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Betting market needs to adjust based on Duke's stellar performance

Jeff Fogle
VSiN City newsletter

November 15, 2017 12:02 AM

Duke’s four freshman seem ready for the Dance after beating Michigan State. Numbers and notes, plus Kentucky/Kansas, and the college football playoff picture right now in VSiN City. 

College Basketball: Duke dominates closing moments to beat Michigan State
With 3:24 to go, the score was tied at 75. For Duke…

  • Gary Trent Jr. made a three-pointer for 78-75 with 3:18 to go
  • Grayson Allen made a three-pointer for 81-75 with 2:28 to go
  • Grayson Allen made a three-pointer for 84-77 with 1:12 to go
  • Javin DeLaurier made a dunk for 86-77 with 0:53 to go

That’s an 11-2 run over the most important two-and-a-half minutes of the evening, which means great defense and clutch long range shooting. (The dunk was uncontested after a takeaway).

Grayson Allen would finish with 37 points, keyed by a 7 of 11 performance on three-pointers. As annoying as Allen could be to rival (or neutral, or even some Duke) fans, he showed true poise and leadership on a court filled with freshman and sophomores. 

Duke is already dangerous. With four starting freshmen and a senior “quarterback” who knows the ropes, this is likely to turn into a very big year based on the stats you’re about to see. 

Duke (pick-em) 88, Michigan State 81
Two-Point Pct: Duke 40%, Michigan State 61%
Three Pointers: Duke 9/23, Michigan State 9/25
Free Throws: Duke 19/29, Michigan State 10/18
Rebounds: Duke 46, Michigan State 35
Turnovers: Duke 9, Michigan State 17

Areas of concern:

  • Duke was repeatedly beat for Sparty dunks and layups. That won’t be an issue most of the time because they’ll be making so many of their own shots. But, they can’t afford such poor fast break positioning on the nights when shots aren’t falling. 
  • If Allen was 7 of 11 on treys, that means everyone else was 2 of 12. There were concerns about long range shooting with this collection of talent because this recruiting class was more about athleticism and length. If Allen gets hurt, or gets into foul trouble, Duke suddenly becomes very suspect from long range. 

But, otherwise…WOW! Normally newcomers have troubles with college-level rebounding position and the turnover department (not to mention late-game composure). Duke absolutely owned the boards, and forced almost twice as many turnovers as they made. And they did this on a neutral court against a virtual “co-number one” because informed betting markets had the game pick-em at tip-off. Oh…they also did all that with 6’11” Marvin Bagley III missing most of the game after getting poked in the eye midway through the first half. 

The market will have to re-evaluate how they have the Blue Devils power-rated.

  • Duke beat the market expectation by 10 over Elon
  • Duke (shorthanded) beat the market expectation by 7 over Michigan State 

Michigan State? Thirty-seven solid minutes until the late fade. They often close seasons better than they start them under Coach Tom Izzo. They’ll surely be a force to be reckoned with come March. 

College Basketball: Kansas survives Kentucky
Kansas felt like the superior team all evening…but just couldn’t shake the resilient Wildcats. We were tied at 57-all with 3:17 to go. Both teams struggled to score from the field from that point forward. Kansas made one three-pointer and five free throws to eke out a win that didn’t cover the closing point spread.

Kansas (-5) 65, Kentucky 61
Two-Point Pct: Kentucky 48%, Kansas 40%
Three Pointers: Kentucky 3/13, Kansas 8/28
Free Throws: Kentucky 12/18, Kansas 9/16
Rebounds: Kentucky 39, Kansas 39
Turnovers: Kentucky 18, Kansas 11

The game was slower-paced and more defensive-minded than the market expected. The Over/Under of 150 was never threatened because there wasn’t a free-throw parade until the final 20 seconds. You can see that neither team shot well from three-point land. Handicappers can deduce that Kentucky is going to attack the basket this season given that low trey count. Bet them at affordable prices against opponents with soft inside defenses (though you may want to wait until they fix those turnover issues). 

You don’t want to be too negative this early in the season. Both teams are likely to loom very large over the college hoop landscape all season. You can see that Kentucky needs to work on protecting the ball and getting good looks from outside. Defense is always a strength for John Calipari coached teams (several years of stats show that he has an AMAZING ability to get strangers to immediately play great defense together). 

Kansas was a sharp betting choice at low openers. The Jayhawks didn’t really play to that enthusiasm despite having several chances to. They couldn’t earn much inside and couldn’t hit much outside, which kept them about a dozen points below their market expectation. 

For the doubleheader, a fun TV introduction to the new season! For now, we’ll touch on college basketball for the occasional marquee matchup or betting market note until football winds down.

College Basketball: Another Over/Under rises 20-plus points
Yesterday we explained the huge line move on the total in last Friday’s Old Dominion/Towson game. Tuesday, another big move…as the Over/Under in Nebraska-Omaha/New Mexico also rose more than 20 points from the opener at some offshore locations.

Click here for a market recap from covers. The short version…

Offshore 
Bookmaker: low of 157.5, high of 178.5, closed 178
BetDSI: low of 157.5, high of 178.5, closed 177.5

Many offshore sites go up the night before with soft openers that move quickly on sharp money. Nevada books are more likely to go up on game-day early in the season so they can learn from the offshore markets. Las Vegas shops opened Tuesday morning in the mid 160’s and closed in the high 170’s right before tipoff. The South Point for example, opened 165 and closed 179. 

Why the big move? Nebraska-Omaha was one of the fastest-paced teams in the country last year, and will be again this season. They lost their season opener at Oklahoma 108-89 (197 points), which is obviously very high scoring for a college game. New Mexico was expected to push tempo more this season, and almost reached 150 points by themselves in a 147-76 tune-up vs. Northern New Mexico (223 points). 

Final Score: New Mexico 103, Nebraska-Omaha 71

A low scoring first half (35-34 New Mexico) seemed to kill any chance to reach the 180’s. But, give those kids credit for trying! A blistering 105-point second half did help the early money cash tickets. Stragglers who didn’t come in until 175 or more took a loss. Late buy backs on the Under cashed their tickets.

Given high scoring extended garbage time in both of New Mexico’s games…looking to go Over vulnerable totals may make sense moving forward whenever the Lobos are decent-sized chalk. They won’t be facing sprinters like UNO very often. That just means the opening totals will be lower and more exposed to bench track meets. 

New Mexico will be back on the board Friday at New Mexico State. Nebraska-Omaha plays at Louisville Friday. 

College Football: Estimated “market” Power Ratings in the Power 5 conferences
Every Wednesday we update our estimated “market” Power Ratings for the major conferences. If you’re new to the website or this newsletter, these are a good faith evaluation of what the betting lines are telling us about the full scope of major college football. We use a standard three points for home field advantage to create couplets in each game, then try to arrange those couplets on a master scale. Texas A&M is plus 3 at Ole Miss this week. With HFA at three points, those teams are rated dead even on a neutral field. They get the same Power Rating. 

If you think we’ve misplaced a couplet, please post a comment in the Facebook widget below, drop us a note, or let me know directly on twitter @JeffFogle

Notre Dame is an independent, so we take care of them first before getting to the conferences. We’re dropping the Irish back down to 83 (from last week’s 86) because the market overshot by a good bit making them a three-point favorite in Miami. Navy isn’t a team we’ve been following in this season’s process. We’ll have a better read next week when Notre Dame visits Stanford. And, in their likely bowl matchup with Auburn, Ohio State, Penn State or some other power program that just misses out on an F4 invite. 

Onto the Power 5 conferences…

SEC West: Alabama 91, Auburn 85, LSU 80, Mississippi State 77, Ole Miss 67, Texas A&M 67, Arkansas 62.
SEC East: Georgia 84, Missouri 77, South Carolina 71, Florida 67, Kentucky 67, Vanderbilt 65, Tennessee 62.

Auburn made a nice jump up with their blowout of Georgia. We’ve used some of the advance estimates of future lines for Alabama/Auburn and Alabama/Georgia to pin things down. It’s possible that all the SEC powers are being overrated and we won’t know until they play outsiders in the postseason. That said, those teams in the 77-80 range appear to be closing the season well, and may be worth looking at in bowl games. 

Big 10 East: Ohio State 89, Penn State 86, Michigan 79, Michigan State 76, Indiana 69, Maryland 62, Rutgers 61.
Big 10 West: Wisconsin 84, Iowa 73, Northwestern 71, Purdue 68, Minnesota 67, Nebraska 65, Illinois 57.

Ohio State (and Penn State to a lesser degree) get some “run up the score” inflation when they’re playing conference dregs…more than we see with other powers in other conferences. Ohio State is laying -41 this week vs. Illinois…but we’re not going to put the Buckeyes at 95 or Illinois at 51 (38-point difference after factoring in HFA). Wisconsin opened at -10 vs. Michigan, a line that wasn’t justified by prior pricing. That’s why sharps knocked it down to just above the key number of seven. The Badgers will be a dog of more than a field goal (and possibly a touchdown) to Ohio State barring dramatic surprises between now and then. 

Big 12: Oklahoma 87, Oklahoma State 83, TCU 81, West Virginia 76, Texas 75, Iowa State 75, Texas Tech 71, Kansas State 69 (Ertz injured), Baylor 62, Kansas 47.

Oklahoma is putting some distance between itself and the pack with its post-Iowa State surge. The market’s struggled to pin down West Virginia all season, now putting it in front of Texas based on this week’s line just above a field goal. Some early Big 12 Championship projections are suggesting OU is more like an 88 than an 87. Not quite ready to put OU that high yet. 

ACC Atlantic: Clemson 86, NC State 78, Louisville 77, Wake Forest 76, Florida State 74, Boston College 72, Syracuse 67 (Dungey injured).
ACC Coastal: Miami 83, Virginia Tech 79, Georgia Tech 75, Virginia 67, Pittsburgh 66, Duke 66, North Carolina 62.

We’ll talk about the Playoff Poll (released Tuesday night) in a moment. This is obviously a very important conference now with Clemson and Miami sitting at #2 and #3 in the rankings in advance of their ACC title tilt. Is Miami as good as they looked vs. Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, or as shaky as they looked in the weeks prior? Some nice bowl sleepers in that mix as well. When did Wake Forest become the Texas Tech of Tobacco Road?

Pac 12 North: Washington 84, Washington State 79, Stanford 79, Oregon 68, California 66, Oregon State 62.
Pac 12 South: USC 83, Arizona 79, Utah 75, Arizona State 72, UCLA 70, Colorado 67.

Washington -17.5 vs. Utah this week is way out of line with prior pricing. And it doesn’t make much sense after Washington struggled at Stanford. Utah outgained Washington State last week 367-338 (on 4.8 to 3.9 yards-per-play) but lost because of seven turnovers. The market usually doesn’t react that hard to turnover losses. We’ll go with Washington 84 (down off the loss) and Utah 75…then see what happens in future pricing. 

Let’s move to the new Playoff rankings. Those of you with futures bets are very interested in those…

College Football Playoff Rankings: Powers percolating as Alabama leads a group of risers past sinking Georgia and Notre Dame
The committee had to react forcefully to the embarrassing performances put forth by Georgia and Notre Dame last week. Alabama and Clemson survived fourth-quarter nailbiters to move into the #1 and #2 slots. Should Miami be ahead of Oklahoma? Oddsmakers would very likely make OU the favorite head-to-head. Let’s run the new rankings with our estimated “market” Power Ratings in parenthesis. 

College Playoff Rankings (estimated “market” Power Rating in parenthesis)
1…Alabama (91)
2…Clemson (86)
3…Miami (83)
4…Oklahoma (87)
5…Wisconsin (84)
6…Auburn (85)
7…Georgia (84)
8…Notre Dame (83)
9…Ohio State (89)
10…Penn State (86)

Things are getting more aligned between the poll and the market, which is fairly common as we get deeper into the season. Eventually teams accumulate the resume that the most informed elements in the market were expecting them to achieve. Ohio State and Penn State, “market Final Four” entries, probably don’t have enough time to climb into the brackets even if they get some help. Ohio State would need Alabama to beat both Auburn and Georgia (a “favorite sweep” is a lower percentage likelihood than most realize), would need the loser of Clemson/Miami to be really embarrassed (possible), and might even need Oklahoma to get upset. It goes without saying that OSU has to beat Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game. 

There’s going to be some drama around the #4 spot, especially if vulnerable Miami and Wisconsin lose. Can’t wait to see how it plays out.

That’s it for today. See you Thursday to crunch the numbers for Tennessee Titans/Pittsburgh Steelers…a possible playoff preview in this week’s NFL TV kickoff. That’s also our day to look at estimated “market” Power Ratings in the NBA. 

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