Wiseguys feasted on Thursday night as the Colts (-1) took care of business and crushed the Titans 34-17. Indianapolis was a blueprint example of a sharp, contrarian play. The Colts opened as a 2.5-point underdog and moved to a 1-point favorite despite roughly two-thirds of bets backing the Titans at home. Anytime the line moves away from the popular side and toward the unpopular side, it's referred to as reverse line movement. This is one of the best and easiest indicators of smart money. In other words, if the public was all over Tennessee, then why did the line move so drastically to Indianapolis? Because the sportsbooks took in a wave of sharp money from professional bettors on the Colts.
With the Colts covering the spread, road teams in the NFL improve to 71-61-2 ATS (54%). This speaks to the lack of home field advantage with limited or no fans in the stands. Road teams with a line move in their favor (aka the Covid road system) are even better: now 44-26 ATS (63%). Last night's over (49) also cashed. Overs are now 72-58-4 (55%) on the season.
Now it's on to Friday. Today we have three college football games to get down on. For an updated breakdown of Friday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 12 p.m. ET. I'll also be joining Patrick Meagher and Michael Lombardi on The Lombardi Line at 12:30 p.m ET to offer a market update.
For now, let's discuss how lines are moving for two of tonight's biggest college football games.
7 p.m. ET: Florida Atlantic (3-1) at Florida International (0-3)
This Conference USA showdown features two teams at opposite ends of the spectrum. Florida Atlantic is riding a two-game winning streak, most recently beating Western Kentucky 10-6 but failing to cover as 7-point favorites. Meanwhile, Florida International is winless on the season and hasn't played since October 23rd because their past two games were postponed due to COVID. This line opened with FAU listed as an 8-point road favorite. Pros and Joes are both hammering FAU, pushing the favorite up from -8 to -9.5. We've also seen heavy smart money hit this under, dropping the total from 43 to 41. One reason to like this under: FAU is 4-0 to the under, averaging 16 PPG on offense and giving up only 11.5 PPG on defense.
7 p.m. ET: Iowa (1-2) at Minnesota (1-2)
Both of these Big Ten rivals are below .500 but coming off huge blowout victories. Iowa just crushed Michigan State 49-7, easily covering as 5.5-point home favorites. Similarly, Minnesota just throttled Illinois 41-14, easily covering as 8-point road favorites. This line opened with Iowa listed as a 3.5-point road favorite. A slight majority of public bettors are laying the points with Iowa. However, we've seen this line remain frozen at 3.5 or even briefly dip down to 3. This signals some liability on Minnesota as a contrarian home conference dog. We've also seen some sharp money hit the over, driving the total up from 56 to 58.