In Tuesday's newsletter we highlighted early sharp action for NFL Week 15. Today we turn our attention to this weekend's Army-Navy game along with the first two Bowl Games on the schedule: Buffalo-Charlotte and Kent State-Utah State (both on Friday, Dec. 20).
There are 40 Bowl Games on the docket over the next month and we will preview them all in this space. One key factor to remember through it all: Bowl games are an excellent time to go contrarian. First off, the games are posted for weeks, which allows extra time for bets to build and build. As a result, all of these games receive massive ticket counts and are flooded with recreational money that sharps can take advantage of. Many bettors may not place a wager all season long but will get down on these games just to join in on the fun during the Holiday season. Simply put, this is the best time of year to bet against the public because there is so much public to bet against.
The oddsmakers set the lines with public bias in mind and then, early on, allow the sharps to get down at low limits and help them shape the line. By monitoring early movement, we can pinpoint where the smart money is going. However, since limits won't be raised until gameday, it's important to take these early moves with a grain of salt. Gameday movement is the most important but that's when the whales really come in hard.
You can monitor Bowl Game line movement all month long using our free VSiN live odds page.
Wednesday's betting slate features 11 NBA games, 3 NHL games and 21 College Basketball games. For an updated betting breakdown of Wedneday's action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Now let's take a look at sharp action for Army-Navy and the first two Bowl Games on the schedule.
Saturday at 3 p.m. ET: Army (5-7) vs Navy (9-2, ranked 23)
In one of the oldest traditions in sports, Army and Navy meet for the 120th time with the winner taking home the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy. Army will be playing for pride while Navy is scheduled to play Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31. Army had an up-and-down season, starting 3-1, then dropping five straight before going 2-1 in their final three games. The Black Knights are 5-7 ATS, averaging 30.25 PPG on offense and giving up 22.33 PPG on defense. Navy has had a stellar year, going 8-3 ATS and averaging 39.27 PPG on offense and giving up 24.18 PPG on defense.
This line opened with Navy listed as a 10.5-point favorite. Tickets are even and the line has bounced between 10 and 11 at times before settling back at 10.5. The under has taken in heavy smart money. It opened at 43 and has fallen to 40. When two military academies go head-to-head, the under has gone 34-9 (79.1%) since 2005 according to Bet Labs Sports. This is due to both teams running the ball almost every play and chewing up the clock.
Here are the last five Army-Navy results
2018: Army 17-10
2017: Army 14-13
2016: Army 21-17
2015: Navy 21-17
2014: Navy 17-10
The forecast also calls for 10-13 MPH winds and possibly some rain. The under is 99-87 (53%) this season when the wind blows 10 MPH or more and 54% since 2005. This game will be played at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Friday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. ET: Buffalo (7-5) vs Charlotte (7-5)
The Bahamas Bowl features a pair of 7-5 teams looking for their first ever bowl win. Buffalo hails from the MAC. The Bulls started the season 2-4, but then went 5-1 the rest of the way, including a two game winning streak to end the season. Charlotte hails from Conference USA. The 49ers also struggled early in the season, starting 2-5 before finishing the regular season with five straight wins. Both teams average almost the same PPG on offense (Buffalo 31.5, Charlotte 31.6). The difference comes on defense where the Bulls allow 22.3 PPG and the 49ers allow 32.5 PPG. Buffalo is 7-5 ATS on the year and Charlotte is 6-6 ATS. Buffalo opened as a 5-point favorite. Early sharp action has pummeled the Bulls, pushing the line up to -6.5. We've also seen smart money push the total up from 57 to 58. Both teams are 8-4 to the over this season.
Friday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET: Kent State (6-6) vs Utah State (7-5)
The Frisco Bowl takes place in primetime and pits a MAC foe against a Mountain West competitor. Kent State entered the stretch run with a 3-6 record before winning their final three games to become bowl eligible. The Golden Flashes upset Buffalo 30-27 as 6-point dogs, beat Ball State 41-38 as 3-point dogs and took down Eastern Michigan 34-26 as 3.5-point dogs. Kent is 8-4 ATS, averaging 27.42 PPG on offense and giving up 31.08 PPG on defense. Utah State had an up and down season. The Aggies started 3-1, then went 1-3, then rebounded late to go 3-1 in their last four games. Utah State finished the year with a 38-25 win over New Mexico as 12-point favorites. The Aggies are 7-5 ATS, averaging 28.25 PPG on offense and giving up 29 PPG on defense.
Utah State opened as 9-point favorite. Sharp action has come down on Kent State, dropping the line down to 7.5. Some books are even posting 7. The total has dipped slightly from 66 to 65. Utah State is 7-5 to the under this season and Kent State is 6-6. Utah State junior quarterback Jordan Love recently announced that he is entering the 2020 NFL Draft. He will play in this game.