Burke: Monitoring the morning CFB markets

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

November 20, 2021 10:12 AM

My favorite analogy I like to draw is that the betting board lights up like the Griswold house on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on Saturday mornings. Hopefully you get that nice bonus check instead of a “Jelly of the Month Club” membership today.

With CBB heavily factoring into the action today with our second big hoops Saturday of the season, risk managers and bookmakers are extremely busy today. Maybe that will lead to some mispricings. Scan the card thoroughly to find the most valuable bets on the board, as there should be some.

Let’s look at a few CFB line moves and determine the nature of the action.

Oregon at Utah (-3.5, 58.5)

You notice that some 3.5s have started to pop on Utah in this huge Pac-12 clash with Oregon. A lot of bettors have been questioning Oregon’s resume this season. I’ve been one of them, though I do feel like I hold the Ducks in slightly higher regard than some.

Anyway, this line has hit 3.5 in quite a few places, even though the highly-ranked Ducks have taken more bets and more money per a lot of the betting splits sources out there. It takes a lot to move a line off a key number and that is especially true of a game with a lot of love for the dog. It does look like this game has some sharp vs. public elements to it.

I’m not saying that the Utes are the right side or the wrong side, just that the influential money is going Utah’s way.


Old Dominion at Middle Tennessee (-3, 49)

We’re starting to see -3 pop on MTSU in this game, as Old Dominion has taken some sharp investment periodically throughout the week. A lot of bettors have followed the Blue Raiders closely this season because of injuries at the QB position. ODU has actually looked pretty good of late.

There are some books still showing the early-week opener of 4 and others down to 3.5 and 3. Keep in mind that books move based on their own exposure and a lot of other books copy that move so they aren’t off-market. In this case, with a game that the average bettor won’t touch, you can see some books that have taken respected money and others that haven’t.

I don’t want to promote any specific book here, especially those in faraway places, but if you ask around, there are some books that are better indicators of sharp money than others and those are good guides for determining how a game is being bet by that respected money. Based on what I’m seeing, there is some clear sharp interest in the Monarchs.


USF at Tulane (-5.5, 60)

Sharp action is interesting, but it is also interesting to see when a line reaches a stopping point. It should be a cue to recreational and novice bettors that a line doesn’t have a lot of value left. This game is a prime example.

Tulane opened -3.5 and gradually got bet up to -4 and then -4.5 and then -5 and stopped at -5.5. Some groups with influence did like the Green Wave, but don’t seem to want to push the line to 6. Or, the other angle is that the books don’t want to go to 6 to avoid buyback on the other side and middle opportunities, albeit small ones if the game lands 4 or 5.

The art of bookmaking is dying in a lot of ways with automation, consolidation and copycatting, but there are some games that wind up as interesting case studies and I find this to be one of them.

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