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 7
Recapping Week 6
This is our first year providing the NCAA Football Marketwatch, and we have fallen below .500 for the first time after last week’s 0-3 effort. Kansas State fell behind early and couldn’t make up the large deficit against Texas Tech. It was the same story for Nebraska against Missouri. Wisconsin looked like they were going to pull the upset against Ohio State, but a last-minute Tyrelle Pryor touchdown was too much for the Badgers.
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Overall = 8-10 = 44.4%
NCAA WEEK 7
We’ve got a trio of top-25 matchups this week, with two of them taking place in the Big 12. The biggest game appears to be the Red River Rivalry between No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 5 Texas. The Sooners look like a powerhouse, and the Longhorns are looking to prove they are a national title contender. Also taking place in the Big 12, No. 17 Oklahoma State travels to No. 3 Missouri. Both teams come in at 5-0 and have offenses ranked in the top 3 nationally. The other top-25 face-off takes place in the SEC as No. 4 and undefeated LSU travels to the Swamp to take on No. 11 Florida.
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 match ups. Other games that should draw lots of action include Notre Dame at No. 22 North Carolina, No. 6 Penn State at Wisconsin, and Tennessee at No. 10 Georgia. 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 7 – Games to Watch
East Carolina vs Virginia (10/11 12P)
East Carolina came out of the gate in the 2008 season with two huge upsets over Virginia Tech and West Virginia. These wins moved the Pirates into the top 15, but after that they escaped Tulane with a close win before losing two straight to North Carolina State and Houston. That made three straight disappointing efforts heading into their bye week. Their defense has become much more porous since losing linebacker Quentin Cotton during the Tulane game. They allowed 30 points to the Wolfpack and 41 to the Cougars. The Pirates’ offense is led by QB Patrick Pickney, who has completed almost 70% of his passes and compiled over 1,000 yards.
Virginia was looking awful heading into last week’s ACC match up with Maryland, but the Cavaliers pulled out a stunning 31-0 upset over the Terrapins. Virginia QB Marc Verica made his third start since Peter Lalich was kicked off the team, and he displayed the ability to run the Cavs offense by completing 25 of 34 passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns through the air. The Cavalier defense pitched their second shutout of the season, but they still allowed over 300 yards to the Terrapins.
East Carolina is coming off two losses and a bye week as they travel to Charlottesville. Skip Holtz should have his team prepared to bounce back from those disappointments. The Pirates opened as -4.5 favorites at Pinnacle, but the line has moved to East Carolina -6.5 as they are receiving around 70% of spread bets from the books tracked by Sports Insights. The line movement triggered multiple Steam Moves from books with positive results. We’ll take a hungry Pirates team looking to prove itself against a Cavalier team coming off a huge blowout win.
East Carolina -6.5
Tennessee vs Georgia (10/11 3:30P)
Tennessee is struggling this season as they sit at 2-3 overall and 0-2 in SEC play. The Volunteers are coming off a sloppy 13-9 win over Northern Illinois. Sophomore Nick Stephens made his first collegiate start in that game and was effective enough to earn the win. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown. The Volunteers also plan to utilize WR Gerald Jones’ athleticism with a direct snap formation. The defense was effective against Northern Illinois as they held the Huskies to three field goals.
Georgia’s bye week gave the Bulldogs an extra week to prepare for this SEC matchup after being blown out by Alabama at home two weeks ago. Head Coach Mark Richt was tougher on his team over the last two weeks due to a habit of committing costly penalties. They are averaging 87.4 penalty yards per game on the season. Tailback and Heisman Trophy candidate Knowshon Moreno is expected to play through an elbow injury. He is hoping to fare better against the Volunteers than he did last season when he produced a career-low 30 yards on 13 carries.
Georgia opened as -13 favorites at Pinnacle as Tennessee travels to play between the hedges. The line moved to Georgia -12 shortly after opening, and it has remained there across the marketplace. We like the line moving down in Georgia’s favor as they’re coming off that huge loss to Alabama. We’ll take the Dawgs when there are still some books, such as SIA, offering Georgia -12.
Georgia -12 (SIA)
Middle Tennessee State vs Florida International (10/4 9PM)
Middle Tennessee shocked many people with a win against Maryland earlier in the season. Since then they have scored exactly 14 points in each of their three games, only winning against lowly Florida Atlantic 14-13. The Blue Raiders needed a late touchdown to pull out that win at home. The MTSU defense has forced 12 turnovers on the season, while the offense has committed 8. The Blue Raiders are currently 0-2 on the road.
Florida International plays their second home game in their new FIU stadium. In their home opener the Golden Panthers hung with then-No. 12 South Florida before falling 17-9. Since that close loss, FIU has won two roads games by convincing scores over Toledo and North Texas. Freshman T.Y. Hilton is a big play WR. He has 284 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 8 receptions for the season. He also gets the occasional carry, but he has yet to break a long run.
The game opened as a Pick at Pinnacle and other books tracked by Sports Insights, but it has since moved to Florida International -2 at most books. There isn’t a huge discrepancy in the public betting percentages, but the Golden Panthers are receiving 54% of spread bets. Florida International has received multiple Steam Move triggers from books with winning records. We’re going to follow the Steam and take the Golden Panthers at home only giving up a few points.
Florida International -2
So, here’s a wrap-up of SportsInsights.com analysis for this week’s Games to Watch for NCAA Football Week 4.
Games to Watch (8-7)
East Carolina -6.5
Georgia -12 (SIA)
Florida International -2
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
Enjoy the games!
Mike Norris at Sports Insights