No real blockbusters on the college schedule this week…where red-hot superpowers are matched up in games with close point spreads. But, there are many entertaining matchups that have been heavily bet since lines went up. Let’s run through those in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules.
Saturday, Oct. 16
Auburn Tigers at No. 17 Arkansas Razorbacks (-4, 53.5)
CBS, noon ET
Fitting that the last game on today’s list was also time-changed to an early kickoff. That first set of games is going to be something else. I opened Arkansas -3.5. Sharps laid that. I’m at -4 now. Remember to pay extra attention to games that immediately move away from a key number. Numbers like 3 and 7 are magnets that typically pull lines toward them. This went the other way. That makes it more important than a half-point move would normally suggest.
No. 10 Michigan State Spartans (-5, 48.5) at Indiana Hoosiers
FS1, noon ET
A lot of action here. True across the Big Ten so far this week. I opened Sparty -4.5. Sharps laid that. I’m up to five, getting a fairly even money split at the new price. Oh, I took a decent-sized money line bet from a sharp on Indiana at + 170. That type of bet is always worth noting in this price range.
No. 20 Florida Gators (-12, 59) at LSU Tigers
ESPN, noon ET
Another noon ET start. Look at how perceptions of these teams have changed since the offseason. In my “games of the year” package, I opened LSU pick-em. Sharps bet LSU at pick-em, -1, and -1.5. I closed at LSU -2. This week, I reopened at Florida -10. Sharps laid the -10, then laid -10.5, -11, and -11.5. I’m now at -12, and there’s not much love for LSU yet. As a home underdog in Baton Rouge! A two-touchdown market difference from this past summer to now.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (-4, 48) at Minnesota Golden Gophers
ESPN2, noon ET
Another game with really good action. I haven’t moved off my opener of Nebraska -4. I see the market trending down in places to 3.5. I currently have a bit more action on favored Nebraska. I won’t move until I take more Minnesota bets.
Central Florida Knights at No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats (-21, 57.5)
ABC, noon ET
I really screwed this one up in my “games of the year” package. I opened Cincinnati -4. Sharps bet that all the way up to Cincinnati -10 before closing. When I reopened this week, I posted Cincinnati -20. Sharps took that up to -21. Central Florida has played much worse than expected this season. Everybody knew Cincinnati was going to be great. Sharps were more skeptical than me about UCF, but nobody would have guessed a line of -21 this past summer. Could go higher before kickoff if nobody’s betting the road dog.
No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies (-9.5, 59.5) at Missouri Tigers
SEC Network, noon ET
Note the time change here. If you want to fade the Aggies in a letdown spot off the huge upset of Alabama, take care of business early. I opened A&M -9. Some sharps laid it. I went to -9.5. I’m starting to get buy back on the home dog. Most don’t expect this to reach -10 with a potentially flat, road favorite in an early kick. Missouri could cover clean, or get the money late through the back door.
No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys at No. 25 Texas Longhorns (-5, 60)
FOX, noon ET
Another time change to an early kick. I opened Texas -5.5. A sharp took the points, dropping me to -5. I have been getting some buy back on the Horns. Just not enough to lift me back over the five. Ticket count is strongly in favor of Texas. But, I respect that sharp bet on Okie State + 5.5. This Over/Under is trending up across the market. I haven’t taken enough bets yet to move me off my opener of 60.
No. 19 BYU Cougars at Baylor Bears (-6, 51)
ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET
This was also one of my “games of the year.” Months ago, I opened Baylor -1. Sharps bet it up to -2.5. This week, I opened Baylor -5. Sharps laid that. I jumped straight to -6 because I felt better at that number. On the six, we’re writing good two-way action. Sometimes poll rankings are way out of whack with the market. When that happens, trust the market. BYU has some talent, but is probably a pretender in terms of top 20 classification. My opening total of 51 has drawn two-way action. Some totals haven’t moved because nobody’s betting them yet. This one hasn’t moved because interest has split.
Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels (-7.5, 63)
ACC Network, 3:30 p.m. ET
This was part of my “games of the year” package several months ago. Back then I opened North Carolina -3. Took a little action on the Tar Heels, but not enough to move the line. I re-opened this week at UNC -7. First bet was on the favorite from a sharp. I went to UNC -7.5. A sharp bet on the dog dropped it back to 7. Then another sharp bet took it back up to 7.5. Great two-way action from respected guys with differing opinions. We may see this game hop back and forth until kickoff. Recreational bettors are on North Carolina so far. There are a lot of games to discuss today. I’ll only mention Over/Unders when there’s been meaningful betting action. Only limited play so far on my opener of 63 in this one.
Pittsburgh Panthers (-5, 57) at Virginia Tech Hokies
ESPN2, 3:30 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh may be a team to keep your eye on the rest of the season. But, not much action to report so far against the Hokies. Some Pitt money on my opener of -5. Not enough to move the line. My opening total of 57.5 is part of the market trend down to 57.
Purdue Boilermakers at No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes (-12, 43)
ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET
I opened Iowa -11.5. Sharps bet me up to -12. I’m writing even business since the move. I expect sharp dog players to take + 12 soon. That’s a lot of points in a game with such a low total. Points are at a premium in defensive games. Tougher for favorites to win blowouts. So far, the public seems less likely to lay big numbers with a smash mouth team like Iowa, compared to high-octane favorites elsewhere.
No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats at No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (-23, 44.5)
CBS, 3:30 p.m. ET
You can tell the market doesn’t see Kentucky as a new power. This is a very high point spread for a game with such a low total. Though, sharps did bet Kentucky for value at my opener of + 24, and again at + 23.5. I’m down to + 23. I’m seeing some lower numbers out there. Probably safe to say that sharps like Kentucky at + 23 or more. It’s still not expected to be a close contest. Georgia’s defense is a brick wall.
No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide (-16.5, 58) at Mississippi State Bulldogs
ESPN, 7 p.m. ET
Speaking of high-octane favorites. Alabama is both explosive and mad! This is an obvious bounce back spot for a superpower. I opened ‘Bama -17. First bet was on the Tide, so I went up to 17.5. I was sure the public would be laying points all week. But, sharps jumped in on Mississippi State at + 17.5. I went back to 17, and sharps continued to take the dog. I’m currently at ‘Bama -16.5. I’m not getting enough public play yet to bring -17 back. Some recreational bettors may prefer to just bet Alabama in the first half. That line will probably be around -10. Nick Saban’s teams have been known to explode early before sitting on a lead. This approach exploits the best of “intangible” emotion while also avoiding the dangers of garbage time scoring. My opening total of 57.5 was bet up to 58.
No. 22 NC State Wolfpack (-3, 52) at Boston College Eagles
ACC Network, 7:30 p.m. ET
Good two-way action on my opener of NC State -3. Ticket count is almost identical on either side. Rare to see it that close. Sometimes you see that a line hasn’t moved, and you assume it’s off the betting radar. This one has been fairly heavily bet with support for each side. Barring injury news, this game should stick on the key number.
TCU Horned Frogs at No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners (-13.5, 65)
ABC, 7:30 p.m. ET
A big move from my opener of Oklahoma -11.5 up to -13.5. A combination of factors in play here. Sharps were very impressed last week with the second half of OU backup quarterback Caleb Wilson. He led the Sooners to a 35-10 rout of Texas over the last two quarters. Also, news trickled in that TCU quarterback Max Duggan would only be “questionable” Saturday. I made that line move in two jumps from 11.5 to 12.5, and then from 12.5 to 13.5. Might take 14 to bring in money on the home dog.
No. 13 Mississippi Rebels (-2.5, 82.5) at Tennessee Volunteers
SEC Network, 7:30 p.m. ET
Yes, that says 82.5 for the total. It was my opener. Bettors have played it both ways. So, no movement. Amazing that there’s so much diversity in college football play styles that we can have totals in the low 40’s, and a total in the low 80’s on the same day. Tennessee’s been a sharp bet on the team side at my opener of + 3.5, and then again at + 3. I dropped to 2.5. I’m starting to get interest on Ole Miss below the key number. Highly respected money took Tennessee at + 3 or better, and would probably step back in if + 3 became available again.
Iowa State Cyclones (-6, 50.5) at Kansas State Wildcats
ESPN2, 7:30 p.m. ET
I included this one because it’s prime time on ESPN2. I try to mention all the major TV matchups even if teams aren’t ranked. My opener of Iowa State -6.5 was bet down to -6. Sharps didn’t think the full + 7 would come into play.
UCLA Bruins at Washington Huskies (-2, 55.5)
FOX, 8:30 p.m. ET
Good two-way action at my opener of Washington -2. My ticket count favors UCLA (not a surprise with our proximity to Los Angeles sports fans). And, the rest of the market is trending down to Washington -1.5. I’ll need to take a few more UCLA bets before dropping. Another great Pac-12 betting attraction with a prime TV slot.
No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devils at Utah Utes (pick-em, 51)
ESPN, 10 p.m. ET
Pretty good action both ways already. My ticket count favors Arizona State. But, money favors Utah. That’s an indicator sharps like Utah. The Utes impressed against USC last week, and need to keep making up for their slow start. This late starting time (primetime here in Las Vegas) suggests a very high handle by kickoff. Excellent betting game.
Look for the betting market report for the full NFL slate including LA Chargers/Baltimore, Green Bay/Chicago, Arizona/Cleveland, Las Vegas/Denver, and Dallas/New England on Friday.
Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas, and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.