We rarely talk about NHL betting in this space, but let's take a minute to hit on one system that has been cashing consistently for hockey bettors this season. It centers around rested teams against tired teams. We saw it cash last night as the New Jersey Devils (-119) beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. The Ducks were on the 2nd night of a back-to-back and the Devils were well rested, having not played a game since Dec. 14.
Hockey is such a grueling, physically taxing sport. Anytime one team is rested and the opponent is tired, it provides a clear advantage. So far this season when a favorite has had 2-4 days of rest, is coming off a loss and the opponent is on the second night of a back-to-back, the rested team off a loss has gone 24-14 (63.2%). Since 2005, these teams have gone 857-516 (62.4%) according to Bet Labs Sports. The key is the fact that the team is coming off a loss, which means it is not only rested but also motivated.
For an updated breakdown of all the games that fit this system (along with several other winning systems in all major sports), be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Now let's continue our bowl game prep by discussing three more games garnering sharp money.
Dec. 27 at 12 p.m. ET: North Carolina (6-6) at Temple (8-4)
The Military Bowl is the first of five games on the Saturday after Christmas and takes place at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. North Carolina hails from the ACC and had to win its final two games to qualify for a bowl game, beating Mercer 56-7 as a 38.5-point favorite and NC State 41-10 as an 11-point favorite. The Tar Heels went 6-5-1 ATS, averaging 31.25 PPG on offense and giving up 24.58 PPG on defense. Temple hails from the American Athletic Conference and won three of its last four games, beating Connecticut 49-17 as a 27-point favorite. The Owls went 8-4 ATS, averaging 27.42 PPG on offense and giving up 23.5 PPG on defense.
The line opened with North Carolina listed as a 6-point favorite. Wiseguys identified an edge on Temple and got down hard on the Owls plus the points, dropping the line down to 4.5. Bowl dogs against teams that missed bowl games the previous year have gone 74-53 ATS (58.3%) since 2003. Temple would qualify for this system as UNC missed the postseason last year. The total opened at 52.5 and has risen to 53.5, signaling some sharp action to the over. The forecast calls for high 40s and 7-8 MPH winds. Both teams are 6-6 to the over this season.
Dec. 27 at 6:45 p.m. ET: Oklahoma State (8-4, ranked 25) at Texas A&M (7-5)
The Texas Bowl pits a ranked Big 12 opponent against an unranked SEC challenger. Oklahoma State lost to Oklahoma 34-16 as a 14-point dog in its season finale, snapping a 4-game winning streak. The Cowboys were kind to bettors this season, going 9-3 ATS, averaging 33.42 PPG on offense and allowing 27 PPG on defense. Texas A&M had a disappointing year and ended the season on on a two-game losing skid, falling to Georgia 19-13 (but covering as a 12-point dog) and then losing to LSU 50-7 (failing to cover as a 17.5-point dog). The Aggies went 7-5 ATS, averaging 30 PPG on offense and allowing 22.67 PPG on defense.
This line opened with Texas A&M listed as a 4.5-point favorite. The public can't believe the ranked team is getting points against an unranked team and a majority of bets are backing Oklahoma State. However, in a classic Pros vs Joes matchup, wiseguys are laying the points and backing the Aggies, pushing the line all the way up to -7. Unranked teams vs ranked teams have been a profitable bet in Bowl Games due to increased public bias, going 52-42 ATS (55.3%) since 2005. The total opened is 53.5. The total calls for low 70s, high 60s and 7-8 MPH winds. Both teams have been profitable to the under, with Oklahoma State 7-5 and Texas A&M 7-4-1.
Dec. 27 at 8 p.m. ET: USC (8-4, ranked 22) vs Iowa (9-3, ranked 16)
The Holiday Bowl takes place at SDCC stadium, formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium, the old home of the San Diego Chargers. It features two ranked teams and takes place in primetime on Saturday night, which means it will be the most heavily bet game of the day and a prime betting-against-the-public opportunity. USC hails from the Pac-12 and finished the season strong, winning its final three games including a 52-35 victory over UCLA as 13.5-point favorites. The Trojans went 7-5 ATS, averaging 33.17 PPG on offense and allowing 27.75 PPG on defense. Iowa finished third in the Big Ten west, also winning their final three games including a 27-24 win over Nebraska, but failing to cover as 4-point favorites. The Hawkeyes went 5-7 ATS, averaging 23.83 PPG on offense and only allowing 13.17 PPG on defense. This is a classic case of a good offense (USC) against a good defense (Iowa).
This line opened with Iowa listed as a short 1.5-point favorite. Some books opened closer to a pick'em or Iowa -1. The betting public is split down the middle but sharps have sided with the Hawkeyes, pushing the line up to -2. When two ranked teams go head-to-head in a Bowl Game the dog has gone 69-57 ATS (54.8%). The total opened at 51.5 and has risen to 52.5. The forecast is clear: mid 50s with 3-5 MPH winds. The over is 7-4-1 in USC games but the under is 8-3-1 in Iowa games.