Thursday was a big night for contrarians and sportsbooks as unpopular MLB postseason dogs went 2-0. In the early game, the Astros (+ 120) upset the Rays 4-3 to cut Tampa's series lead to 3-2 and force a Game 6. Houston received some sharp action in the form of a line freeze. The public was all over Tampa, yet the line never budged off Rays -135, indicating liability on the Astros. In the late game, the Braves (+ 190) pulled off a massive upset and beat Kershaw and the Dodgers 10-2 to take a 3-1 series lead. The Astros and Braves both won despite only receiving about one-third of bets.
Here are the updated World Series odds at BetMGM
Braves + 125
Rays + 165
Dodgers + 475
Astros + 800
Now it's on to Friday. Today, we have two college football games and a pair of big MLB playoff 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 Patrick Meagher 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 two college football games.
6 p.m. ET: SMU (4-0, ranked 17th) at Tulane (2-2)
This early Friday night showdown features a pair of American Conference rivals. SMU enters with an undefeated record, averaging 44 PPG on offense while allowing 23.3 PPG on defense. Meanwhile, Tulane has rotated wins and losses this season, most recently falling to Houston 49-31, failing to cover as 6.5-point road dogs. Tulane is averaging 37 PPG on offense and giving up 31 PPG on defense. This line opened with SMU listed as a 7-point road favorite. The public is more than happy to lay the points. However, despite two-thirds of bets backing SMU, we've seen this line fall to 6.5. This signals sharp reverse line movement on the home dog. Tulane has value as an unranked conference dog against a ranked opponent. The Green Wave are also a buy-low, sell-high play as a bad ATS team (1-3 ATS) against a good ATS team (3-1 ATS). We've also seen a ton of sharp action hit this under, dropping the total from 69 to 64.5. A big reason for this plummeting line is the weather. The forecast calls for 15 MPH winds at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans. Tulane is 3-1 to the over this season. SMU is 3-1 to the under.
9:30 p.m. ET: BYU (4-0, ranked 14th) at Houston (1-0)
BYU has looked dominant through four games, going 4-0 straight up and 3-1 ATS. The Cougars are ranked 14th and have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 44-11. On the flip side, Houston's season was delayed due to positive COVID tests. They finally made their debut last week, coming from behind to beat Tulane 49-31 and cover as 6.5-point favorites. This line opened with BYU listed as a short road favorite, anywhere from -3 to -4.5. The public sees a ranked undefeated team against an unranked team and that's all they need to know. Lay the points. With roughly two-thirds of bets backing BYU, the line ticked up to -5. That's when we saw sharp buyback show up on Houston + 5. Houston has value as a contrarian dog with an inflated line in a primetime, heavily bet game. The total is also taking in some under smart money. It opened at 63 and has fallen to 62.5 despite the public seeing two high scoring offenses and hammering the over. The under is 3-1 in BYU games this season. Houston's lone game this season went over.
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