There are some misconceptions about sharp bettors, one being that they’re all on the same side of the action and another being that they’re always right.
Sure, bettors defined as “sharp” are right more often than recreational bettors, but one thing that really separates sharp bettors from the rest is the line that they bet. They’re good at forecasting how a line will move, and they’re also able to put implicit trust in their personal numbers to grab line value.
Sharp bettors can also have differences of opinion. After all, rating teams is a pretty subjective process. Some wins may be graded higher by some than by others. Some stats may be weighted more heavily for one individual or group than for another.
Each week, we’ll be surveying some sharp bettors to get their takes on betting college football. This week, we picked the brains of pro handicappers Brad Powers from BradPowersSports.com and Kyle Hunter from HunterSportsPicks.com.
Which underdog do you think has the best chance at pulling an upset this week?
Brad Powers: I have bet a lot of underdogs, but my favorite ones have flipped to being the favorite (Buffalo and Louisiana Tech).
The most likely dog to win outright of the current ones is Georgia Tech (+ 3.5 versus Duke). My numbers actually have GT as a 0.5-point favorite. They have played the much tougher schedule (No. 5 vs. No. 107 in Sagarin). There’s new life for GT with an interim coach (Brent Key) after the upset over Pitt last week. You could argue that the Yellow Jackets are the more talented team, they’re at home and they’re getting more than a FG.
Kyle Hunter: I like East Carolina (+ 3) against Tulane. Tulane is feeling great about themselves after their win at Houston. Mike Houston is a good coach and he has the Pirates playing some solid football. East Carolina is a solid 33rd in the country in rushing play success rate allowed on defense, which is a big key against Willie Fritz and the Green Wave.
What’s your favorite play this week and why?
Powers: I love Over 57 in Kent State vs. Miami (Ohio). Kent State had a 736-450 yard edge but only won 31-24 in OT versus Ohio last week. They were the first team in FBS history to have a 240-yard rusher and a 240-yard receiver in the same game. The Golden Flashes offense is no longer playing Washington, Oklahoma and Georgia’s defenses now [author’s note: the MAC stinks]. Miami’s offense has been hurt by playing a backup QB (Aveon Smith), but he is gaining experience.
Hunter: Ole Miss/Vanderbilt Under 62. Many people view Ole Miss as an Over team solely because of their pace, but that hasn’t been true. Lane Kiffin’s bunch runs the football at a very high rate which keeps the clock moving. The Under is 11-1 in the Rebels’ last 12 games. Vanderbilt has been slowing down their tempo of late as well.
What’s one matchup you’re excited to watch this week that you didn’t bet on?
Powers: Tennessee (-3, 65) at LSU. My numbers say LSU, but the spot says Tennessee off a bye versus LSU off a fortunate win. Tennessee’s pass defense is bad but can LSU take advantage with Jayden Daniels and a questionable WR unit? Can Tennessee protect Hendon Hooker? Lots of questions to be answered here.
Something else to think about is that Death Valley in the daytime is not the same. Since 1960:
LSU is 249-65-4 SU (79%) in home night games.
LSU is 34-27-3 SU (56%) in home day games.
Hunter: It has to be Texas A&M at Alabama (-24, 51.5). Jimbo Fisher talked a good game in the offseason and the Aggies haven’t been living up to the hype. Alabama with revenge on their minds from last season, and they couldn’t have appreciated the offseason comments. This game should be very physical.
Any “fade” or “follow” teams you’re hoping to bet on or against with Sunday’s openers?
Powers: Things to look for on Sunday openers:
— I’m looking to bet Utah versus USC.
— Does Bryan Harsin (Auburn) still have a job?
— How does Wisconsin look with Jim Leonhard? If they win and cover versus Northwestern, I’ll likely play on them versus Michigan State.
— Is Arkansas out of gas and traveling to elevation in BYU or are the Cougars off a big win versus ND? If BYU loses, I want BYU.
— Syracuse is off a bye, catches NC State off games versus Clemson and Florida State. I’m likely on Syracuse.
— Does Oklahoma get QB Dillon Gabriel back? If so, are they playing an unbeaten Kansas team?
Hunter: If Alabama destroys Texas A&M this weekend and Tennessee is underwhelming, I might be looking to fade the Crimson Tide on the road in Knoxville next weekend. The Tide still have to prove it on the road against good teams.
I’ll also be looking for the right price to possibly follow Iowa State against Texas next weekend. The Longhorns will put a lot into the Red River Rivalry game this weekend. Matt Campbell’s bunch has been very good in the past ATS in the underdog role (20-12-2 ATS at Iowa State).