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 14
Recapping Week 13
This is our first year providing the NCAA Football Marketwatch, and we went 1-1-1 in three very close games last week. Nevada fell behind to Boise State in the first half, but they made a late charge to lose by 7 for a push. Mississippi State held on for a 31-28 win, after Arkansas recovered an onside kick in the last minute and missed a game-tying field goal attempt. Arizona allowed a late touchdown to Oregon State, and the game appeared to be headed to overtime. OSU missed the extra point, stopped Arizona on defense, and then drove down the field for a game-winning field goal as time expired.
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Overall = 17-20-2 = 45.9%
NCAA WEEK 14
The week of Thanksgiving is a big rivalry week in college football, and many games carry significant post-season implications. No. 1 Alabama has clinched a sport in the SEC title game, but they are looking to stay undefeated as they host Auburn in the Iron Bowl. No. 2 Texas and No. 3 Oklahoma are battling for a spot in the Big XII Championship Game as they play their in-state rivals. The Longhorns host The Texas A&M Aggies in Austin on Thursday night. The Sooners have a tougher test as they travel to Stillwater to take on No. 12 Oklahoma State. We have three other rivalry games that feature top-25 teams facing off. No. 4 Florida prepares for the SEC Championship by traveling to Tallahassee to take on No. 20 Florida State. No. 11 Georgia plays host to No. 22 Georgia Tech in another ACC-SEC showdown. No. 17 Oregon State can clinch a Rose Bowl spot with a win over No. 23 Oregon in Corvallis.
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 top-25 games, as well as the other big rivalry games. Notre Dame-USC, Virginia-Virginia Tech, South Carolina-Clemson, Kansas-Missouri, and Maryland-Boston College should all draw heavy interest from the betting public. 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 14 – Games to Watch
Colorado vs Nebraska (11/28 3:30P)
Colorado needs another victory to become bowl eligible as they come into the match up with Nebraska at 5-6 overall. The Buffalos have lacked consistency on offense, and they have changed quarterback choices multiple times. At the moment it seems sophomore Cody Hawkins has reclaimed the job. Colorado also lacks a reliable kicker, which has created more fourth down attempts than normal (16-23 on fourth downs). The Buffalos defense has been solid, but they don’t create many turnovers with only 15 on the season.
Nebraska doesn’t have much on the line against Colorado other than strengthening bowl positioning. A win will likely place them in the Gator Bowl on January 1st. The Huskers have won four out of their last five following a three-game losing streak that ended in October. Nebraska is ranked 10th nationally in total yards, and they are also in the top-20 in scoring, averaging 35.8 points per game. Nebraska’s defensive line has collected nine sacks in his last two games, wins over Kansas and Kansas State. Quarterback Joe Ganz comes into the game ranked 12th nationally with an average of 282.1 passing yards per game.
Nebraska opened as 15-point home favorites at Pinnacle, and the line has steadily moved to Nebraska -18. The Huskers are receiving 61% of spread bets and 77% of parlay bets. We saw a move in the line from Nebraska -17 to -16.5 at WSEX (15-9, +4.6 units), which was the start of a Steam Move for Colorado. We’ll follow the positive steam, and take Colorado with the points.
Nevada vs Louisiana Tech (11/29 2:30P)
Nevada fell just short in a rally against undefeated and BCS-bound Boise State last week, as they lost by a touchdown. The Wolf Pack rank5th nationally in total offense with 522.2 yards per game, and they are the top rushing team in the nation with 308.5 yards per game. Nevada allows 31.5 points per game. The rushing defense is second in the nation, giving up 64.5 yards per game, but the passing defense ranks dead last nationally by allowing 326.8 yards per game. .
Louisiana Tech comes in at 7-4 with a chance to finish second in the WAC and a shot at their first bowl game since 2001. The Bulldogs have won four straight and are looking to remain undefeated at home. Tech’s passing offense ranks 112th in the nation, and the strength of their team is the tailback duo of Daniel Porter and Patrick Johnson. Both backs are nursing injuries, but will be ready to play this weekend. The Bulldogs’ defense is allowing an average of 100.1 yards per game on the ground.
Nevada opened as 3.5-point favorites at Pinnacle, despite Louisiana Tech have the better overall record. Nevada has faced some tough opponents this season, with games against Texas Tech, Missouri and Boise State. This national exposure is probably a one reason the public is so strongly behind the Wolf Pack; another may be the high-scoring offense. The line has fluctuated between Nevada -3.5 and -5.5 at most books tracked by Sports Insights. The Wolf Pack are receiving a whopping 91% of spread bets and 90% of parlay bets. The line fluctuation and the strong Nevada backing has triggered multiple Smart Money plays on the Bulldogs, including one at BetOnline (28-18, +7.12).
Louisiana Tech +5 (The Pig)
Maryland vs Boston College (11/29 3:30PM)
Maryland is coming off a home loss to Florida State that finished off any chance the Terrapins had at a berth in the ACC Championship Game. Maryland still has a reason to play hard because a win will still mean a tie for the top record in the ACC Atlantic Division (which they would lose in a tiebreaker.) The Terrapins have been a tough team to predict this season, as they have beaten four ranked teams, while losing to four unranked teams. Maryland’s ground attack is the strength of its offense, with a pair of strong tailbacks in Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett. The Terrapins have had some issues defending mobile quarterbacks this season, and they are allowing 147 rushing yards per game.
Boston College can clinch the ACC Atlantic Division and a berth in the ACC Championship Game with a win this week. The Eagles lost starting quarterback Chris Crane to a broken collarbone last week, but backup Dominique Davis led BC on a 70-yard game-winning drive against Wake Forest last week. The win pushed their winning streak to three games. BC ranks 95th in total offense, but they are 55th in scoring offense. The Eagles ranks fifth in the nation in total defense, and they lead the nation in interceptions.
Boston College opened as 6.5-point favorites at Pinnacle and most books tracked by Sports Insights. The line has moved between BC -6 and -7 throughout the marketplace, and the movement triggered a Steam Move on Maryland at ABC (70-57, +6.5 units). Early in the week, the Eagles were drawing heavy public backing, but late Wednesday that started shifting. Maryland is now drawing 54% of the public’s spread bets, but the Eagles are receiving 72% of parlay bets. The numbers earlier in the week triggered a Smart Money play on the Terrapins at The Pig (113-99, +.2.7 units).
Maryland +7 (Bodog)
So, here’s a wrap-up of SportsInsights.com analysis for this week’s Games to Watch for NCAA Football Week 14.
Games to Watch (17-20-2)
Louisiana Tech +5
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