What Sharps Think: Sunday/Monday


There are four games left this weekend on the college football slate. It's the last relatively quiet Sunday before the NFL regular season starts next week. Sportsbooks in Las Vegas and Reno will be hopping every Sunday between now and conference championship weekend in January.

Sharps have been treading lightly so far in the final ...grand slam' of action. They wanted to spend Saturday getting a better feel of the national landscape. They also wanted to sit back and see if the public was going to get involved since all four games were on TV. Act quickly if you need to...be patient if you don't.

Let's see where the sharps acted quickly...or acted patiently in the four games left on the card.

TULSA AT EAST CAROLINA: Tulsa opened as a 7-point road favorite. This surprised many in the media who remember East Carolina playing in the CUSA Championship game last year before losing a toughie to Arkansas of the SEC in a bowl. How could East Carolina be a 7-point home underdog? Sharps liked Tulsa and drove the line UP!

Now, that may have been a head fake, and sharps will come back Sunday on the home dog at a line higher than a field goal. Or, it may be that sharps and oddsmakers both think that new head coach Ruffin McNeill is going to have trouble filling the shoes of Skip Holtz (who left for South Florida). I'll be watching line moves closely on game day. I don't expect the public to get very involved, meaning any action will be sharp action.

SMU AT TEXAS TECH: Texas Tech opened at -11.5, and jumped quickly up to -13 or -13.5. I did see a -14 out there for awhile Saturday...but my impression is that most sharps are looking to take the dog at two touchdowns. Early sharp money represented a mix of position-taking and Tech support. The fact that the line didn't storm to -14 and beyond at the outset tells you that the ...support' wasn't strong enough to take it that high. I'll probably remind you of this a thousand times this year. If you like a favorite, bet it as early as you can. If you like a dog, patience is usually better unless other sharps are hitting the dog early in a game the public isn't like to pay much attention to.

MARYLAND AT NAVY: Navy opened at -7 in this neutral field game in Baltimore. I'm now seeing 6.5 as I write this, suggesting enough sharp action on the dog that sportsbooks are trying to lure in money at the favorite. The public usually has trouble resisting a spread like that just below a critical number. Squares may be less likely to lay it with a team like Navy though. And, this just isn't the kind of marquee game that's going to generate a lot of buzz. Light sharp sentiment on the dog at this point.

BOISE STATE AT VIRGINIAT TECH: Oddsmakers took an early position on Virginia Tech (in their minds) by opening his at Boise State -2.5. That was BEGGING for public money on the favorite...because the public loves laying less than a field goal in TV games. Many sharps think the wrong team is favored...and Virginia Tech money has driven the line down to 2 or 1.5 in places. If the public doesn't come in on game day, oddsmakers will have taken a position the other way! This is the most anticipated game of the first big weekend of college action. I'm interested to see how much square money hits the board.

by Las Vegas linesmaker Nick Bogdanovich


Today’s Hot Plays