Last week in this space, we examined how reverse line movement indicated that sharp money was taking Texas Tech as a 7-point underdog against TCU. Although the Horned Frogs won the game 55-52, the Red Raiders were able to cover the spread. This week, we’ll once again focus on the most bet game of the week as #8 Georgia hosts #13 Alabama.
This game is particularly interesting because Alabama actually opened as a 2-point underdog at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook. This marks the first time that Alabama has been an underdog since December 9, 2009 against Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators.
Bettors have jumped at this rare opportunity to take Alabama as an underdog. At the time of publication, 65% of spread bets and 82% of moneyline bets had taken the Crimson Tide. Despite receiving a majority of public bets, Alabama had actually moved from +2 to +2.5. This reverse line movement indicates that sharp money is taking Georgia.
There are a number of additional factors to support this line movement. Since 2003, the favorite has gone 243-203 ATS (54.5%) when two ranked teams play each other. When the favorite is also receiving less than 50% of public support, that system improves to 91-69 ATS (56.9%).
While sharp money appears to be taking the Bulldogs, there’s also some interesting line movement on the total which opened at 52 at Pinnacle. In another rare occurrence, 72% of public bets have taken the under yet the total has increased from 52 to 53. This reverse line movement would indicate that sharp money likes the over.
Historically bettors tend to pound favorites and overs, so seeing this level of public betting on the under comes as a major surprise. Since 2005, the over has gone just 3,871-3,938 (49.6%) including regular season and postseason games. In those 7,809 games, there have been fewer than 50% of public bettors on the over just 1,001 times — roughly 12.8% of all games.
Taking it a step further, there have been just 124 games in which less than 30% of public bets took the over. In those games, the over has gone 68-56 (54.8%) with +7.74 units won. Although this is a fairly small sample size, it does seem to indicate that there may be value on the over in this game.
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.