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 8
Recapping Week 7
This is our first year providing the NCAA Football Marketwatch, and we weren’t able to climb out from below .500 with last week’s 1-1-1 showing. East Carolina got steamrolled by Virginia to give us an ugly loss. Georgia scored 6 points in the fourth quarter to give us a push against Tennessee. Florida International gave us our lone win as they easily covered by defeating Middle Tennessee State by 10.
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Overall = 9-11-1 = 45%
NCAA WEEK 8
Newly minted No. 1 Texas doesn’t get much of a break as they play host to No. 11 Missouri. Both teams are coming off top-25 matchups from last week with different outcomes. The Longhorns upset then No. 1 Oklahoma to leap frog No. 2 Alabama for this week’s top ranking. The Tigers are coming off a mild upset loss at the hands of then No. 17 Oklahoma State. Oklahoma also gets another tough test as they take on No. 16 Kansas in Norman. There are a couple of other top-25 match ups taking place outside of the Big 12. The first comes from the SEC as No. 22 Vanderbilt travels to Athens to face No. 10 Georgia. In the Big Ten No. 20 Michigan State hosts No. 12 Ohio State.
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 match ups. Other games that should draw lots of action include No. 18 North Carolina at Virginia, No. 13 LSU at South Carolina, and No. 17 Virginia Tech at Boston College. Visit SportsInsights.com 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 8 – Games to Watch
Connecticut vs Rutgers (10/18 12P)
Connecticut had an extra week off after their last game, a tough 38-12 loss at No. 18 North Carolina. The Huskies went into that game ranked No. 24 and undefeated, and they out-gained the Tar Heels in the loss. Turnovers and special teams did them in. UConn has one of the top tailbacks in the country in Junior Donald Brown, whom averages over 175 yards rushing per game. Sophomore QB Zach Frazer now has a start under his belt after original starter Tyler Lorenzen broke his foot three weeks ago. Head Coach Randy Edsall stressed special teams and cutting down on opponent’s big plays during the bye week.
Rutgers has no wins against College Football Bowl Subdivision teams so far this season, with their lone win coming against Morgan State. They were beat handily in their first two games of the season by teams that have been ranked in the top-25 (Fresno State and North Carolina.) The Scarlet Knights other three losses were by an average of 4 points. Freshman RB Jourdan Broooks has had a solid start to his collegiate career (4.6 ypc, 5 TDs), but he isn’t the stud back that Rutgers needs right now. Quarterback Mike Teel hasn’t shown much consistency or playmaking ability as he’s thrown seven interceptions against only 3 touchdowns.
The Scarlet Knights opened as one-point favorites at Pinnacle, but the line quickly moved to a pick. Since then the line has moved UConn to -1 favorites on the road. The movement created a positive Steam Move in favor of the Huskies. We’re going to follow the steam, and the Huskies coming off a bye week.
Georgia Tech vs Clemson (10/18 12P)
Georgia Tech has opened up the Paul Johnson era better than expected by going 5-1 and looking like a contender in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets only loss came on the road at No. 17 Virginia Tech by a field goal. The strength of the team is its defense, which is allowing an average of under 11 points per game. Georgia Tech is coming off a tough 10-7 win over Gardner-Webb in which they needed a blocked field goal late to seal the win. The Ramblin’ Wreck offense is based on the ground, as their quarterbacks have attempted only 71 passes on the season. Quarterbacks Jaybo Shaw and Josh Nesbitt are both expected to be ready to play after missing last week’s win. Clemson’s season just hasn’t gone as expected, which led to coach Tommy
Bowden’s resignation earlier this week. Dabo Swinney takes over for the rest of the season, and will try to make the best out of a disappointing situation. After a season-opening blowout at the hands of Alabama, the Tigers defense has been very solid while giving up less than 12 points per game. They’ve lost their previous two games by a total of 8 points to Maryland and Wake Forest. Tailback C.J. Spiller is out with a hamstring pull; meaning James Davis will get the bulk of the carries usually split by the Thunder and Lightning duo. Senior QB Cullen Harper is dealing with a shoulder injury, which means highly-touted freshman Willy Korn could get the start.
Clemson opened as two-point favorites at Pinnacle, but after Bowden’s resignation Georgia Tech became the favorite. The Yellow Jackets are currently 2.5 point favorites while receiving 66% of the public bets. The movement triggered Smart Money plays on Clemson from books with positive results. At Sports Insights we like to follow the Smart Money, and we like to buy on bad news. Bad news doesn’t come much worse than your coach resigning mid-season, so we’ll take Clemson and the points in Death Valley.
Miami (FL) vs Duke (10/18 3:30PM)
Miami looks like they may need another year before returning to the top of the ACC, but there are signs of improvement. The Hurricanes are seeking their first conference win, and this may be their best chance until their final regular season game at North Carolina State. This will be the Hurricanes first conference road game. The Canes defense gives up chunks of yardage and is allowing over 23 points per game. The offense has become more turnover prone over the last 3 games in which they’ve turned it over 8 times.
Not many people were expecting Duke to start out the season this well. The Blue Devils come in with a winning record under first-year coach David Cutcliffe. They’re coming off a bye week following a 27-0 loss at the hands of Georgia Tech in which they allowed over 450 yards of total offense. Junior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis has given the Blue Devils a steady presence on offense, and senior wide receiver Eron Riley has given Lewis a big target to throw to. Duke’s defense has forced 12 turnovers through five games in 2008.
Miami opened as 5.5 point favorites at Pinnacle, and the Hurricanes are receiving 72% of the public’s bets. The line has moved in the opposite direction to Miami -3, which is a strong indication of Smart Money on Duke. This game has seen a very high number of triggered plays, from both Smart Money and Steam Moves, all on Duke. The public is following the preconceived notions of Miami as a powerhouse and Duke as a doormat. We’ll take the home dog and follow the Smart Money.
So, here’s a wrap-up of SportsInsights.com analysis for this week’s Games to Watch for NCAA Football Week 8.
Games to Watch (9-11-1)
It should be another exciting week for NCAA Football. Keep Sports Marketplace Games to Watch picks handy and your browser pointed to SportsInsights.com 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