Sportsbooks took a beating last night as the Ravens demolished the Jets 42-21 on Thursday Night Football. Baltimore received both public and sharp support, opening at -14.5, closing at -17 and winning by 21. More than two thirds of bets took the over 43.5, which landed on 63 and easily cashed.
The Ravens (12-2) clinched the AFC North division title with last night's victory. Lamar Jackson also broke Michael Vick's single season rushing record for a quarterback (1,039 yards in 2006), rushing 8 times for 86 yards and pushing his season total to 1,108.
With Baltimore's win and cover, Thursday Night favorites improve to 113-83 ATS (57.7%) since 2003 according to Bet Labs Sports. Thursday Night home favorites improve to 73-50 ATS (59.3%). Thursday Night big favorites -13 or more improve to 9-2 ATS (82%).
Friday's betting slate features 9 NBA games, 2 NHL games and 5 College Basketball games. For an updated betting breakdown of Friday's action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.
As we continue to analyze early College Football Bowl Game sharp action, let's turn our attention to the seven-game slate on Saturday Dec. 21.
2 p.m. ET: Central Michigan (8-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)
The New Mexico Bowl features the Central Michigan Chippewas, who finished 1st in the MAC West, against the San Diego State Aztecs, who finished 1st in the Mountain West West. Central Michigan fell to Miami Ohio 26-21 in the MAC Title game, losing straight up as 6.5-point favorites. However, the Chips were great to bet on all season, going 9-3-1 ATS. Central Michigan averaged 31.92 PPG on offense and allowed 26.77 PPG on defense. San Diego State missed out on the Mountain West title game but finished the season strong, upsetting BYU 13-3 as 4.5-point dogs. The Aztecs are led by their stout defense, only allowing 12.83 PPG while averaging 19 PPG on offense. This line opened with San Diego State listed as a 4.5-point favorite. Sharps have pounced on Central Michigan, dropping the line down to 3.5. The total is 41. Bowl game dogs in low total games (51 or less) have gone 98-81 ATS (55%) since 2005 according to Bet Labs Sports.
2:30 p.m. ET: Liberty (7-5) vs Georgia Southern (7-5)
The Cure Bowl pits the Liberty Flames of the Independent conference against the Georgia Southern Eagles, who finished 2nd in the Sun Belt East. Liberty raced out to a 5-2 record to start the season but stumbled down the stretch, going 2-3 in their last five. The Flames won their season finale over New Mexico State 49-28 as 15-point favorites. Liberty went 6-6 ATS, averaging 33.67 PPG on offense and giving up 29.08 PPG on defense. Earlier this week, Liberty rewarded Head Coach Hugh Freeze with a multi-year contract extension for leading the program to its first Bowl Game. Georgia Southern started the season 1-3 but went on to go 6-2 the rest of the way, including a 38-10 rout of Georgia State as 6.5-point favorites in their regular season finale. The Eagles went 5-7 ATS, averaging 29.17 PPG on offense and giving up 28.58 PPG on defense. This line opened with Georgia Southern listed as a 6-point favorite. Wiseguys have gotten down hard on Liberty, dropping the line to 5. Pros have also pounded the over, pushing the total up from 57 to 60. Liberty went 6-6 to the over this season and Georgia Southern went 8-4 to the over.
3:30 p.m. ET: SMU (10-2) vs Florida Atlantic (10-3)
Unlike other Bowl Games, the Boca Raton Bowl will be a true home game for Florida Atlantic. The Owls started the season 0-2 with two losses to ranked teams (45-21 to Ohio State and 48-14 to UCF), then proceeded to go 10-1 the rest of the way, including winning 6 straight to end the regular season. Florida Atlantic went 9-4 ATS, averaging 35.23 PPG on offense and allowing 22.31 PPG on defense. FAU beat UAB 49-6 as 8-point favorites to win the Conference USA Championship. Head Coach Lane Kiffin will not coach in this game after stepping down and taking over at Ole Miss. SMU started the season 8-0 before going 2-2 in their final four games. The Mustangs beat Tulane 37-20 as 3-point favorites in their regular season finale. SMU went 7-4-1 ATS, averaging 43 PPG on offense and allowing 31.83 PPG on defense. This line opened with SMU listed as a 4-point favorite. So far this is the most heavily bet game of Saturday's slate and three-out-of-four bets are laying the points. However, this line has fallen down to 3, signaling sharp action grabbing the points with the home dog Owls. Pros have also gotten down on the under, dropping the total from 72 to 70.5. Early forecasts expect 20 MPH winds. SMU is 9-2-1 to the over and FAU is 7-6 to the over.
More early sharp action for Saturday Dec. 21
Florida International plus 3.5 to plus 2.5 vs Arkansas State
Boise plus 4 to plus 3.5 vs Washington