Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 1:11 PM
Back for another week of analyzing sharp action. Today we'll look at Thursday and Friday football, along with marquee matchups from Saturday's college slate. Then, I'll be back by midday Friday for our weekly look at the weekend NFL card. Thanks again to all of you who have been checking in for these sharps reports for so many years.
We start with tonight's NFL matchup...
Houston at Cincinnati: An opener of Cincinnati -3.5 has been bet all the way up to -6 since it became clear that Deshaun Watson was going to get the start despite having a sore ankle. Sharps were surprised Houston's quarterbacks were pressured so intently by Jacksonville last week. Now, the Texans either have to go with a rookie who may not be able to move well....or Tom Savage who is slow to read defenses and has slow feet in their road opener. Weird to see a team that was SHUT OUT last week laying six. There might be some "bounce back" historical trends in the mix there as well. I believe Houston interest would show at +6.5 or +7. It might be biding its time as we speak, before settling for +6. The Over/Under has been bet down from 38.5 to 37.5. That may not sound like much to you. But, 38 is a very key number on football Over/Unders because so many football scores add up to that (24-14, 28-10, 21-17,). And, it's harder to move low totals through a key number than high totals. That one-point represents a lot of support for the Under at both 38.5 and 38.
New Mexico at Boise State: Boise State opened at -15.5. They're not really a blowout team any more under this head coach. They failed to cover as a home favorite over Troy in the season opener. Plus, they're coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss as a road dog at Washington State. The line has dropped to -14.5 in some spots. Dog lovers figured there was no reason to wait because the public stopped loading up on Boise State blindly long ago.
Massachusetts at Temple: Interesting that Temple was an auto-fade vs. Notre Dame, then lost that game big, but still got support here at the opener of -14. We're now seeing -14.5 or -15 around town. UMASS played a close game with Hawaii, who then got thrashed by UCLA. Losing at Coastal Carolina by 10 points last week looked bad as well. Very tough to make a case for UMASS beyond the "Temple shouldn't be favored by that much over anybody" line of thinking. This won't be a heavily bet game because of the teams involved. I do think some old-school sharps will come in on the dog at +15.
Illinois at South Florida: Interesting game because South Florida has a chance to go undefeated this season. But, they looked awful out of the gate at San Jose State...before eventually winning less impressively than Texas did against the same team. Then, last week's action was cancelled by the hurricane. Are they ready to lay such a big number to a Big 10 team? The opener of -16.5 has been bet up through the key number of 17 all the way to -17.5. So, sharps seem to think this will be a statement win for a team trying to earn its way into the BCS conversation.
Arizona at UTEP: The opener of Arizona -21 has been bet up to -23. You know how bad UTEP must be if the Arizona team that lost at home to Houston last week is laying that kind of chalk. UTEP's quarterback Ryan Metz will miss the game with a shoulder injury. That's why the number is so high, and why there hasn't been much resistance to the move.
Notre Dame at Boston College: Sharps loved Notre Dame two weeks ago against Temple, and are getting support as a double-digit favorite again this week even after the nationally televised loss to Georgia. The Irish opened at -11.5, and are now up to -13...with some stores testing -13.5. BC can play some low scoring wrestling matches. So, I expect sharp dog money to hit before kickoff. The syndicates who liked Notre Dame already have their money in play. Those thinking about BC for value are waiting to see how high the line will go.
Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh: Sharps have loved Oklahoma State so far this season...and have been richly rewarded through two games. They bet the opener of Okie State -10 hard. The line has been driven up to -13. That may strike you as very high considering the caliber of opponent. But, Pittsburgh could be out of gas after a physical rivalry loss at Penn State last week. No margin for error against this Cowboys offense...and the Panthers are in danger of being flat-footed. No resistance yet on the dog side. I would expect to see some if +14 comes into play. Possibly even at +13.5.
UCLA at Memphis: A lot of interest in the bad-body clock angle here, as this is a noon ET kickoff in Tennessee, which is 9 a.m. body time for UCLA. Josh Rosen has put up some big numbers the last two weeks against Texas A&M and Hawaii. Can he do that on the road with bleary-eyed receivers? An opener of UCLA -4.5 has been bet down to the key number of three. Memphis had its game at Central Florida cancelled last week. Maybe sharps are giving the Tigers a boost for extra preparation time too. We have yet to see much interest on the Bruins at -3, which is interesting.
Clemson at Louisville: An opener of Clemson -2.5 was bet up to the key number of three quickly, where it's been sitting all week. I would expect sharps to fade any move off the three in either direction. Louisville would be very appealing as a home dog of +3.5 to sharps expecting the Clemson defense to let down off the Auburn game. We already know Clemson -2.5 is appealing to those who don't respect the Louisville defense. That was taken out quickly. This is the prime-time game on ABC...so there's all day Saturday for public money to make things interesting.
Tennessee at Florida: We've been sitting around Florida -5 all week. The media has talked some about a bad opener at one offshore sportsbook that was corrected very quickly. Most stores opened around the five...and the market is in a soft tug-of-war so far between Florida -4.5 and Tennessee +5. You might be wondering why anyone would lay points with this Florida offense. They'll be facing a softer defense than Michigan's this week...one that allowed Georgia Tech to march up and down the field. Kind of funny...the "debate with dollars" here is mostly about "anti-Florida" money going against "anti-Tennessee" money. Sharps are betting against either team rather than showing "support" for one side or the other.
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Thanks for reading. See you again Friday afternoon.