A busy late-week college football schedule will be driving bettors to sports books. Some fun betting attractions with six games on tap, including two involving ranked teams, two from major conferences, and appearances from both UNLV and Nevada.
As always, games are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules.
Thursday, Nov. 18
Louisville (-20, 60.5) at Duke
ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET
I opened Louisville -19.5 and we’re up to -20 from public betting. No buy back yet from sharps on Duke at + 20. It might take + 21 for the wiseguys to nibble. At the very least, dog lovers may be waiting to see if the line goes that high. We may get there in a standalone game on ESPN. The public will want to bet and they’ll want to lay points with the superior team hoping for a blowout. I’ve barely written any business yet on the Thursday and Friday totals. So, I’ll just talk about team sides in this report.
Friday, Nov. 19
Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech (-16, 49.5)
CBS Sports Network, 9 p.m. ET
This will probably be the least-bet Friday game. The public isn’t paying much attention to either team. My opener of Louisiana Tech -16.5 took a little bit of public play on the dog, so I decided I opened too high and dropped to -16. Not much interest either way at the new line. I’m not expecting enthusiasm to develop considering the other options on the card.
Memphis at No. 24 Houston (-9.5, 60.5)
ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET
Pretty good two-way play already. The public is on the ranked home favorite, which is typical for an ESPN or ESPN2 game. But, sharps were happy to take Memphis + 9.5 rather than waiting to see if + 10 came into play. That’s a pretty strong indicator for the dog so close to a key number. Better to take + 9.5 than watch other sharps beat you to the punch in a way that drops the line to 9. I’m expecting a pretty good handle by kickoff. The public has already made clear it’s happy to lay -9.5 (or better). Sharps will take + 9.5 (or better). Houston will likely be in a lot of Friday night public parlays.
Arizona at Washington State (-14.5, 52.5)
Pac 12 Network, 9 p.m. ET
I opened Wazzu -13.5. Public money drove that through the key number of 14 all the way to -14.5, but I’m still taking some bets on Washington State even at that price. No buy back from the sharps, which could be telling since a key number was involved. I’m seeing some 15’s in the marketplace. I think sharps will take Arizona + 15 when offered. That line would seem too high with Arizona coming off four straight covers. Believe it or not, it’s been a month since Arizona lost a game by double digits.
Air Force at Nevada (-1.5, 52.5)
FS1, 9 p.m. ET
A sharp bet on the dog knocked my opener of Nevada -2 down to -1.5. The public is on Nevada. There’s a lot of rooting interest for the Wolf Pack here in Las Vegas, even though it’s a “rival” of UNLV. A lot of residents either graduated from Nevada or sent their kids there. This is a big game for those fans. They’ll bet Nevada and root their butts off. Sharps will take Air Force + 2 when offered. I expect a lot of action between now and kickoff. The game may hop between 1.5 and 2 a few times between now and then.
No. 19 San Diego State (-11, 41) at UNLV
CBS Sports Network, 11:30 p.m. ET
Good two-way play already. No clear indicators for the sharp/public divide. Obviously, UNLV will draw some interest from locals. Other public bettors will lay points with the ranked favorite in a game they’ll watch on TV. Sharps haven’t made their preference clear just yet. We know that the wiseguys are much more likely to bet dogs than favorites in this price range. They’re probably waiting for + 11.5 or better to take any shots on UNLV.
There will be a lot of buzz in Nevada sportsbooks Friday night with state teams playing in a virtual prime time doubleheader (local time). We know that buzz will continue through Saturday with big games like Michigan State/Ohio State, Oregon/Utah, and Arkansas/Alabama on the card. I’ll be back with you tomorrow to talk about betting action in all Saturday’s marquee college games. See you then!
Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas, and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.