Burke: Analyzing today's game day line moves

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

December 30, 2021 10:08 AM

The betting board has moved on every one of the favorites for Thursday’s college football slate. Favorites have been getting to the window at a good clip recently, after dogs had some success early on in the bowl season. There is a perception out there that the early bowl games are subject to a lot more variance with a lot of mediocre (or, frankly, bad) teams from the lesser conferences. As you get deeper into bowl season and get better teams, things become more predictable.

That may be some of the driving force behind these moves. COVID may also be another. You also have four favorites that seem to be worth backing today, at least on the surface. North Carolina had a better record and clearly has a huge edge at the QB position. Tennessee is virtually playing a home game and takes on a Purdue team that, aside from two outlier performances against Iowa and Michigan State, was quite pedestrian.

You’ve got a Michigan State team facing Pitt without its most important player in QB Kenny Pickett. Lastly, you’ve got Wisconsin, seemingly free from the earlier COVID concerns, against an Arizona State team whose best offensive player opted out a few weeks ago.

I don’t think there is a lot of sharp money driving these moves. This looks to be public piggybacking on favorites going against three underdogs with bad news and another in Purdue that just doesn’t have a great statistical profile.

At this point, sharp money appears to be only reacting on news, and, more specifically, COVID news. The influential bettors with strong positions have mostly taken them and extracted the line value long before today. I guess what I’m saying is that if you have strong convictions about what appears to be an unattractive underdog, patience is a virtue throughout the rest of the bowl season.

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