Every week in this space, I have examined one football game that’s offering contrarian value to bettors. By using the tools available to Sportsbook Insider members, I have pinpointed the factors driving line movement and highlighted some of the best sharp money indicators.
The featured picks have gone 4-1 ATS this season, and I’ll look to build on that success this week. You can view all of my past analysis below:
- Wake Forest +5 at Duke (Win)
- Oklahoma +1.5 vs. Ohio State (Loss)
- Ole Miss +11 vs. Alabama (Win)
- Wisconsin +5 at Michigan State (Win)
- Clemson +1.5 vs. Louisville (Win)
In one of this week’s most interesting matchups, Notre Dame (2-3) opened as 1.5-point favorites against NC State (3-1) at the market-setting Bookmaker.eu. Early public money hammered the road favorite, with the Fighting Irish receiving 77% of spread bets and 60% of total dollars wagered.
Although Notre Dame is receiving overwhelming public support, it’s interesting to note that they have received over 80% of spread bets at the most “square” books (Sports Interaction and Sportsbook.com) while those percentages are more evenly split at our sharpest books (5Dimes and BetDSI).
The screenshot below shows the breakdown of our seven contributing sportsbooks.
Despite receiving overwhelming public support, Notre Dame has actually dropped from -1.5 to +3. That reverse line movement is an excellent indicator that early sharp money likes NC State. It’s also worth noting that the 4.5-point line move is tied for the second biggest this week (Maryland +2 to -3, Michigan -25.5 to -30).
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It’s a well-known fact that Notre Dame is one of the nation’s most public teams, having received a majority of spread bets in nearly two-thirds of their games. Sportsbooks typically shade their opening lines knowing that casual fans will line up to take the Fighting Irish — oftentimes regardless of the line.
My research found that it’s been highly lucrative to fade Notre Dame when they’re receiving public support. Since 2005 they have gone 42-50 ATS (45.6%) when receiving at least 50% of spread bets, 26-40 ATS (39.4%) when receiving at least 60% of spread bets and 11-19 ATS (36.7%) when receiving at least 70% of spread bets.
Over the past several weeks, we have highlighted the value of fading the trendy underdog. Historically we have found that bettors tend to hammer favorites, with a majority of spread bets taking the chalk in 82.36% games over the past twelve seasons. In the rare instances that public bettors are willing to back the underdog, there’s been tremendous value going against the grain and taking the favorite.
Since 2005, underdogs receiving at least 70% of spread bets have gone just 39-51 ATS (43.3%). The value of betting against the public is magnified in heavily bet college football games, so when we only focus on those games that record moved to 21-32 ATS (39.6%). In other words, the Wolfpack (-3) are an excellent value as a contrarian favorite.
Fading the trendy underdog has been particularly profitable this season. My research found that favorites receiving less than 50% of spread bets have gone 32-20 ATS while favorites receiving less than 40% of spread bets have gone 6-2 ATS. Focusing solely on the most heavily bet games, favorites receiving less than 50% of spread bets have gone 20-10 ATS while favorites receiving less than 40% of spread bets have gone 4-1 ATS.
We should also note that parlay percentage, which is available exclusively to Sportsbook Insider subscribers, is an excellent indicator of square money. You won’t find many sharps betting parlays since they’re usually a losing proposition. At the time of publication, 87% of bettors who parlayed or teased this game had taken Notre Dame.
Although the Wolfpack are listed as 3-point favorites at Bookmaker, several sportsbooks are offering NC State -2.5. This highlights the importance of having access to multiple books and always shopping for the best line before placing a wager.
It’s also worth noting that there have been several bet signals triggered on NC State, although most of them came earlier in the week when they were still listed as underdogs. Regardless, this combination of steam moves and reverse line movement alerts indicate that sharp bettors love the Wolfpack.
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This looks like the quintessential example of “Sharps vs. Squares” or, if you prefer, “Pros vs. Joes.” Casual bettors like name-brand schools like Notre Dame, but sharp bettors are backing NC State. In one of this week’s most heavily bet games, I love the value on NC State -2.5.
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