NCAAFB Marketwatch Week 12 2008

by Mike Norris at Sports Insights

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the NCAA Football Marketwatch. The team at Sports Insights gives sports fans unprecedented insight into the NCAA Football point-spread market. If you ever wanted to know what was really happening on the sportsbook side, you now have an all-access pass with Sports Marketplace!

Every week we speak directly with the line managers at some of the sports betting industry’s largest sportsbooks about which games the public is chasing and the Sharps are pounding. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for this week in College Football.

Sports Marketplace – NCAA Week 12

Recapping Week 11

This is our first year providing the NCAA Football Marketwatch, we’ve been in a rut lately. Last week two of our picks couldn’t even keep the score close when Indiana was blown out by Wisconsin and Texas Tech piled on the points against Oklahoma State. Cincinnati came through for us, getting the upset win against West Virginia.

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Overall = 13-19-1 = 40.6%


There is only a single top-25 match up in college football this week, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of interesting games. In the SEC, No. 4 Florida hosts No. 25 South Carolina. The Ol’ Ball Coach returns to The Swamp in Gainesville hoping to put a dent in the Gators’ national championship hopes. Another SEC coach is returning to his alma mater hoping to damage their title hopes. Sylvester Croom and Mississippi State are traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 1 Alabama. Croom and the Bulldogs have defeated the Crimson Tide each of the past two seasons. There are also some key games to deciding conference championships. In the Mountain West Conference, No. 17 BYU (9-1) travels to take on Air Force (8-2). In the unpredictable ACC, No. 16 North Carolina heads north to play Maryland and No. 19 Florida State hosts Boston College.

Warning to all new readers of the NCAA Football Sports Marketwatch column: in order to follow our selections, you’ll need ice running through your veins. Be prepared to take up meditation or acupuncture to calm the nerves. The goal of this weekly column is to highlight games that offer true “line value.” Often, if a line looks too go to be true, there is a reason. The underlining theme every week is line value. You’ll consistently need the worst teams on the board to come through. We typically buy on bad news and sell on good.

We’re expecting heavy action on the lone top-25 game, as well as the games featuring big name schools. Texas at Kansas, Ohio State at Illinois, Notre Dame at Navy, Georgia at Auburn, and the Mississippi State-Alabama showdown should all garner attention from the betting public. Visit to view wagering statistics on NCAA games from multiple online sportsbooks. Here is a trio of line value games we are keying on.

NCAA Sports MarketWatch Week 12 – Games to Watch

Georgia vs Auburn (11/15 12:30P)

Georgia came into the season ranked No. 1, but they were blown out by both Alabama and Florida to end any chance at a national championship. The Bulldogs have a high-powered offense led by a talented trio at the skill positions. Quarterback Matthew Stafford, tailback Knowshon Moreno, and wide receiver A.J. Green are the main reasons Georgia leads the SEC in total offense. The Bulldogs exploded last week for 520 yards against Kentucky. With this team, defense is the weak link. They allow 24.9 points per game, which is 11th in the SEC. They escaped last week with a win after Stafford’s touchdown pass to Green with 1:48 left.

Auburn came into the season with a top-10 ranking and a new spread offense that was supposed to put up a lot of points. The offense never developed, and they quickly dropped out of the rankings after a four-game losing streak. They ended that streak last week with a 37-20 win against Tennessee-Martin, in which they reached their highest point output for the season. The Tigers settled on Kodi Burns at quarterback three games ago, and that move improved the offensive numbers. They have gained 1,114 yards in those three games behind the dual threat Burns. The Tigers strength is defense, and they’re allowing an average of 16.3 points per game.

Georgia opened as 8-point favorites at Pinnacle, and the line remained there until early Wednesday despite the overwhelming majority of bettors behind the Dawgs. Since the the line has moved to Georgia -9.5, with the Bulldogs receiving 75% of spread bets and 87% of parlay bets. The movement has triggered multiple Smart Money plays on Auburn, all with positive results. We’re going to follow the Smart Money and take the home underdog.

Auburn +10  

Boston College vs Florida State (11/15 8P)

Boston College bounced back from back-to-back conference losses with a 17-0 win over Notre Dame last week. The Eagles posted their third shutout of the season last week, and the strength of the team is on that side of the ball. BC is allowing under 17 points per contest. The loss of first round pick Matt Ryan at quarterback has left BC’s offense in bad shape, as they rank 95th nationally in total offense. The Eagles control their own destiny in the ACC. With wins in their final three games against Florida State, Wake Forest and Maryland, the Eagles will secure a trip to the ACC Championship game and a possible BCS Bowl.

No. 20 Florida State has returned to its usual perch in the top ranks of the ACC. They are doing it behind one of the nation’s best running attacks, which averages 205.2 yards per game. No single player is doing all the work, as four players have at least 200 yards rushing on the season, including quarterback Christian Ponder. Their defense has also keyed the return to relevance in the ACC. The Seminoles are allowing 100 fewer yards of offense than they did last season. A key has been the third down defense, as they allow opponents to convert only 18 percent of third down attempts.

The top-25 ranked Seminoles opened as a touchdown favorite at Pinnacle, and the line remained there until Wednesday when it dropped to Florida State -6.5. The change occured with the Seminoles receiving 67% of spread bets and 80% of parlay bets from the public. The moves triggered a Smart Money play at The Pig (56-49, +1.9 units.) We’re going to follow the Smart Money and take BC with the points.

Boston College +6.5

Tulsa vs Houston (11/15 8PM)

No. 23 Tulsa had its BCS bubble burst two weeks ago with a 30-23 loss to Arkansas. The Golden Hurricane had been undefeated and were 18th in the BCS Standings. They hope to rebound and gain the inside track in the Conference USA West Division race. The are currently ahead of Rice and Houston. Tulsa’s offense is averaging 52 points and 593 total yards per game. Senior quarterback David Johnson has thrown for 33 touchdowns against only 10 interceptions. The Golden Hurricane defense is also solid, leading the conference in rushing defense. They went into last week’s bye tied for second in the nation with 31 sacks.

Houston is coming off a lop-sided 42-14 win against Tulane, in which the Cougars gained a season-high 693 yards of offense. Sophomore quarterback Case Keenum has thrown for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns in each game this season. He has 29 touchdown passes against nine interceptions. Keenum has the Cougars passing attack ranked second nationally. Houston’s defense is allowing an average of 385 yards per game. Defensive end Philip Hunt is ranked third in the NCAA with 10 sacks on the season.

Tulsa opened as 5.5-point favorites at Pinnacle, and they are receiving 62% of spread bets and 76% of parlay bets. Despite that level of backing the line has dropped to Tulsa -4. That movement has triggered some Smart Money plays, including one at Bodog (14-6, +6.65 units), and a pair of Steam Moves on Houston. We’ll again follow the Smart Money and take the home underdog, especially with some 4.5-point lines still out there.

Houston +4.5 (Phoenix)

So, here’s a wrap-up of analysis for this week’s Games to Watch for NCAA Football Week 12.

Games to Watch (13-19-1)
Auburn +10   
Boston College +6.5
Houston +4.5 (Phoenix)

It should be another exciting week for NCAA Football. Keep Sports Marketplace Games to Watch picks handy and your browser pointed to for the latest real-time updates, using our exclusive Sports Investing tools. Also check out our new feature Campus Reports for NCAA Football information you won’t find anywhere else. We’ll be back next Friday with the new edition of the NCAA Football Sports Marketwatch.

Enjoy the games!

Mike Norris at Sports Insights