Alabama rewarded chalk bettors in last night's National Championship game, crushing Ohio State 52-24 and easily covering as 9.5-point favorites. From start to finish, the line movement was always in favor of the Crimson Tide. Alabama opened -7 and got bet up to -8.5 early in the week. But then on gameday leading up to kick-off we saw the line spike to Alabama -9.5. This continued support proved meaningful as it indicated respected money doubling-down on the Tide as limits were raised.
The total landed on 76, giving public over backers a win. Many books opened at 76 and closed at 75, signaling once again how spot-on oddsmakers are. The over is now 6-0 in the last six National Championship games.
Now we move on to Tuesday, where we have a loaded betting menu filled with 20-plus college basketball games and 7 NBA games. For an updated breakdown of Tuesday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at noon ET. I'll also be co-hosting Betting Across America with Mike Pritchard from 3-5 p.m. ET.
In the meantime, let's discuss where early sharp money is flowing for a pair of NFL Divisional Round playoff games this weekend...
Saturday 8:15 p.m. ET: Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
This primetime showdown between AFC heavyweights is the marquee game on Saturday's two-game slate. The 5-seed Ravens (12-5 SU, 11-5-1 ATS) have won six-straight and just took down the Titans 20-13 in the Wild Card round, covering as 3.5-point road favorites. Now they travel to Western New York to face the 2-seed Bills (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS). Buffalo has won seven straight, including a 27-24 win over the Colts in last week's playoff opener, although the Bills failed to cover as 7-point home favorites. This line opened with Buffalo listed as a 3-point home favorite. The public is split and doesn't know whether to take the points or lay them. Despite this split ticket count, we've seen the Ravens move from + 3 to + 2. Some shops are even down to + 1.5. This sharp line move signals respected pro money getting down hard on Baltimore plus the points. Pros really loved Baltimore + 3 as soon as the line opened. Over the past decade, playoff teams with a line move of 1-point or more in their favor have gone 58% ATS. Playoff dogs are 64% ATS since 2017. Lamar Jackson is 5-1 ATS in his career as a dog. The total has risen slightly from 49 to 50. The Ravens are 10-7 to the under this season but the Bills are 12-4-1 to the over. Keep an eye on the weather. The early forecast calls for low 30s with 10 MPHS winds. The Bills enjoy a 1-day rest advantage, having played last Saturday while the Ravens played on Sunday.
Sunday 6:40 p.m. ET: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Bettors are in for a treat with this marquee Sunday showdown between divisional rivals and future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. The 5-seed Bucs (12-5 SU, 9-8 ATS) have won five-straight and just beat Washington 31-23 on Wild Card Weekend, although they failed to cover as 10-point road favorites. The 2-seed Saints (13-4 SU, 10-6-1 ATS) have won three straight, including a 21-9 victory over the Bears in last week's playoff opener, covering as 11-point home favorites. This line opened with New Orleans listed as a 3.5-point home favorite. Some shops opened closer to -4. Pros immediately pounced on Tom Brady and the Bucs getting the hook (+ 3.5), forcing oddsmakers to drop this line down to the key number of 3. The next move is critical. If you see this rise back to 3.5, it will likely indicate buyback on the Saints -3. If you see it stay the same or even creep down to 2.5, that will signal continued support for the Bucs. The Saints went 2-0 against the Bucs this season, winning 34-23 in Week 1 and 38-3 in Week 9. Divisional round dogs are roughly 59% ATS over the past decade. We've also seen pros hit this over, pushing the total up from 50 to 52. Playoff dome overs are roughly 65% over the past decade. Both teams are 10-7 to the over this season. Tampa is expected to get star linebacker Devin White back from the COVID list. The Bucs enjoy a 1-day rest advantage, having played last Saturday while the Saints played on Sunday.