Conference title games present unique opportunity for contrarian betting

In Tuesday's newsletter, we highlighted which games pro bettors were targeting for NFL Week 14. Today, we shift our attention to early smart money coming in on this weekend's conference title games.

One important factor to take into account: We only have one college football game on Friday and nine on Saturday. For the past 14 weeks, we've had 50-plus games from which to choose. As a result, this weekend's games will be extremely heavily bet, not only because they are so popular, but because there are so few games. As a result, each game will be flooded with recreational money, providing heightened contrarian value and more incentive to bet against the public. 

The numbers don't lie. According to Bet Labs Sports, teams getting less than half the tickets in conference championship games have gone 50-36 ATS (58.1%) since 2005. 

Without further ado, let's dive into a handful of matchups receiving early smart money.

For an updated betting breakdown of Wednesday's action (60-plus college basketball games, 10 NBA games and 4 NHL games), be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Friday 8 p.m. ET: Oregon (10-2, ranked 13th) vs. Utah (11-1, ranked 5th)

This Pac-12 Championship is the lone Friday night game and takes place at Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers. Oregon's only losses came to Auburn in the season opener (27-21) and Arizona State (31-28) two weeks ago. Utah has won 8 straight and its only loss came against USC in late September, falling 30-23. If the Utes can beat Oregon, they're still alive for a shot at the four-team playoff. Both teams are averaging almost the same exact points on offense (Oregon 35.83 PPG, Utah 35.58 PPG). Both are stellar on defense, but the edge goes to Utah (11.25 PPG allowed vs 15.75 PPG allowed). 

This line opened with Utah listed as a 6-point favorite. Two-thirds of bets are laying the points with Utah, which has pushed the line up to 6.5. When two ranked teams go head-to-head, the favorite has gone 21-17 ATS (55%) this season and 55% ATS since 2005. Utah is 9-3 ATS on the season while the Ducks are 6-6 ATS. Sharps have gotten down hard on the under. It opened at 51 and has been bet down to 47.5. The forecast calls for 15 MPH winds and possibly some rain. When the wind blows 10 MPH or more and the total falls the under is 56% since 2005. Both teams are profitable to the under this season (Utah 7-3-2, Oregon 7-5). 

Saturday Noon ET: Baylor (11-1, ranked 7th) vs. Oklahoma (11-1, ranked 6th) 

The Big 12 Championship takes place at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Both of these teams sit at 11-1 and, with a win, could leapfrog into the four-team playoff. Baylor's only loss of the year came to Oklahoma 34-31 on Nov. 16 (although the Bears did cover as 10.5-point dogs). Baylor is looking for revenge after blowing a huge 28-3 lead to the Sooners in that game. The Bears are averaging 36.17 PPG on offense and allowing 18.42 PPG on defense. Oklahoma's only loss this season came to Kansas State 48-41 on Oct. 26 as a 23.5-point dog. Oklahoma is averaging 44.33 PPG on offense and allowing 24.67 PPG on defense. Baylor is 8-4 ATS on the year while Oklahoma is 5-7 ATS.

This line opened with Oklahoma listed as a 10-point favorite. Pros and Joes both believe the line is too high and nearly 70% of bets are grabbing the points with Baylor, which has dropped the line down to 9 or even 8.5 at some shops. We've also seen sharp money hit the over, driving the total up from 62 to 64. Both teams are 6-6 to the over this season. 

Saturday 8 p.m. ET: Wisconsin (10-2, ranked 8th) vs. Ohio State (12-0, ranked 1st)

The Big Ten Championship takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. It also kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, which means it will be incredibly heavily bet. Wisconsin is coming off a 38-17 victory over Minnesota as a 3.5-point favorite. The Badgers have only lost two games this season and they came in consecutive weeks in late October (24-23 to Illinois and 38-7 to Ohio State). Wisconsin is 7-5 ATS on the season, averaging 35.75 PPG on offense and allowing 14.58 PPG on defense. Ohio State enters the Big Ten title game undefeated, ranked 1st in the nation. The Buckeyes are 9-3 ATS and most recently waxed Michigan 56-27 as 9-point favorites. Ohio State is averaging 49.92 PPG on offense and allowing 11.83 PPG on defense.

This line opened with Ohio State listed as a 16.5-point favorite. The public is loading up on the Buckeyes once again. However, despite eight-out-of-10 bets laying the points, the line has remained frozen at 16.5 and even dipped to 16 at some shops, signaling sharp liability on the Badgers plus the points. Pros and Joes have also crushed the over, pushing the total up from 53.5 to 56. The over is 7-5 in Ohio State games and 6-6 in Wisconsin games. 

More sharp action

Virginia-Clemson over 53 to 55.5

Hawaii plus 14.5 to plus 13.5 vs Boise State

Appalachian State -6 to -6.5 vs UL Lafayette

Georgia-LSU Under 55.5 to 54.5

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