How is Public Money Affecting the Alabama-Ole Miss Line?
In one of last season’s most memorable upsets, Chad Kelly tallied 341 passing yards and four total touchdowns as Mississippi defeated Alabama 43-37. The game was largely affected by the turnover battle, as the Crimson Tide committed 5 turnovers while the Rebels didn’t commit any. That marked the second consecutive season that Ole Miss beat Alabama.
It’s interesting to note that the Rebels have fared incredibly well against the Crimson Tide — particularly for spread bettors. Since 2005, Ole Miss has won just 2 of 11 games against Alabama, but they’ve gone 8-3 ATS (72.7%) during that time. Over that stretch, ‘Bama has been the favorite and received a majority of spread bets in every single head-to-head matchup.
The table below displays the Ole Miss opening and closing line at Pinnacle, along with the public betting trends from our contributing sportsbooks.
|Date||Home Team||Visitor Team||Opening Line||Closing Line||Public Betting||Final Score|
|9/19/15||Alabama||Ole Miss||+6.5||+7.5||44%||43-37 MISS|
|10/4/14||Ole Miss||Alabama||+4.5||+4||26%||23-17 MISS|
|9/28/13||Alabama||Ole Miss||+17||+14||38%||25-0 BAMA|
|9/29/12||Alabama||Ole Miss||+31.5||+31||29%||33-14 BAMA|
|10/15/11||Ole Miss||Alabama||+24.5||+27||13%||52-7 BAMA|
|10/16/10||Alabama||Ole Miss||+20||+20||28%||23-10 BAMA|
|10/10/09||Ole Miss||Alabama||+6.5||+4||26%||22-3 BAMA|
|10/18/08||Alabama||Ole Miss||+13.5||+12.5||42%||24-20 BAMA|
|10/13/07||Ole Miss||Alabama||+6.5||+6.5||44%||27-24 BAMA|
|10/14/06||Alabama||Ole Miss||+14||+15.5||36%||26-23 BAMA|
|10/15/05||Ole Miss||Alabama||+12.5||+14||18%||13-10 BAMA|
Despite their past ATS success and two consecutive straight up victories, oddsmakers aren’t optimistic about the Rebels’ prospects on Saturday.
Alabama opened as 9.5-point favorites at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook and public money has been hammering the Crimson Tide. According to our public betting trends, 75% of spread tickets and 81% of total dollars wagered have taken the road favorite. This one-sided public betting has caused Alabama to move from -9.5 to -11.
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As you can see, public money has been steadily pounding Alabama all week which has caused this 1.5-point line move. This is particularly noteworthy since “10” is considered one of the most significant key numbers for football bettors.
Of course, it’s hardly surprising to see Alabama receiving overwhelming public support. Since 2005, Alabama has received a majority of public support in 76.55% of their games. When they’re also the favorite, that figure jumps to 81.89%. In fact, Alabama has been the third most public team in our database — trailing only Boise State and Oregon.
Our past research has conclusively proven that betting against the public will produce a positive return on investment, but the optimal threshold varies from sport to sport. For college sports there’s another wrinkle since the value derived from betting against the public fluctuates greatly depending on the number of bets placed.
After examining every game played since the start of the 2005 season, I found that teams receiving less than 35% of spread bets have gone just 2010-2134 ATS (48.5%). When the number of bets placed is at least equal to the daily average, that record improves to 852-839 ATS (50.4%). When the number of bets placed is at least 2.5-times the daily average, that record skyrockets to 100-76 ATS (56.8%).
Based on this trend, Ole Miss (+11) is offering contrarian value as a home underdog in this heavily bet game. It’s worth noting that although home-field advantage has been historically overvalued by college football bettors, the exact opposite is true when betting against the public.
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