Market Insights: Looking for value in Potato Bowl

January 3, 2020 12:11 AM

Bowl game dogs/favorites went 1-1 ATS on Thursday. In the afternoon game, Cincinnati steamrolled Boston College 38-6, easily covering as a 7.5-point favorite. Sportsbooks took a bath as more than two-thirds of bets laid the points with the Bearcats. In the nightcap, Tennessee edged Indiana 23-22, but failed to cover as a 3.5-point favorite. Indiana cashed big for contrarian bettors and value-minded sharps. The Hoosiers only received one-third of bets and featured an inflated line (pick'em to 3.5) in a heavily bet game.

Both unders hit as well. The Cincinnati-Boston College under in particular was a big hit for wiseguys who were able to take advantage of the poor weather. The game featured rain and 10 MPH winds. The total opened at 55, closed at 54 and landed on 44.

Despite the 2-0 under sweep, bowl game overs still lead overall 19-17-1. 

Today, we have a shorter slate featuring one bowl game, 6 NBA games, 2 NHL games and 17 College Basketball games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Until then, let's discuss where sharp money is leaning for today's only bowl game. 

3:30 p.m. ET: Ohio (6-6) vs Nevada (7-5)


The Potato Bowl takes place on the blue turf of Albertsons Stadium, home of the Boise State Broncos. Ohio started the season 1-3, but then went 5-3 the rest of the way. The Bobcats won their final two regular-season games to become bowl eligible. Ohio wasn't a profitable pick for bettors, going just 4-8 ATS. The Bobcats finished 2nd in the MAC East, averaging 34.67 PPG on offense and giving up 27 PPG on defense. 

Nevada started the season 4-4, but turned it on down the stretch, going 3-1 in their final four games. Nevada fell to UNLV 33-30 in overtime in the regular-season finale, failing to cover as a 7-point favorite. The biggest story from that game was the fight that broke out at the tail end. Three defensive starters for Nevada are suspended for this bowl as a result of the melee: DBs Austin Arnold and Daniel Brown and DT Hausia Sekona. Another defensive starter, LB Gabriel Sewell, has been suspended for the first half. Overall, Nevada finished 3rd in the Mountain West East, going 5-6-1 ATS while averaging 21.33 PPG on offense and giving up 32.08 PPG on defense.

This line opened with Ohio listed as a 6.5-point favorite. The public is all over Ohio with three-out-of-four bets laying the points. This heavy public support, along with early sharp action, has pushed the line up to 7.5 or even 8 at some shops. Nevada has value as a contrarian dog with an inflated line in the only game of the day, which means it will be very heavily bet. However, Ohio has a big experience advantage here, playing in its 5th straight bowl and 9th since 2010. The Bobcats feature a prolific scoring offense, led by senior QB Nathan Rourke, who ranks 1st overall in franchise passer rating. The coaching matchup also favors Ohio. Frank Solich has been the head coach since 2005 while Nevada just fired its defensive coordinator and will have interim staff call defensive plays.

Pros and Joes are also pounding the over, pushing the total up from 57.5 to 59.5. The over is 7-5 in Ohio games and 6-6 in Nevada games. The weather looks perfect in Boise as the forecast calls for partly cloudy, mid-40s and 5-8 MPH winds.

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