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Sharp Action is All over Hurricane’s impact on college football odds
By Joe Fortenbaugh
More so than any other week thus far during the 2015 college football campaign, bettors need to put themselves on high alert before placing any wagers in regards to Saturday’s slate of action.
Excuse us for writing such an ominous introduction to this week’s college football column, but that first paragraph needed to be written if for no other reason than to get your attention as to what will be taking place on the East Coast come Saturday.
For those of you who spend little to no time visiting the Weather Channel, Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm, has been dumping rain and intense winds all across the Caribbean this past week and is expected to significantly influence the weather for several East Coast college football contests on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking with Jay Rood, the vice president of race and sports for MGM Resorts International, on Friday morning, Covers learned that some of the most heavily-bet matchups of the weekend just so happen to be Unders in East Coast games that are expecting inclement weather (check out our “Sharp vs. Public” betting report below for an idea of which totals we are referencing).
In essence, make sure you visit WeatherChannel.com this weekend before placing any wagers on East Coast matchups while simultaneously visiting the college football odds board to gain an understanding of which sides and totals have been adjusted the most due to Hurricane Joaquin. Some value may still exist in regards to a few of these games, but you’re best served putting in additional research before making what could be a costly mistake.
SHARP VS. PUBLIC: BEHIND THE COUNTER
Each and every week this column will converse with a Las Vegas insider in an effort to provide you, our loyal and dedicated readers, with enough inside information possible to make more educated and informed wagers. This week we speak with Jay Rood of MGM Resorts International.
*Point spreads current as of Friday afternoon.
Sharp sides: Colorado (+7.5) vs. Oregon
Colorado is 3-1 straight-up on the season and 4-0 ATS over its last four games following an ATS loss, but this feels more like a play against Oregon than a play on the Buffaloes. For starters, the Ducks have already dropped two games this season, the most recent of which came in the form of a 62-20 embarrassment last Saturday in Eugene against Utah.
Here’s an interesting tidbit to keep in mind that most certainly has played a role in this pointspread’s significant move from the open of Oregon -12 to its current position of Oregon -7.5: Ducks quarterback Vernon Adams suffers from what’s known as sickle cell trait, which affects his red blood cells and is capable of causing severe cramping.
This is worth knowing because Saturday night’s game in Boulder will take place at an elevation of 5,430 feet, which increases the chances of triggering the Oregon quarterback’s condition. Not only that, but the Ducks are 1-4 ATS over their last five games overall, so you can see now why so many of the sharps are backing the Buffaloes in this spot.
Public sides: Baylor (-17) at Texas Tech
A very popular public position three years running now, Baylor has decimated the competition through its first three games of the season by blasting SMU, Lamar and Rice to the tune of a combined score of 192-69. Now that the Bears have three tune-up games out of the way, it’s time to turn on the engines. And you couldn’t ask for a better spot to challenge Kliff Kingsbury’s Red Raiders than this Saturday, which comes just one week after Texas Tech laid it all on the line in a 55-52 loss to Big 12 nemesis TCU.
The Red Raiders are banged up, gassed out and no doubt down on their luck following a demoralizing final-minute loss to a Horned Frogs team they had on the ropes all the way up until the waning seconds of the fourth quarter. Take note that the favorite is 4-1 ATS over the last five meetings between these two schools while Baylor is 13-5 ATS over its last 18 games against teams with a winning record.
Sharp totals: East Coast games
Rood said that several East Coast games are experiencing a plethora of sharp action on their respective Unders due to the fact that Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm, is expected to create adverse weather conditions up and down the coast over the weekend.
While U.S. landfall is unlikely according to the Weather Channel, Joaquin’s presence will no doubt be felt at a number of Saturday afternoon games after the hurricane gets done dumping on the Bahamas.
Here are a few games where the sharps have pounded the under:
Louisville at North Carolina State: From 54 to 47
Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech: From 52 to 46.5
Air Force at Navy: From 57.5 to 51.5
Alabama at Georgia: From 54 to 51
Be sure to keep a close eye on both the Weather Channel and the college football odds board this weekend before making any wagers that involve east coast participants.
Public totals: Baylor Bears at Texas Tech Red Raiders – OVER 88
This information shouldn’t surprise you in the least. Baylor is averaging 64 points per game this season while Texas Tech is averaging 53.7 points per contest in 2015. Additionally, the majority of the country found themselves watching last Saturday’s 55-52 shootout between the Red Raiders and Horned Frogs, so the thought process behind this play is likely the notion of going back to the well one more time for another high-flying display of aerial prowess. Take note that last year’s meeting between these two schools produced a final score of 48-46.
Games experiencing the most action: Baylor Bears (-17) at Texas Tech Red Raiders and Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Clemson Tigers (-2) due to the fact that both games feature late kickoffs.
BONER OF THE WEEK AWARD
This is generally a lighthearted section designed to generate a few laughs before we jump back into more hardcore analysis, but not this week, as I simply can’t overlook what happened in last Saturday’s Texas-Oklahoma State game.
Bear in mind the fact that I had no wager on this game and am not a fan of either program.
The bottom line here is simple: The officiating in this marquee Big 12 matchup was an absolute travesty, as Texas was flagged a stunning 16 times for 128 yards in the school’s 30-27 loss to Oklahoma State while the Cowboys were penalized just seven times for 40 yards.
Sure, some will try to make the case that this type of lopsided officiating happens all the time, but something stinks about the way this game played out, especially when you take a close look at the defensive holding call against Texas that led into an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Longhorns coach Charlie Strong, both of which helped Oklahoma State pick up the necessary yardage to tie the game at 27-27 with just 90 seconds remaining.
First off, there was no defensive holding, as the first video below will demonstrate. Second, how the hell are you going to flag Strong for bumping into an official when he not once, but twice tried to walk away from the argument, only to have said official follow him and induce the very same contact that led to the 15-yard penalty?
And not only that, but keep this little tidbit in mind: In 10 Big 12 games, Alan Eck’s officiating crew has flagged Texas an average of 13.5 times for 106.5 total yards, while other crews who worked Texas games flagged the Longhorns an average of 5.75 times for 50 yards.
Something just doesn’t smell right here.
MIND-BLOWING TREND OF THE WEEK
Despite boasting an offense that averaged 33.4 points per game in 2014 and 43.3 points per contest this season, the West Virginia Mountaineers are 11-1 to the Under in their last 12 games overall.
Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers travel to Norman to face Bob Stoops’s Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday in a Big 12 showdown that currently features a total of 59.5.
BIGGEST LINE MOVES OF THE WEEK
*Note: As mentioned above, several east coast totals have experience significant adjustments due to the threat of Hurricane Joaquin. Below we’ll take a look at which sides from around the country have encountered the biggest swings.
Nevada Wolf Pack (from -12 to -6.5) vs. UNLV Rebels: This game is all about the road team, as visiting schools in UNLV contests are 9-0 ATS over the last nine Rebel games and 5-0 ATS over the last five Nevada showdowns. In addition, take note that Nevada is 3-10 ATS over its last 13 games played in the month of October and 7-16-1 ATS over its last 24 games following a straight-up win.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (from -12.5 to -7) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels: Georgia Tech is just 7-17-2 ATS over its last 26 home games against teams with a winning road record while North Carolina is 5-1 ATS over its last six matchups played in the month of October. After falling 17-13 in their season-opener at South Carolina, the Tar Heels have rebounded to notch three consecutive victories by an average of 33.3 points per game.
California Golden Bears (from -12.5 to -17.5) vs. Washington State Cougars: Recognized primarily for their high-flying offense led by quarterback and future first-round draft pick Jared Goff, the real story in Berkeley this season has been a Bears defense that is surrendering an average of just 22.2 points per game through four contests. Washington State is just 2-8 ATS over its last 10 games overall and 1-6 ATS over its last seven conference matchups while Cal is 4-1 ATS over its last five games against teams with a winning record.
Oregon Ducks (from -12 to -7.5) at Colorado Buffaloes: This game is detailed above in our “Sharp vs. Public” betting report.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (from -3 to -7.5) vs. Kansas State Wildcats: The Wildcats have covered the spread just once in their last five outings while Oklahoma State is 15-7 ATS over its last 22 home games and 11-5 ATS over its last 16 games following a straight-up win.
DAILY FANTASY VALUE PLAY OF THE WEEK
Dane Evans, QB, Tulsa Golden Hurricane ($8,200 on FanDuel): The 17th-ranked quarterback in terms of price on FanDuel for contests that include all college football games, Evans and the Golden Hurricane play host to a high-flying Houston Cougars offensive attack Saturday in a showdown that currently features a staggering total of 81.5. A three-year starter with 23 career appearances under his belt, Evans is currently averaging 38.0 pass attempts for 390.6 yards and 2.6 touchdowns per game through three contests in 2015. As 7-point underdogs against the undefeated Houston Cougars, expect Evans to put the ball in the air early and often on Saturday in what should be one of the highest-scoring matchups of the weekend.