The inside line from PinnacleSports.com
by Simon Noble
10/19/2005 2:06PM EST
Welcome to the Pinnacle Pulse where the line managers at PinnacleSports.com look to give you an insider’s view of the point spread movement on key games each week and provide you with a little gambling theory to help you find a smarter way to bet courtesy of Pinnacle Sports.
Texas Tech (+15.5) at Texas
Both teams are 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12. Both teams’ offenses appear statistically insane with Tech averaging 53.7 points per game and 573 yards of offense, while Texas averages 46.7 points and 494.5 yards per game. However, there are a couple of big differences between the in-state rivals.
First, Texas has the #1 pass defense in the Big 12, allowing under 148 passing yards per game. Second, Tech’s schedule has been much easier thus far – games against Florida International, Sam Houston State, and Indiana State have inflated their statistics. By comparison, Sagarin rates Tech’s schedule as the 138th most difficult in the nation compared to 46th for Texas.
This week, we opened this game at Texas -12 and got pounded by Texas backers. Within four minutes we were at -14. We are still seeing mostly Longhorn money, but the line is stabilizing near 15.5/16. Interestingly, we started taking action on this game in July when we opened it as one of our Marquee match-ups. At that time, we opened it at +10.5 and Tech backers pushed the line down to 9.5.
Auburn (+6.5) at LSU
The last five meetings between these two teams have been won by the home team and only one of those was decided by less than 13 points. Both teams have one loss, but LSU has played stronger teams, overcoming Florida and Arizona State (while losing to Tennessee). We opened the game on Sunday at +6.5 and have been taking heavy, balanced action ever since.
As another game that was featured as one of our College Football Marquee match-ups in July, we opened the line at -6 (-105) and took balanced action then as well. There has been little in way of line movement since then and it seems as though our opener was strong.
Baltimore at Chicago O/U 30.5
There has only been one NFL game in the last 20 years that closed with a total under 31. In 1994, Chicago defeated Arizona 19-16 when the game had a total of 30.5. As of Wednesday morning, the under is priced at 30.5 -111. Why is this game so low?
From a yards per play analysis, Baltimore and Chicago have the #1 and #2 defenses allowing approximately 4.3 yards per play each. Offensively, they rate #29 and #26 respectively with 4.1 and 4.7 yards per play. Both have rushed for more than 100 yards per game. Combine outstanding defenses with poor rush-based offenses and you get the lowest game total of all time. What is the lowest scoring NFL game in the last 20 years? In 2003, the Jets beat the Steelers 6-0 (with a total of 38.5).
We opened this game at 32 flat and immediately saw sharp action on the under. We had some smaller players taking the over at plus money selling points. Several professional scalpers played over 30.5 (+106), but up until now the sharps are neutral at the current number.
Indianapolis (-15) at Houston
Most sharps shudder at the thought of laying more than 7 points in the NFL in any match-up and would rather play large dogs. I know many pros who won’t lay more than 7 points no matter how good it looks. On the other side are the “public” bettors who are unafraid to lay any number. For that group, Indy has been a covering machine and they are now 8-4 against the spread in the last two years when favored by more than 7 points.
Houston is the NFL’s only winless team this year. Why are they so bad? They have averaged 3.8 yards per play compared to a league average of 5.3. In five games, Houston has allowed thirty QB sacks. This means that in a typical twelve possessions for the Texans, 42% of these face a long passing situation against a nickel or dime defense. These problems combine to limit Houston to less than 11 points per game.
We opened the game at -15 and received large hits from sharps at +15 and +14. We dealt briefly at +13 but were then flooded with Indy money. It looks like the sharps are on Houston at +14 or higher, while the public is favoring Indianapolis.
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