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 9
Recapping Week 8
This is our first year providing the NCAA Football Marketwatch, and our bad luck has continued as we’ve reached the mid-point of the season. We suffered our second 0-3 week of the season last week. We took UConn -1 on Friday morning, and the Huskies lost 12-10. Hopefully readers were lucky enough to get UConn +2.5, which is where the game closed, and pick up the win we missed. Clemson couldn’t hold a 4th quarter lead against Georgia Tech, and a late drive stalled due to penalties as the Tigers lost by 4. Duke had a small halftime lead, but Miami exploded with 35 points in the second half for the huge win.
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Overall = 9-14-1 = 39.1%
NCAA WEEK 9
No. 1 Texas continues their brutal schedule, as they face a third straight top-15 opponent with a fourth looming next week. The Longhorns host No. 6 Oklahoma State in Austin. Also in the Big 12, No. 8 Texas Tech gets a tough test in their warm up for next week’s game against the Longhorns, as they travel to No. 23 Kansas. A second top-10 face-off occurs in the Big Ten, with No. 3 Penn State travelling to the Horseshoe to take on No. 9 Ohio State. The Nittany Lions will look to remain undefeated and in the National Championship picture, while the Buckeyes hope to jump back into the running. In the SEC, No. 7 Georgia takes the trip down to the bayou to face No. 13 LSU. Both teams are still in contention for the SEC
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 No. 2 Alabama versus Tennessee, No. 5 USC versus Arizona, and Michigan State versus Michigan. 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 9 – Games to Watch
Oklahoma State vs Texas (10/25 3:30P)
Oklahoma State’s best start since 1945 has moved the Cowboys up to No. 7 in the polls after starting the season unranked. They are the fourth-highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 46.4 points per game. Their rushing attack is gaining over 280 yards per game, but will have to face a Texas defense only allowing 48.1 rushing yards per contest. The team’s top three rushers all average over 6 ypc, and starter Kendall Hunter needs only 45 yards to break the 1,000 mark for the season. Quarterback Zac Robinson has played well with 14 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions and completing 70% of his passes. The Cowboys have only played in one close game this season, and that was the 28-23 upset win over then-No. 3 Missouri.
Texas gets its third straight ranked Big 12 opponent after handling Oklahoma and Missouri. The Longhorns are led by Heisman candidate Colt McCoy, who leads the nation with an 81.2% completion percentage. McCoy has thrown for 1894 yards with 19 touchdowns and 3 picks, and he also has 371 yards (a team high) and 6 TD on the ground. Senior WR Jordan Shipley has been McCoy’s favorite scoring target with 9 TD grabs. The Texas defense has been bend-but-don’t-break when it comes to the passing game. They are giving up 275 yards per game through the air, which is ninth worst in the FBS.
Both teams come in undefeated, and both are also undefeated against the spread. One will fall this weekend, and the public is slightly favoring Texas in spread bets at 57%. Parlay bets are more strongly behind the Longhorns at 66%. At Pinnacle the line opened at Texas -12.5 and has fluctuated between -12 and -13. The movement triggered a Smart Money play on the Cowboys at Bodog, which has a 17-7 record for NCAA football. The stats are evenly matched between these teams, so we’ll follow the Smart Money and take the Cowboys with the points.
Oklahoma State +12.5 (ThePig)
Wake Forest vs Miami (FL) (10/25 12P)
Wake Forest is coming of a disappointing 26-0 loss at Maryland that dropped them out of the top 25 rankings. Junior quarterback Riley Skinner has been slumping of late with only two touchdown passes and four interceptions in his last four games. He only completed 46.7% of his passes against Maryland. Part of the problem for the Demon Deacons is the lack of a consistent running game to take pressure off Skinner. Sophomore Josh Adams is the team’s leading rusher and has only gained 246 yards while averaging 3.1 ypc. The Deac’s defense, which starts eight seniors and three juniors, was allowing only 15 points per game until last week’s debacle.
Miami put up 35 points in the second half to overcome a 10-point deficit in last week’s win at Duke. The Hurricanes made a quarterback switch during the second quarter, and the move sparked the offense. Freshman Jacory Harris ended the game with five total touchdowns, with four coming through the air. Harris won’t make the start this week, but he will see playing time. If starter Robert Marve struggles, watch for Harris to get the majority of the snaps. The win was Miami’s first inside the competitive ACC this season, and gives them a glimmer of hope in the conference standings. The Canes defense doesn’t give up a lot of yardage, only 287 yards per game, but they have a tendency to allow big plays.
Both teams struggle defensively in the red zone, with Miami ranking last in the ACC and Wake next-to-last. This game could come down to red zone opportunities and conversions. The Deacons actually average more yards per game on offense than the Canes, but Miami is putting up 32.6 points per game compared to 18.7 for Wake Forest. Miami opened as 2.5 point favorites at Pinnacle, and the line has returned there after moving to Miami -3 during the middle of the week. The Canes are receiving 63% of the public’s spread and parlay bets. The return of the line to Miami -2.5 and the betting percentage is an indication of Smart Money. We’re going to follow that and buy low and a good Wake Forest team.
Wake Forest +2.5
Rutgers vs Pittsburgh (10/25 3:30PM)
Rutgers has been one of the most disappointing teams in the nation this season, but they are coming off a big win over UConn. In that game the Scarlet Knight defense held FBS leading rusher Donald Brown to a season-low 107 yards. The Rutgers offense isn’t a juggernaut, but they do put up a respectable 314.7 yards per game. Unfortunately they are only averaging 16.7 points per game, while the defense allows 19.7 points. Last week quarterback Mike Teel moved up to second on the school’s all-time passing yards list. Junior WR Kenny Britt had nine catches and 107 receiving yards against UConn, which was his third 100-yard game this season.
Pittsburgh jumped up to a 17th ranking after their best offensive display in two years. The Panthers compiled 499 yards and 42 points last week against Navy. Pittsburgh features the Big East’s second-leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, who has 689 yards and 10 touchdowns. Quarterback Bill Stull has been steady behind center, while completing 58.5% of his passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions. The Panthers defense has held opponents to 287 yards per game and only 156.5 yards through the air. Pittsburgh is looking for it’s sixth straight win, which it hasn’t done since 1983.
Pittsburgh opened as 10-point favorites at Pinnacle following last week’s strong performance. The public is backing the Panthers with 67% of spread bets and a whopping 89% of parlay bets, but the line dropped as low as Pittsburgh -8 before climbing back to -10. This is an indication of some Smart Money behind the Scarlet Knights. The movement also triggered a Steam Move on Rutgers by Bet Jamaica (90-67.) Pittsburgh is also 0-3 at home against the spread this season. We’ll follow that Steam and back Rutgers with the points.
So, here’s a wrap-up of SportsInsights.com analysis for this week’s Games to Watch for NCAA Football Week 9.
Games to Watch (9-14-1)
Oklahoma State +12.5 (ThePig)
Wake Forest +2.5
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