The 2015 College Football season kicked off on Thursday night with a slew of great games including Florida International (closed +10.5) upsetting Central Florida and Utah (closed -5) defeating Michigan 24-14 to ruin Jim Harbaugh’s debut as the Wolverines head coach.
Even with all of this exciting action, most bettors seem to be viewing Saturday as the true start to the new season. Although Wisconsin/Alabama may be the marquee game for fans, there are five games with far more interesting trends and line movement to analyze.
UTEP at Arkansas (3:30 PM eastern)
Arkansas opened as a 33-point favorite at Pinnacle and, according to the public betting trends available on our free odds page, are currently receiving 78% of spread bets. Despite this lopsided betting, the line has not moved and remains Arkansas -33 across the sports betting marketplace. This would indicate that one of two things is happening:
- There are enough large bets on UTEP that oddsmakers have been able to balance their books and mitigate the influx of public money.
- There has been more money placed on Arkansas and oddsmakers are content because they believe UTEP +33 is the better bet.
Either way this game fits into our betting against the public philosophy, which would indicate that UTEP is offering value. Additionally, Arkansas is ranked 18th in the latest AP Top 25 rankings. One of our recent articles analyzed how teams ranked from 15-25 have been vastly overvalued — especially when they’re receiving a majority of public bets. This further indicates that UTEP could be a potentially sharp bet on Saturday.
Florida Atlantic at Tulsa (3:30 PM eastern)
At the time of publication, an overwhelming 91% of bettors were taking the over in Saturday’s game between Florida Atlantic and Tulsa. This lopsided public betting has moved the total six points from 62 to 68.
There were a number of bet signals triggered on this game including a steam move from 5Dimes, one of our most profitable books for College Football, on Over 62. There were additional steam moves triggered at 64.5 (BetOnline) and 65.5 (Pinnacle) before the line settled at 68.
This would indicate that both square and sharp bettors loved the over in this matchup, however, most of that value has now been sucked out. Knowing which side sharp money likes is important, but getting the best number is a huge part of being a profitable sports bettor.
The table below, which is available to Sportsbook Insider members, displays how the total has moved at Pinnacle:
Virginia at UCLA (3:30 PM eastern)
In the most evenly bet game of the weekend, UCLA opened as a 17-point home favorite and are currently receiving 50% of spread bets. Despite this even split, the Bruins have moved from -17 to -19.5 at Pinnacle. This is particularly noteworthy since 17 is considered to be a key number for football bettors.
Texas State at Florida State (8:00 PM eastern)
Despite the loss of former Heisman winner and #1 overall draft pick Jameis Winston, bettors remain optimistic about the Seminoles this season. Florida State opened as a 29.5-point favorite at Pinnacle and are currently receiving 77% of spread bets. Despite receiving a majority of public support, Florida State has dropped from -29.5 to -29. This reverse line movement indicates that sharp money may like Texas State in this matchup.
Additionally, Texas State fits the criteria outlined in our 2014 College Football Betting Against the Public Report. This system had posted a 205-163 ATS record (+32 units, 8.7% ROI) entering last season.
The screenshot below displays the current public betting trends at six of our contributing sportsbooks:
Mississippi State at Southern Miss (10 PM eastern)
In Saturday’s most heavily bet game, Mississippi State opened as a 23-point favorite and are currently receiving 75% of spread bets. Despite this one-sided public betting, Mississippi State has dropped from -23 to -21. This reverse line movement once again indicates that sharp bettors are taking Southern Miss.
In our piece about Thursday and Friday’s games, we pointed out some of the ridiculous line movements that had occurred at BetOnline. Known as one of the more “square” offshore sportsbooks, BetOnline opened their College Football odds very early and with some very suspect numbers. Although the limits were small, we wanted to highlight the more absurd line moves since opening on July 2nd.
- Georgia Southern: +38 to +19 at West Virginia
- Florida Atlantic: +21 to +6 at Tulsa
- Old Dominion: +7 to -4.5 at Eastern Michigan
- Temple +14 to +6.5 vs. Penn State
- Texas State: +37 to +29 at Florida State
- Northern Illinois: -16 to -23 vs. UNLV
- Mississippi State: -13 to -20 at Southern Miss
These numbers are subject to change before kickoff, so bettors should be sure to visit our free College Football odds page for the latest lines, injuries, public betting trends and more.
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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@sportsinsights.com.
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