Happy New Year! Who's ready to ring in 2020 with four New Year's Day Bowl Games? Before we discuss where the sharp money is flowing for today's big games, let's take a quick minute to recap how the New Year's Eve games turned out.
Favorites went 3-2 yesterday, with Wyoming (-7) crushing Georgia State 38-7, Navy (-2.5) edging Kansas State 20-17 and Arizona State (-3) beating Florida State 20-14).
Two dogs won outright as Kentucky (plus 2.5) upset Virginia Tech 37-30 and Texas (plus 7) crushed Utah 38-10. The Longhorns came up huge for contrarian bettors in the most heavily bet game of the night. Only about one-third of bets took Texas plus the points, providing a big profit for the sportsbooks.
Unders went 3-2 yesterday. Overs still lead overall this Bowl Game season at 17-13-1. Favorites also lead at 16-14-1 ATS.
The VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum will be off today. We'll be back at it on Thursday.
Now let's get to the New Year's Day games.
1 p.m. ET: Michigan (9-3, ranked 14) vs Alabama (10-2, ranked 13)
The VRBO Citrus Bowl takes place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The recency biased public is down on Michigan, who got crushed by Ohio State 56-27 as 9-point dogs their last time out. The Wolverines' only other losses came to Wisconsin (35-14) and Penn State (28-21). Michigan went 7-5 ATS on the season, averaging 33 PPG on offense and giving up 19.5 PPG on defense. Alabama is unfamiliar territory having not made the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide are coming off a 48-45 loss to Auburn as 3.5-point favorites. Alabama went 6-6 ATS, averaging 48.25 PPG on offense and giving up 18.83 PPG on defense.
This line opened with Alabama listed as a 7-point favorite. More than eight-out-of-10 bets are laying the points, making Alabama the biggest public play of the Bowl Game season. However, despite this massively lopsided support the line has barely budged. It has ticked up slightly to 7.5 but the juice is leaning to Michigan, signaling a possible fall back down to 7. Overall, we are looking at a sharp line freeze on the Wolverines. Normally a team getting such heavy support would go to -8 or -9. The fact that it hasn't gone that far signals liability on the dog. Michigan is your top contrarian bet of the Bowl Season. When two ranked teams go head-to-head in a Bowl Game the dog has gone 70-60 ATS (54%) since 2005. The total has ticked up from 57.5 to 58.5, signaling some over sharp money. Both teams are profitable to the over this season, with Michigan 8-4 and Alabama 7-5.
1 p.m. ET: Minnesota (10-2, ranked 18) vs Auburn (9-3, ranked 12)
The Outback Bowl takes place at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Minnesota started the season a perfect 9-0 but stumbled down the stretch, losing two of their final three games including a 38-17 loss to Wisconsin as 3.5-point dogs. The Gophers went 6-4-2 ATS on the season, averaging 34.33 PPG on offense and allowing 22.42 PPG on defense. Auburn finished the regular season on a high note, beating Auburn 48-45 as 3.5-point dogs. The Tigers' only losses came to Georgia (21-14), LSU (23-20) and Florida (24-13). Auburn went 9-3 ATS, averaging 34 PPG on offense and allowing 18.58 PPG on defense.
This line opened with Auburn listed as a 7.5-point favorite. Despite three-out-of-four bets laying the points the line has fallen down to 7, signaling sharp reverse line movement on the dog. Minnesota has contrarian value in a heavily bet game and also offers a great buy low, sell high opportunity for brave contrarians, as they are coming off a blowout loss to Wisconsin while Auburn is coming off the big win over Alabama. Sharp money has also come in on the over, driving the total up from 51.5 to 53.5. Minnesota is 8-4 to the over this season while Auburn is 7-4-1 to the under.
5 p.m. ET: Wisconsin (10-3, ranked 8) vs Oregon (11-2, ranked 6)
The Rose Bowl takes place in Pasadena. Wisconsin fell to Ohio State 34-21 in the Big Ten Championship, but covered the spread as 16.5-point underdogs. The Badgers' only other two losses came to Illinois (24-23) and Ohio State earlier in the season (38-7). Wisconsin went 8-5 ATS on the season, averaging 34.62 PPG on offense and giving up 16.08 PPG on defense. Oregon is coming off an impressive 37-15 win over Utah in the Pac 12 championship. The Ducks' only two losses came to Auburn (27-21 in the season opener) and Arizona State (31-28). Oregon went 7-6 ATS, averaging 35.92 PPG on offense and giving up 15.69 PPG on defense.
This line opened with Wisconsin listed as a 3-point favorite. The public is relatively split but leaning slightly toward the Ducks. Pros also appear to be on Oregon at 3 as the Ducks are being juiced up and trending down to 2.5. Pro money has also come in on the over, which has pushed the total up from 50.5 to 51.5. Both teams were 7-6 to the under this season. The forecast calls for a beautiful day and perfect football weather: mid 60s with only 5 MPH winds.
8:45 p.m. ET: Baylor (11-2, ranked 7th) vs Georgia (11-2, ranked 5th)
The All State Sugar Bowl takes place at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints. Since it's the primetime game of the night it will be the most heavily bet play of the day by far. Baylor's only two losses on the season both came to Oklahoma, falling 34-31 and then 30-23 in the Big 12 Title game. The Bears went 9-4 ATS on the season, averaging 35.15 PPG on offense and giving up 19.31 PPG on defense. Georgia got crushed by LSU in the SEC Championship game 37-10. The Bulldogs' only other loss came to South Carolina 20-17. Georgia went 7-6 ATS, averaging 31.15 PPG on offense and giving up only 12.46 PPG on defense.
This line opened with Georgia listed as an 8-point favorite. Sharp money has absolutely pummeled Baylor. The Bears are only getting roughly one-third of bets but have fallen all the way from plus 8 to plus 4.5. We've also seen smart money crush the under, dropping it from 42.5 to 41.5. Both teams are profitable to the under as Georgia went 10-3 to the under and Baylor 7-6. Georgia will be without top offensive lineman Andrew Thomas, who is sitting the game out after declaring for the NFL Draft.