The Falcons (+ 1.5) rewarded wiseguys on Thursday Night Football, beating the Panthers 25-17 and cashing + 105 on the moneyline. Atlanta was a blueprint example of a data-driven sharp play. The Falcons were contrarian in a heavily bet game and received big reverse line movement + 3 to + 1.5. Even though the public was all over the Panthers, the line fell toward Atlanta. Why would sportsbooks drop the line and make it easier for Average Joes to cash when they were already on Carolina to begin with? Because they took in big smart money on the Falcons, forcing them to adjust the line in their favor.
The Falcons also cashed as a divisional dog. Historically, divisional dogs have performed much better than non-divisional dogs due to the built in familiarity benefiting the team getting points. Atlanta also cashed several highly profitable systems this season. Short road dogs + 6 or less are now 28-12 ATS (70%) this season. Road teams with line movement in their favor (aka the "road covid system") are now 34-18 ATS (65%). Primetime dogs are now 16-7 ATS (70%).
The under also cashed for contrarians. The total opened at 51, got bet down to 49 and then closed at 52 thanks to some late over action. But the under cashed comfortably, landing on 42. Primetime unders are now 16-7 (70%) this season.
Now it's on to Friday. Today, we have three college football games. 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 noon ET. I'll also be joining Michael Lombardi and Brady Kannon on The Lombardi Line at 12:25 p.m ET to offer a market update.
For now, let's discuss how lines are moving for tonight's college football games.
7:30 p.m. ET: Minnesota (0-1) at Maryland (0-1)
Both of these Big Ten foes are coming off blowout losses in their season openers. Minnesota got crushed by powerhouse Michigan 49-24, failing to cover as 3-point dogs. Maryland got absolutely demolished by Northwestern 43-3, failing to cover as 13-point dogs. This line opened with Minnesota listed as a 20.5-point road favorite. The public isn't scared off by the big spread and is happy to fade a Terps team who just lost by 40-points. However, despite a majority of bets laying the points, we've seen this line fall from Minnesota -20.5 to -19.5. This signals some sharp reverse line movement with pros grabbing the points with Maryland. Pros and Joes seem to be united on the over. We've seen this total rise from 59 to 61.
9 p.m. ET: East Carolina (1-3) at Tulsa (2-1)
On paper, this American Conference showdown looks like a layup with the home team. East Carolina has lost three of their four games, most recently falling to Navy 27-23, failing to cover as 3.5-point dogs. On the other hand, Tulsa has won two straight and just crushed South Florida 42-13, easily covering as 12-point favorites. The public also remembers Tulsa hanging tough against Oklahoma State in the opener, losing 16-7 but covering as 24-point dogs. This line opened with Tulsa listed as an 18-point home favorite. The public is laying the points, but we've seen the line drop to 17. This signals some respected money hitting ECU and the points. ECU has value as a contrarian double-digit conference road dog with a line move in their favor.
9:45 p.m. ET: Hawaii (1-0) at Wyoming (0-1)
This late night Mountain West matchup features the sharpest line move of Friday's tripleheader slate. Hawaii (1-0) is coming off a 34-19 win over Fresno State, winning outright as a 3-point dog. Conversely, Wyoming lost their season opener in a shootout 37-34 to Nevada, losing outright as 3-point favorites. This line opened with Hawaii listed as a 1.5-point road favorite. Tickets are split, yet we've seen this line flip toward Wyoming, pushing the Cowboys from a 1.5-point dog to a 1-point favorite. Wyoming has value as a buy low, sell high dog-to-favorite play. Pros might prefer betting the moneyline in this one, with Wyoming roughly -115.