NCAAFB Marketwatch Week 13 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 13

Recapping Week 12

This is our first year providing the NCAA Football Marketwatch, and we finally produced another 3-0 week. Auburn wasn’t able pull the upset over Georgia, but they did beat the 10-point spread. Boston College held on for the outright win over Florida State, and Houston easily beat Tulsa 70-30 to complete our second 3-0 week.

If you enjoy the insights this column provides, please be sure to visit We are the leader in sports betting information and statistics.

Overall = 16-19-1 = 45.7%


We’ve got four top-25 match ups this weekend. The biggest involves two top-5 teams in a Big 12 showdown with huge implications for the conference and national championship picture. No. 2 Texas Tech travels to Norman to take on the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners. A win by the Red Raiders would leave them one win away from the Big 12 Championship Game, but a loss would likely create a three-way tie in the Big 12 South Division between Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Texas. Our second match up takes place between two teams hoping to break into the BCS. No. 14 BYU hopes to hand No. 7 Utah its first loss of the season and end their BCS hopes. In the Big Ten, No. 15 Michigan State travels to Happy Valley to take on No. 8 Penn State. The Spartans still have a shot at a Rose Bowl berth, but need a win and an Ohio State loss against Michigan. The final top-25 showdown takes place in the Big East between No. 20 Pittsburgh and No. 19 Cincinnati.

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 top-25 games, as well as the rivalry games as the season winds down. Mississippi-LSU, NC State-North Carolina, Illinois-Northwestern, and Tennessee-Vanderbilt 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 13 – Games to Watch

Boise State vs Nevada (11/22 4P)

Boise State can clinch the WAC title with a win this week, and they will also remain in contention for their second BCS bowl game in three seasons. The Broncos feature the nation’s second-best scoring defense (10.3 points per game) and rank 12th in total defense (285.5 yards per game.) Boise State features a balanced attack on offense, led by freshman quarterback Kellen Moore (20 touchdowns, 6 interceptions) and senior tailback Ian Johnson (NCAA record 54 career rushing touchdowns.) Last week the Broncos gained 315 yards on the ground against Idaho, despite Johnson only gaining 14 yards.

Nevada is trying to strengthen its bowl position with its third consecutive win. The Wolf Pack feature the nation’s top rushing offense and the No. 2 rushing defense. They average 325 yards per game on the ground; they are the only team in the nation to average over 300. The ground attack already features two 1,000 yard rushers in tailback Vai Taua (1,284 yards) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (1,017 yards), who are the top two rushers in the conference. The Wolf Pack defense allows and average of 63.9 yards on the ground. They also feature an intimidating pass rush, with defensive ends Dontay Moch and Kevin Basped (15.5 sacks combined.)

This could be another high-scoring affair after Boise State’s four overtime 69-67 victory last year. That game was the highest scoring affair in Football Subdivision Series history since official stats started being kept in 1937. Boise State opened as 6-point road favorites at Pinnacle and most other books tracked by Sports Insights. At Pinnacle the line remained Boise State -6, with only the money behind the spread changing, despite the Broncos receiving over 80% of spread bets and over 90% of parlay bets. At BetOnline, the line actually moved to Boise State -5.5 with the heavy public backing, and that triggered a Smart Money play on Nevada at BetOnline (26-15, +8.32). We like homedogs when they’re getting getting a touchdown, and there are still some books like The Pig and SIA offering the Wolf Pack +7.

Nevada +7  

Oregon State vs Arizona (11/22 7P)

Oregon State comes into this match up controlling its own destiny. If the Beavers can win their final two games, they are the Pac-10 Champions and will be playing in their first Rose Bowl since 1965. If they lose, there are a variety of bowl scenarios for Oregon State. The Beavers have won five straight behind a ground attack led by freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who leads the Pac-10 with 1233 yards. Oregon State’s defense has turned up the heat on opposing quarterbacks recently with 19 sacks during the five-game winning streak.

Arizona is bowl eligible for the first time in 10 years, but they suffered an embarrassing 55-45 loss last week to Oregon, while allowing 45 points and 411 yards to the Ducks in the first half. The Wildcats almost overcame a 31-point deficit, but they couldn’t make the final jump late. The defense had been ranked in the top-25 nationally recently, but last week’s loss didn’t help those rankings. Arizona’s offense can put up some points, as they average 39.7 points per game. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is a monster at 6’6″ and 260 pounds, and he has eight touchdowns on the season.

Arizona opened as 3-point home favorites despite last week’s showing against Oregon. So it’s no surprise that the Beavers are drawing huge backing from the public. Oregon State is garnering 68% of spread bets and 84% of parlay bets from the public. That backing has pushed the line to Arizona -2.5. The Wildcats are 4-1 at home this season, including 5-0 against the spread in Arizona Stadium. Oregon State may be looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Oregon and a Rose Bowl berth. We’ll take the home Wildcats to bounce back and end the Beavers win streak.

Arizona -2.5

Arkansas vs Mississippi State (11/22 2:30PM)

Arkansas comes in needing wins in its final two games to qualify for a bowl in Bobby Petrino’s first season as head coach. Even two wins won’t guarantee the Razorbacks a bowl berth. Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick suffered a head injury two weeks ago against South Carolina, and he was replaced by his brother Nathan Dick. Both quarterbacks could see action against the Bulldogs. The Razorbacks are giving up 166.2 rushing yards per game on the season.

Mississippi State couldn’t beat Alabama for the third consecutive season, and the loss ended any possibility for a bowl game. Head Coach Sylvester Croom is on the hot seat. The Bulldogs are only averaging 104.5 yards rushing per game. The passing game hasn’t fared much better with an 178.5 average. Their passing defense has been solid in giving up only 154.5 yards per game. The defense held No. 1 Alabama to their season averages in terms of yards last week, as 16 of the Crimson Tide’s 32 points can be blamed on MSU’s kicking game.

The game opened as a pick at Pinnacle, and it moved to Mississippi State -1.5 a few hours later. Since then the line has steadily moved in the other direction, and Arkansas is now a 1.5-point favorite. The Razorbacks are receiving 70% of the public’s spread bets and 52% of parlay bets. We’ll take another home underdog in Mississippi State.

Mississippi State +2 (ABC)

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

Games to Watch (16-19-1)
Nevada +7   
Arizona -2.5
Mississippi State +2 (ABC)

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