by Mike Norris at Sports Insights
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the NCAA Football Marketwatch. The team at Sports Insights gives sports fans unprecedented insight into the NCAA Football point-spread market. If you ever wanted to know what was really happening on the sportsbook side, you now have an all-access pass with Sports Marketplace!
Every week we speak directly with the line managers at some of the sports betting industry’s largest sportsbooks about which games the public is chasing and the Sharps are pounding. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for this week in College Football.
Sports Marketplace – NCAA Week 10
Recapping Week 9
This is our first year providing the NCAA Football Marketwatch, and we’re heading into the stretch run after a 2-1 week. Wake Forest’s offensive inefficiency cost them and us against Miami. The Demon Deacons got shutout in the second half while allowing 13 points, and lost the game by 6. Oklahoma State couldn’t upset Texas, but the Cowboys hung tight and beat the spread to give us a win. Rutgers got their second consecutive Big East win with a huge upset win over Pittsburgh. The Scarlet Knights were getting 9.5 points, but defeated the Panthers by 20 for the outright win.
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Overall = 11-15-1 = 42.3%
NCAA WEEK 10
No. 1 Texas gets their fourth straight ranked opponent, but this time they’ll have to deal with the opponent’s rowdy fans. After a neutral site win against Oklahoma and home wins over Missouri and Oklahoma State, the Longhorns travel to Lubbock, Texas to face the potent offense of No. 7 Texas Tech. Both teams are led by Heisman candidate quarterbacks and come in undefeated. It should be a high-scoring affair down in Texas. The only other match up of ranked teams takes place in the SEC in Jacksonville, Florida. No. 8 Florida will take on No. 6 Georgia, as both teams come in with one loss. The winner will be the favorite to win the SEC East and reach the SEC Championship Game.
Warning to all new readers of the NCAA Football Sports Marketwatch column: in order to follow our selections, you’ll need ice running through your veins. Be prepared to take up meditation or acupuncture to calm the nerves. The goal of this weekly column is to highlight games that offer true “line value.” Often, if a line looks too go to be true, there is a reason. The underlining theme every week is line value. You’ll consistently need the worst teams on the board to come through. We typically buy on bad news and sell on good.
We’re expecting heavy action on the Texas-Texas Teach and Florida-Georgia match ups. Other games that should draw lots of action include the Tennessee-South Carolina SEC showdown, Nebraska at Oklahoma, and Pittsburgh at Notre Dame. Visit SportsInsights.com to view wagering statistics on NCAA games from multiple online sportsbooks. Here is a trio of line value games we are keying on.
NCAA Sports MarketWatch Week 10 – Games to Watch
Air Force vs Army (11/1 12P)
Air Force comes into this armed forces match up with a 6-2 record, but they need the win to have a chance at the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy. The Falcons already suffered a loss at the hands of Navy by six, and their other loss came against No. 10 Utah by a touchdown. Air Force has already qualified for a bowl game, and they still have an outside shot an the Mountain West Conference Championship. The Falcons come in with the fourth-ranked rushing offense in the nation, averaging 291 yards per game on the ground with an options attack. They are the 118th-ranked passing attack in the nation. They actually won a game this season without completing a single pass (31-28 over Houston.)
Army started the season 0-4, but they have won three of their last four to give themselves hope for a bowl game. The remaining schedule isn’t a Mount Everest of opponents, but there aren’t any easy wins either. They open their competition for the Commander-In-Chief’s trophy with this game against Air Force; they close the season on December 6th against Navy in Philadelphia. The Black Knights turned their season around with an option attack on offense. Head Coach Stan Brock said sophomore quarterback Chip Bowden “grew up a lot and matured a great deal” with last week’s win over Louisiana Tech, and that he even looks more comfortable throwing the ball. The Army defense has also come on strong in the last four games, giving up an average of 15 points per game over that span.
Air Force opened as 9-point favorites at Pinnacle, and they are receiving 73% of the public’s spread bets and 81% of parlay bets. Yet the line has moved down to Air Force -8. The is indicating some wiseguy action behind the Black Knights, and there have been multiple Smart Money plays triggered on Army. We like the improving Army team as they can see the possibility of a bowl berth. We’ll follow the Smart Money, and take the Black Knights with the points at home.
Florida vs Georgia (11/1 3:30P)
Florida is coming off a pair of blowout wins over LSU and Kentucky. The 63-5 victory over the Wildcats was over early thanks to the Gators’ special teams, which blocked Kentucky’s first two punts to set up easy touchdowns for the offense. Florida has had this week’s game circled since last season’s defeat at the hands of Georgia. The Bulldogs drew the ire of the Gators last year when the entire team rushed into the end zone after scoring their first touchdown in a 42-30 win. That incident has been on the Gators’ minds all year, and they are looking for some revenge this weekend. Tim Tebow continues his assault on record books, and has a chance to break Emmit Smith’s school record for touchdowns this week. The Gators rank first in the SEC in scoring
defense, allowing only 11.3 points per game.
Georgia earned a big 52-38 win last week over LSU, and they head into this top-10 match up with a three-game win streak after suffering a loss to No. 2 Alabama. The Bulldogs are led by one of the nation’s most talented backfields in quarterback Matthew Stafford and tailback Knowshown Moreno. Both had big games in last year’s victory over the Gators. Stafford was 11-of-18 for 217 yards, a career-high three TDs and one interception, and Moreno rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns. After a career-low 34 yards in the loss to Alabama, Moreno has rushed for 436 yards in the last three games. The Bulldogs have a strong run defense, but their pass defense gives up 221 yards per game It’s “The World’s Largest Cocktail Party” in Jacksonville, Florida. Georgia is considered the home team, but the crowd should be pretty even. The winner will only need one more win to secure a spot in the SEC Championship game.
There’s a lot at stake in the game between these border rivals. Florida opened as 6.5 point favorites at Pinnacle and the line has moved back to that spread. The bets were pretty evenly split early in the week, but the Gators are now receiving 61% of spread bets and 66% of parlay bets. That swing in percentage and the line drop could signal some smart money behind the Bulldogs. We’ll take the Bulldogs getting points in this bitter rivalry.
Wisconsin vs Michigan State (11/1 12PM)
Wisconsin got its first conference win last week against Illinois, but they also lost All-American tight end Travis Beckum for the season with a broken leg. The Badgers broke a four-game losing streak with the win, and they are starting to get healthy despite the loss of Beckum. Junior tailback P.J. Hill has been cleared to return to full action after seeing limited time last week. They also return two starting linemen who have missed recent games due to injuries. Junior quarterback Dustin Sherer will make his third consecutive start after showing a huge improvement during last week’s win.
Michigan State bounced back from getting blown out by Ohio State with a win over in-state rival Michigan last week. That win returned them to the top-25 rankings, and kept them in contention for the Big Ten title. The Spartans utilize a smash-mouth running attack on offense, led by tailback Javon Ringer. Ringer has 1,373 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground this season, which leads the nation. Michigan State often uses two tight ends and a fullback to get maximum blocking. While the run game is the Spartans’ strength on offense, it is also a weakness on defense, as they are allowing 138 yards per game on the ground.
Wisconsin needs two more wins to be eligible for a bowl game, and this would be a good start with only three games afterwards (including a match up with No. 17 Minnesota.) The Spartans can ensure at least a tie for the Big Ten championship if they win out. So this game has big implications for both teams. Michigan State opened as 5.5 point favorites at Pinnacle, and they’re receiving 73% of the public spread bets and 82% of parlay bets. The line moved toward Wisconsin during the week, which triggered a number of Smart Money plays on the Badgers, but the line moved back towards Michigan State at -5.5. We’re following the Smart Money plays, and taking Wisconsin and the points.
So, here’s a wrap-up of SportsInsights.com analysis for this week’s Games to Watch for NCAA Football Week 10.
Games to Watch (11-15-1)
It should be another exciting week for NCAA Football. Keep Sports Marketplace Games to Watch picks handy and your browser pointed to SportsInsights.com for the latest real-time updates, using our exclusive Sports Investing tools. Also check out our new feature Campus Reports for NCAA Football information you won’t find anywhere else. We’ll be back next Friday with the new edition of the NCAA Football Sports Marketwatch.
Enjoy the games!
Mike Norris at Sports Insights