Meyer's suspension doesn't roil betting markets

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

August 22, 2018 11:26 PM

Urban Meyer suspended three games at Ohio State. Plus, “Market Watch” notes in college and pro football…results from pennant race baseball…Thanksgiving in Vegas for Tiger and Phil…and R.I.P. to RPI! It’s always busy in VSiN City.

College Football: Ohio State suspends Urban Meyer for first three games (plus “Market Watch” for Saturday’s season openers)

After meeting all day Wednesday, Ohio State authorities announced they were suspending Urban Meyer three games for his role in the handling of domestic abuse allegations that had been made against former assistant coach Zach Smith. Athletic Director Gene Smith was suspended without pay from Aug. 31 through Sept. 16. 

Meyer will miss…

Sept. 1: vs. Oregon State

Sept. 8: vs. Rutgers

Sept. 15: vs. TCU in Arlington TX

Reports say Meyer will be allow to lead practices with the team after the Oregon State game. The Buckeyes are prohibitive favorites in the first two. That third game has a chance to be a tester. TCU is projected to be bowl caliber in 2018, but only returns three starters on offense, six on defense according to the Athlon summer publication. Meyer will be back on the sidelines for a Sept. 22 tune up vs. Tulane, then what could be the biggest game of the regular season Sept. 29 at Penn State. 

Some reactions in the marketplace. Ohio State's Regular-Season Win Total went from 10.5 (Over -120) to 10.5 (Under -120) at the Westgate. Chris Andrews of the South Point told Patrick Everson of that he lowered his “Game of the Year” advance line from Ohio State -12 over TCU to -10. For now, the suspension isn’t likely to impact Ohio State’s chances to win the Big Ten or the National Championship. 

Most of college football begins its season a week from Saturday. But there are two games on the main board this week because of schedule allowances given to Hawaii and offered to teams that have to visit Hawaii during the season. Here’s how sharps have been betting these games. 

Wyoming at New Mexico State (10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. in Las Vegas; on ESPN2) 

Note the time change. Early printed schedules were showing a mid-afternoon start. This was moved to prime time in Western time zones for an ESPN2 national telecast. 

First lines up saw Wyoming laying around 5 points at an Over/Under of 48 to 48.5. Smart money has been hitting the home underdog and the Under. Big move on the total down to 45. Wyoming returns a great defense, but must replace quarterback Josh Allen. That was enough to bring the team side line down to Wyoming -4 or -3.5 depending on where you shop. 

This will probably not be a heavily bet game from the public Saturday. So, any moves you see between now and kickoff will likely be related to new information learned by the most important market influences.  

Hawaii at Colorado State (7:30 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. in Las Vegas; on CBS Sports Network) 

Market’s been hanging around CSU -14 and 56.5 since the open. You can deduce sharps didn’t like the favorite or they would have bet the Rams off the key number. Both teams will be using new starting quarterbacks. In-game, might be worth thinking about CSU in the second half. Teams usually aren’t in game shape in season openers. Hawaii is a “sea level” team opening at altitude…with hardly any returning starters from a poor defense. 

NFL Thursday: Browns back to -3.5 vs. Eagles; Cowboys to rest Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott

Some minor tweaks here and there from our rundown of yesterday. But a MAJOR MOVE in the final game on the schedule. We’ll get to that in the moment. First, one nationally televised Thursday evening feature to update…

Philadelphia at Cleveland (8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. in Las Vegas; on FOX) 

We’ve talked about this one a few times this week. After the market had settled on Cleveland -3.5 when it was thought Nick Foles might miss the dress rehearsal…it moved quickly to Cleveland -3 when Foles was cleared. As of our publication deadlines, the line is back up to Cleveland -3.5. 

Be sure you monitor this one throughout the day. (Just $3.99 per month for access to livestreaming of all our programs direct from Las Vegas.). It’s clear that some important money likes the Browns to play hard for longer than the Eagles. Might also be connected to this QB rotation:

Eagles: recovering Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld, and Joe Callahan

Browns: Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, Drew Stanton

Cleveland’s been conservative with Taylor, asking him to run an offense more based around running back Carlos Hyde. Mayfield and Stanton (plus home field) garner the edge over Sudfeld and Callahan in the minds of many sharps. 

That said, Cleveland’s quarterback war didn’t get it a home win over Buffalo last week. That’s why the Eagles take money at plus 3.5. 

The rest of the weekend…


NY Giants vs. NY Jets -2.5/41 (Westgate has -3) (neutral site)

Denver at Washington -3/43.5

New England at Carolina now -1/45 (total down from 46)

Detroit at Tampa Bay -3/45 (on CBS)

Seattle at Minnesota -3.5/39.5

Green Bay at Oakland -6.5/41 (down from -7) (on the NFL Network)

Some offshore sites were lifting the Jets’ vigorish. Westgate was the only store to test Jets -3 as of Wednesday evening. We were wondering if Oakland could stay at that high -7 all week. Sentiment now for the big dog with productive backup quarterbacks (so far anyway). Let’s see if chalk money hits the Raiders below the key number of seven. 


Kansas City at Chicago -2.5/46.5 (moved from -2/47.5) (on the NFL Network)

Tennessee at Pittsburgh -4/45 (on the NFL Network)

Houston at LA Rams -3.5/42

San Francisco at Indianapolis pick-em/43.5 (down from Indy -1)

Atlanta at Jacksonville -3/40 

Baltimore at Miami pick-em/41.5

New Orleans at LA Chargers -2/44 (down from -2.5) (on CBS)

Chicago has drawn some interest, but not enough to bring the full 3 into play (yet). Underdogs San Francisco and New Orleans moved a bit. Though, that’s just as likely anti-favorite money in those two games. 


Cincinnati at Buffalo -1.5/41.5 (on FOX)

Arizona at Dallas pick-em/41 (down from -3/43.5!) (on NBC)

Here’s the BIG news. Dallas announced that both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott would sit out Sunday. Some dress rehearsal! Cowboys haven’t been as motivated as other teams in recent preseasons. Clearly, they’re focused on being ready for the season opener at Carolina in a few weeks.  

AL Wednesday: Astros back atop the AL West; Red Sox rally vs. Cleveland

Houston is healthy and posting big offensive totals on the road again. We start our coverage with its win in Seattle Wednesday afternoon.

Houston (-150) 10, Seattle 7 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Houston 29, Seattle 20

Starting Pitchers: Morton 5 IP, 6 ER, Gonzalez 3 IP, 8 ER

Bullpen: Houston 4 IP, 1 ER, Seattle 6 IP, 2 ER

As great as Oakland’s been in recent weeks, Houston is still a championship caliber team when healthy. Some pitching issues need to be resolved, because a few teams are championship caliber right now! Looks like nothing but quality offenses will make the AL brackets. Houston moves to 77-50 with the win (one game ahead of Oakland). Seattle falls to 72-56, 5.5 behind Houston and 4.5 behind Oakland for the final Wildcard spot. 

Texas (plus 140) 4, Oakland 2 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Texas 20, Oakland 10

Starting Pitchers: Minor 6 IP, 0 ER, Jackson 4.1 IP, 4 ER

Bullpen: Texas 3 IP, 2 ER, Oakland 4.2 IP, 0 ER

Tough to know that any loss could be the one that keeps you from winning the division down the road. Both Oakland in general, and Edwin Jackson in particular have been overdue to slow down. Texas took advantage here. Oakland now 76-51. Texas may impact the AL West in September just by picking up occasional wins like this. Who will the Rangers spoil? 

Boston (plus 110) 10, Cleveland 4 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Cleveland 18, Boston 28

Starting Pitchers: Carrasco 3.2 IP, 5 ER, Johnson 4.1 IP, 3 ER

Bullpen: Cleveland 4.1 IP, 4 ER, Boston 4.2 IP, 1 ER

Bettors should take a look at any underdog that’s around 50 games over .500 for the season! While it’s true that Johnson doesn’t measure up to Carrasco in a lot of areas…Boston is still playing at a historic level this season. Now 89-39 and closing quick on its Regular Season Win Total (Oakland already the first to beat the market). If the Sox play .500 ball the rest of the way, that’s 106-56. Matching current pace puts them in the 112-113-win vicinity. Cleveland comfortable at 73-53.

Other early finishers involving teams in the pennant chase…

*Milwaukee (-270) beat Cincinnati 4-0. Brewers are now 71-58, but didn’t pick up ground on the Cubs.

*Atlanta (pick-em) beat Pittsburgh 2-1. Braves now 71-55. Pittsburgh’s offense has been abysmal lately. Recent scoring run is 3-2-4-0-0-3-2-0-1-1. That’s 16 runs in the Pirates’ last 10 games.

*Philadelphia (plus 140) LOST at Washington 8-7. Blown game. Phils led 7-5 heading to the bottom of the eighth, 7-6 in the bottom of the ninth. Ryan Zimmerman with the walk-off homer. Washington wins again after starting its “fire sale.” Phillies fall to 68-58, particularly painful with Atlanta and Milwaukee winning. Phils trail the Braves by three games. 

*Colorado (-275) beat San Diego 6-2. Rockies now 69-57. Not out of the question that the NL could have some tie-breaker playoff games just to set up the Wildcard knockout. 

*The NY Yankees (-190) LOST at Miami 9-3. Let’s see if the Yankees keep bouncing back off of losses. It’s been a strength all season, even during this extended malaise. 

*The Chicago Cubs (-180) won at Detroit 8-2. Cubs now 72-53. With so many contenders beating each other up…a record around 20 games over .500 has to feel safe. Extra wins already deposited in the bank.

Sports Betting News: Tiger vs. Phil set for Thanksgiving Weekend (on pay-per-view)

Involved parties made the formal announcement Wednesday. Tiger Woods will play Phil Mickelson in a $9 million winner-take-all match Friday November 23 at the Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas. Action will be scheduled mid-to-late afternoon in Nevada so the event can run in prime time for much of the country.

Turner Broadcasting purchased the rights. But it will offer the event on a pay-per-view basis rather than airing it on TNT or TBS. Note that there are major college football telecasts on other networks that evening. Preseason #7 Oklahoma visits #17 West Virginia, and #6 Washington plays Washington State in the Apple Cup. (That’s “Rivalry Weekend” by the way. Tiger and Phil didn’t want to go up against the likes of Auburn/Alabama, Michigan/Ohio State, and Notre Dame/USC on Saturday.)

What was initially thought of as a “made for TV” event is much more clearly a “made for GAMBLING” event. Check out this description from Mickelson in ESPN’s online report…

“Mickelson said the format would be match play, and details are being worked out that would allow for various challenges during the match, such as longest drive, closest to the hole, longest putt and closest out of a bunker.”

You mean…like…PROP BETS?! 

Corporate behemoths Woods and Mickelson will drag pro golf into its future. Easy to understand why they want to hold this event in Las Vegas. 

The early line has Tiger at -180 to win the match play portion, Phil returns plus 150. That spread should shrink once there’s more liquidity. 

College Basketball Analytics News: RIP to the RPI! NCAA will use “NET” to rank teams 

News of interest to college basketball bettors who have been complaining about how horrible “RPI” is since the 1980s (including your humble author). The NCAA has FINALLY eliminated “Ratings Percentage Index” from the selection process for the NCAA Tournament. It was clearly inferior to Jeff Sagarin’s numbers in USA Today a few decades ago. Any oddsmaker or bettor worth their salt could spot RPI errors a mile away. Rejoice!

Click here to read more information about the new “NET” algorithm. 

The most notable questionable element is that victory margins will be “capped” at 10 points to prevent teams from trying to game the system by running up the score. Capping does make sense…but something in the area of 15-18 range would better correspond to the sport’s scale. If a great team beats a cupcake by 30 at home, and a mediocrity beats the same cupcake by 12 at home…the computer’s going to rate the great team even with the mediocrity in that sample because both results were entered as 10-point wins. Hopefully that stuff will come out in the wash by the end of the season.

Enjoy Eagles/Browns on TV Thursday night. We’ll be back to run key stats and talk more baseball Friday morning.  

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