5. The quants have Alabama as a super-team...and nothing's happened yet to change their minds.
Penn State at Michigan State: Not much happening yet. Penn State opened at -9. Some stores are testing -8.5 just to see if that brings in any nibbles. It's tough for the public to bet Penn State after they played so badly in the second half on TV last week. Michigan State would normally be a very live dog, but they had a marathon overtime game with Northwestern. Sharps were hoping the public would drive Penn State up to -10...but that seems a remote possibility now. Probably a quiet betting game unless injury news breaks, or a syndicate jumps in big Saturday morning.
Stanford at Washington State: Both teams have looked awful in recent action, yet both are still in the Top 25 of the AP poll. Stanford is dangerous when their Heisman Trophy candidate running back is at full strength. He might be a one-man team! Washington State is inconsistent, but capable of beating anyone when not turning the ball over. An opener of Wazzou -1 has been bet up to -2. The opening total of 53.5 is up to 55.5. I know sharps who are most interested in watching this game to evaluate how both will measure up against Washington down the road.
Arizona at USC: Arizona has been playing great football in recent weeks. USC finally played well in the desert at Arizona State last week after a string of non-covers. An inflated opener of USC -10 was bet down quickly to as low as -7. Trojans money really likes the seven, so we may see a tug-of-war between USC -7 and Arizona +7.5. Earliest money is very happy with its dog position. This is a very late start, and prime time on the West Coast...so it will be one of the most heavily bet games of the entire slate. The total is up from 71 to 73 because nobody's been able to slow down this Arizona offense since they found a quarterback.
It's great to see so many big college games on the card. You may have heard that college football handle is very close to NFL handle on recent weekends in Las Vegas (some shops are reporting more has been bet in the colleges!). I definitely have some strong opinions for you this weekend in both college and the NFL. You can purchase my BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card every day. If you have any questions call the office at 1-888-777-4155.
You longtime readers know that college basketball is my favorite sport to handicap and bet personally. The season starts Friday November 10! Be sure you ask about my basketball program when you call.
Thanks for reading. See you at this time tomorrow to run through sharp betting over the rest of the NFL weekend.
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