Sharps And The New Years Bowls
DIRECT FROM NEVADA
With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich
WHAT SHARPS ARE THINKING ABOUT THE 10 NEW YEAR'S EVE-JAN 1 BOWLS
Ten more games to talk about today, as I run through what the sharps are thinking about the 10 college bowl games scheduled for Friday and Saturday. That will take us through the traditional bowl explosion on January 1st. That's also the day of my next report. I'll look at what the sharps are thinking about this Sunday's NFL games at that time.
There's a lot to discuss, so let's jump right in...
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL: Clemson vs. South Florida
Strong support for Clemson, as the Tigers opened at -4 and were bet up to -6. That didn't take it all the way up to the critical number of seven...but it's still one-sided action. South Florida didn't impress the sharps down the stretch, and they have guys who are banged up at key positions. Should the public drive Clemson up to a full touchdown, you'd see some buybacks from sharps on the dog at that time. The total is up a tick from 40 to 40.5. If I don't mention a total in any of the 10 games in this report, it's because sharps haven't yet indicated a preference on the Over/Under in that game.
SUN BOWL: Miami of Florida vs. Notre Dame
The sharps really like Notre Dame here. They opened +4. The line has been bet down to +2.5, and there HASN'T been buy back yet past the key number. Sharps would normally take a shot at the middle once it crossed the three. Many I've talked to believe the Irish will win straight up. Note that Miami will be playing for an interim head coach because Randy Shannon was let go. Cool weather may also help the Irish. The total is up from 45.5 to 47 in spite of the forecast for cold weather. Shannon was a defensive-minded coach. Maybe his absence has inspired some Over money.
LIBERTY BOWL: Georgia vs. Central Florida
Fairly strong support for Central Florida at +7. The line has come down to +6.5 and stayed there...meaning there wasn't much interest on Georgia even below a critical number. It's been a tough year for Georgia, and Central Florida was a popular sharp team much of the season. I'm not surprised they took the full +7 when it was on the board. The total is up from 54 to 55.5. Georgia did play some shootouts this year. And, Central Florida is from the wide open Conference USA. I could see why the math guys would go Over here.
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL: Florida State vs. South Carolina
Very little betting interest from sharps, as the game opened SC -3 and 54, and has pretty much stayed there. This could mean preference for the dog, and the sharps are hoping the public will drive the favorite higher by kickoff. I think it was mostly about everyone waiting for news on Christian Ponder. He was supposed to play in the ACC Championship game then didn't. Sharps don't want to bet FSU then find out he's still not ready to go. If you see a game day move toward FSU, assume that's sharp money. If you see a game day move toward SC, assume it's the squares (the general public) taking a cheap TV favorite.
SATURDAY-NEW YEAR'S DAY
TICKET CITY CLASSIC: Texas Tech vs. Northwestern
Texas Tech was bet from -8.5 up to -9.5, but nine is a dead number in football, so that's not really a big move. It didn't go all the way to -10, which is important. I think more sharps would have jumped on the dog at +10 just because Tech's defense is so soft. Here we're seeing the Tech support show early, while the Northwestern support is waiting for a better number. The total is up a point from 59.5 to 60.5. Remember that this is Tommy Tuberville coaching Texas Tech, so it's not the same kind of shootout team you saw in past years.
OUTBACK BOWL: Florida vs. Penn State
The team side hasn't moved, with Florida still at -7. Most sharps see that as the right number based on my discussions with them. I think they'd fade any line move from the public either way. If squares take Florida to 7.5, sharps will take Joe Paterno and the dog. If the line comes down to 6.5, Florida will be seen as a value favorite. These are big name teams, so there's definitely a chance the public will step in late in the week (maybe Friday Night though because it's a 10 a.m. kickoff in Vegas). The total is up from 47 to 48.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL: Alabama vs. Michigan State
Alabama still gets a lot of respect in the line even though they lost a few games in the SEC. The Tide opened at -11 here. Sharps who liked the dog figured it wouldn't go any higher than that (squares are less likely to bet big favorites who they've watched lose more than once on TV). So, they jumped in and drove the number down to MSU +10. It sat there though, suggesting a limit to Sparty support. Alabama -9.5 would become more appealing to squares too because it's in single digits. The total is up to 52 from 50.5. The forecast for good weather may be encourage over bets from the totals guys.
GATOR BOWL: Mississippi State vs. Michigan
More Over money in a Florida-based bowl, as the total of 57 has been bet all the way up to 60. Michigan plays high scoring games because they have an explosive quarterback and a bad defense. Mississippi State's offense has improved under the new coach. The opener was just a bad number. Michigan +5 is getting a little support from sharps, with the line falling to +4.5. State hasn't proven they can be trusted as a favorite in a big game. Many of the old school sharps will fade a team like that without batting an eyelash.
ROSE BOWL: Wisconsin vs. TCU
Big support for TCU and the Over. Some were surprised when TCU opened as the favorite over a major conference champion like Wisconsin. But, that opener of TCU -1.5 was bet all the way up to TCU -3...and it stuck. There wasn't a big buyback on Wisconsin at the key number. Maybe that's still to come. It didn't happen right away though. The total is up from 56.5 to 58.5, suggesting that the sharper aspects of the market believe TCU is going to put up a lot of points on the Wisconsin defense. The original line suggested 29 scoreboard points for TCU...then sharps bet the Frogs and Over. I think we're going to see a ton of game day betting in this game. Many squares won't have recovered from their New Year's Eve partying to play the morning games. They'll stroll into the sportsbooks for this one. It's the second-most anticipated college game behind Auburn-Oregon. We'll see a HUGE handle here.
FIESTA BOWL: Oklahoma vs. Connecticut
Sportsbooks opened the game at a very high 16.5...and sharps hit the favorite anyway! Some of that may have been position-taking near the key number of 17. Some sharps figure the public will bet the blowout, and it's worth taking a shot at the middle on 17 (OU -16.5, UCONN +17.5 or more after the public bets, hoping the game ends something like 34-17, or 38-21). Sharps tend not to lay big numbers like this. And, honestly, it wasn't a lot of sharps who stepped in. Just enough to move the line.
That wraps up our look at New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I'll be back Saturday morning to run through the final NFL card of the regular season. Then Monday morning will move back to the colleges for more bowl discussion. We still have some great games next week. Auburn-Oregon isn't for another week and a half!
Don't forget that you can purchase my BOWL BEST BETS online on game days a few hours before kickoff. Friday and Saturday should be very interesting in that postseason handicapping contest I'm having with COACH RON MEYER. We have an offer at VegasSportsMasters that allows you to monitor the competition at a very affordable rate while getting the top releases from both of us. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-877-822-2276. Be sure to ask about basketball when you call.
Party safely as you bring in the new year. And stay sober enough to remember that the BEST INFORMATION will always come to you DIRECT FROM NEVADA!
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