In yesterday's newsletter, we discussed early sharp action hitting the NFL Week 16 slate. Now let's continue our early bowl game preparation by discussing a pair of games receiving smart money—with one on Christmas Eve and the other the day after Christmas.
Before doing so, it's important to discuss a quick update on one of this Saturday's upcoming games. Last week in this space, we explained how early wiseguy action was siding with Kent State (plus 9 to plus 7.5) in the Frisco Bowl. Over the past 24 hours, smart money has continued to pour in on Kent State, dropping the line down to plus 6 or even plus 5.5.
Typically, sharps will identify an edge and then get down hard. However, it's not just about picking the right side but also getting the best number. Oftentimes sharps will bet a side and then lay off as the line moves and gets worse. Why? Because the value is no longer there.
However, extenuating circumstances can arise that sharps look to exploit. In this case, it is unexpected criminal charges filed against a star quarterback and two of his teammates.
Late yesterday, news broke that drug charges were filed against Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, wide receiver Sean Carter and running back Gerold Bright. The three were caught in an apartment smoking marijuana less than a week before their big bowl game. At this point, it is unclear whether Love or his other two teammates will miss the game. However, based on the further line movement toward Kent State, it's clear that sharps are selling on Utah State as a result of the news.
Wednesday's betting slate features 9 NBA games, 3 NHL games and 54 College Basketball games. For an updated betting breakdown of Wednesday'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.
Now let's hit on two more bowl games garnering sharp money.
Dec 24 at 8 p.m. ET: BYU (9-5) vs Hawaii (7-5)
The Hawaii Bowl kicks off on Christmas Eve and features a Mountain West opponent against an independent. Hawaii lost to Boise State 31-10 in the Mountain West championship, failing to cover as 14-point dogs. The loss snapped a 4-game winning streak for the Rainbow Warriors. Hawaii finished the season 7-7 ATS, averaging 33.51 PPG on offense and giving up 31.71 PPG on defense. BYU started the season 2-4 but then went on to win five straight before dropping the season finale to San Diego State 13-3 as 4.5-point favorites. The Cougars went 4-8 ATS, averaging 28 PPG on offense and giving up 24.42 PPG on defense.
This line opened at either a pick'em or BYU listed as a short 1-point favorite. More than three-out-of-four bets are backing the Cougars, which has pushed the line up to -1.5 or even 2 at some books. Hawaii has value as contrarian inflated dog in what will be an extremely heavily bet game—the only game on Christmas Eve. This will also be a true home game for Hawaii as it will be played at Aloha Stadium. The total opened at 62.5. Two-thirds of bets are backing the over, which has pushed the total up to 64. That's when some sharp buyback hit the under. The early forecast calls for high 70s and 15 MPH winds. The under is 57.4% since 2005 when the wind blows 15 MPH or more. Hawaii is 8-6 to the over and BYU is 6-6.
Dec. 26 at 4 p.m. ET: Miami-Florida (6-6) vs Louisiana Tech (9-3)
The Independence Bowl is the first of two day-after-Christmas games. Miami has an up-and-down season in the ACC, losing their first two games and their last two games but going 6-2 in-between. The Hurricanes averaged 27.8 PPG on offense and gave up 20.8 PPG on defense. Louisiana Tech finished second in the Conference-USA West division, averaging 34 PPG on offense and giving up 23.7 PPG on defense.
This line opened with Miami listed as a 7.5-point favorite. Pros and Joes are both siding with Louisiana Tech, which had dropped the line down to 6.5 or even 6 across the market. Sharps in particular loaded up on Louisiana Tech at plus 7.5 and plus 7. The game will be played at Independence Stadium in Shreveport Louisiana, providing the La Tech Bulldogs a local home field advantage. The total opened at 50 and has ticked down slightly to 49.5. The forecast calls for mid 60s and 5-7 MPH winds.