NCAAF Game of the Week: Wake Forest at Duke
Every week in this space, we will examine one football game that’s offering contrarian value to bettors. By using the tools available to Sportsbook Insider members, we will explain what factors are driving line movement and pinpoint which teams are being hammered by sharp money.
In one of this week’s most interesting matchups, Duke (1-0) opened as 7-point favorites against Wake Forest (1-0) at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook. Early public money hammered the home favorite, with the Blue Devils receiving 80% of spread bets and 88% of total dollars wagered.
Despite this one-sided public betting, Duke actually dropped from -7 to -5. That reverse line movement indicates that sharp money is taking the Demon Deacons.
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As you can see from the line chart above, there were two bet signals triggered on Wake Forest (+7) shortly after the line opened. Both of these moves yielded profitable returns in the first week of the season, and they validate our initial assertion that sharp bettors have pounded the road underdog in this matchup.
- Smart Money at BetOnline (3-0 ATS, +2.8 units)
- Steam Move at 5Dimes (18-6 ATS, +10.4 units)
Sportsbook Insider customers can receive steam moves or smart money alerts via email/text message, which allows them to quickly find another sportsbook that’s slow to adjust their lines. Consistently beating the line is crucial for long-term success, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that Wake Forest is still offering value.
We have frequently stated that home-field advantage is overvalued, especially in heavily bet games where public perception becomes a more significant factor. At the time of publication, we had tracked just over 3,500 total bets on this matchup, which makes it the fourth most popular game on Saturday.
Past research has also found that road underdogs perform extremely well in low-scoring games, which bodes well for Wake Forest. Since the start of the 2005 season, less than 11% of all games have finished with a closing total of 44 or lower. According to our friends at Bet Labs, road ‘dogs have gone 309-240 ATS (56.3%) in those games. The over/under for this game is currently 43.5, with 92% of total dollars wagered on the under.
Finally, my past analysis has found that road underdogs have been tremendously undervalued in conference rivalries. The familiarity between teams levels the playing field, and that disproportionately benefits the team getting points. Betting every road underdog against conference opponents isn’t profitable, but there has clearly been an edge in these games,
- Conference Game: 1,627-1,562 ATS (51.0%)
- Non-Conference Game: 1,134-1,145 ATS (49.8%)
Even after the two-point line move, Wake Forest currently fits the criteria for our 2014, 2015 and 2016 College Football Betting Against the Public system. It’s also worth pointing out that unranked road teams have gone 1,390-1,229 (53.1%) following a victory, and that winning percentage improves slightly when the team also failed to cover in their previous game. All of these factors point towards value on the Demon Deacons in this ACC showdown.
Finally, it’s fascinating to see how the public betting trends vary between our contributing sportsbooks. Right now Wake Forest is receiving the highest percentage of bets at 5Dimes and BetDSI — the two sharpest books we monitor. Conversely, they’re only receiving 2% of spread bets at Sports Interaction — arguably the most public book we track.
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, 90% of bettors who parlayed this game had taken Duke.
Sportsbook Insider Pro subscribers have access to real-time odds, public betting trends, money percentages, bet signals (including steam moves and reverse line movement alerts), injury alerts, value meter, line watcher, line predictor, and many other unique features. We also have six pending NCAAF Best Bets which are only available with an active Pro subscription.
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