|Five traditional college football bowl games are on today’s slate. Longtime market observers know that another Jan. 1 tradition involves the general public pounding favorites, while sharps (professional bettors) decide if and when they’ll jump in on underdogs for value.
Jeff Fogle takes a look at what that dynamic might create today.
Mississippi State (-7.5) surged past the key number of -7 over the weekend vs. Iowa in the Outback Bowl (ESPN, noon ET). That’s up from an opener of -6. The public likes favorites anyway, and noted that Florida and Auburn combined to crush Michigan and Purdue 104-29 as a net underdog in prior SEC/Big Ten showdowns. Sharps that had been targeting the Hawkeyes at +7.5 initially may way to see if +8 comes into play.
Penn State (-6.5) is up from an opener of -5.5 against Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl (ABC, 1 p.m. ET). This is another SEC/Big Ten battle. The public may find it tough to support the Nittany Lions any further given those earlier results. Sharps would hit Kentucky hard at the key number of +7. That’s a “defensive dog” (ranked #21 in the nation) and a dog from a superior conference. (Plus, Kentucky beat Florida and Michigan beat Penn State!)
LSU (-7) is a rare favorite being faded against Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl (ESPN, 1 p.m. ET). The opening line here was LSU -8. Central Florida did upset Auburn in a similar “us against the world (and the SEC)” situation a year ago. Can the Golden Knights shock again? Early sharp and square sentiment supported the Cinderella story with the motivational edge. We’ll see if recent bowl results influence thinking.
Ohio State (-7) over Washington in the Rose Bowl (ESPN, 5 p.m. ET) has been gradually rising from an opener of -5. The Pac 12 didn’t impress in early bowl action, with league runner-up Washington State lucky to edge Iowa State despite getting outgained 515-327 on 7.8 to 5.0 yards-per-play. We’ll see if sharps nibble on the Huskies at +7, or if it takes +7.5. Washington’s defense does rank #11 in the nation. But, the Buckeyes may be motivated to send retiring head coach Urban Meyer out on a high note.
Georgia (-13) vs. Texas in the Sugar Bowl (ESPN, 8:45 p.m. ET) is way up from an opener of -10.5. We’ve yet to see a number for the dog that truly excites sharps. Georgia’s regulation tie with Alabama in the SEC title tilt is just as impressive now as it was at the time. Texas hasn’t shown the ability to play four strong quarter vs. quality in weeks. Fans have all day to bet this one, which could create additional volatility. Public money enjoying early success would have time to come back in for more on this late favorite. Important to remember, too, that sharps preferring Georgia have already invested at -10.5, -11, -11.5, and -12.
You likely know by now that Alabama is -6 in Monday night’s National Championship game against Clemson. More on that much-anticipated clash of college titans as we get closer to kickoff.
You can see the lines across Las Vegas books here.
Dave Tuley’s ATS report . . .
Favorites/underdogs split 3-3 SU on Monday but dogs went 5-1 ATS, over/unders 3-3; faves now 21-12 SU overall but dogs actually take 17-16 ATS lead (before Texas A&M cover as chalk, dogs had covered 6 straight & 9 of 10), unders 17-15-1.
Northwestern beat Utah 31-20 in Holiday Bowl: Wildcats were 6.5-point dogs & +210 on ML (over 43.5); Texas A&M routed North Carolina St. 52-13 in Gator Bowl: Aggies easily covered as 7.5-point faves, snapping 6-game dog streak (over 58).
Oklahoma St. beat Missouri 38-33 in Liberty Bowl: Cowboys were 9.5-point underdogs & +280 on ML (stayed just under 73).
Oregon beats Michigan St. 7-6 in RedBox Bowl: Ducks closed as 1-point underdogs (after being favored most of the past 4 weeks) & EVEN on ML (stayed way Under 46.5).
Stanford beats Pittsburgh 14-13 in Sun Bowl: Pitt covered as 3.5-point underdog (stayed Under 52).
Cincinnati beats Virginia Tech 35-31 in Military Bowl: Hokies covered as 6-point underdogs (went Over 49).
Seen & Heard on VSiN
On Follow The Money, Mitch & Paul were surprised by reports that Sunday was the best NFL Sunday of the entire year for Vegas sports books.
Patrick Everson of Covers reviews some HUGE parlays that could potentially cash around town, including one bettor with $700K at risk.
The Duffel Bag Bettor has been MIA for several weeks now. Patrick and Pauly try to reason their way to the bottom of this mystery.
"What went wrong with Minnesota, what happened this year?" former NFL executive and current VSiN host Michael Lombardi addresses the Vikings’ failure to advance out of the regular season.
On The Edge with Matt and Sam, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg gives his take on the line and total in the Philadelphia/Chicago matchup and explains how Mitchell Trubisky will be mentally ready for the playoff stage.
Early Odds podcast with Joe Ostrowski: The NFL’s four Wild Card matchups and College Football’s National Championship are all set. Joe Ostrowski and The Golden Nugget’s Aaron Kessler delve into these three days of football and the New Year’s Day bowl games. They also explain the benefits of a moneyline rollover parlay and a strong candidate for such a deep playoff run.
Bruce Marshall of The Gold Sheet sizes up the today’s Rose Bowl for Brent, Vinny and Mike Palm on My Guys in the Desert.
Contest corner . . .
Monsterloc clinched the $118,800 first-place prize in Ultimate Football Challenge at The Golden Nugget ($1,000 buy-in) when Michigan St. +2.5 covered in 7-6 loss to Oregon; Monsterloc is 5-0 this week and 80-35-2 (69.6%) on season with pending plays on Ohio St. and Texas A&M.
Final SuperContest Classic standings.
Final SuperContest Gold standings.
Ready for the next contest? DraftKings is holding the Sports Betting National Championship for a guaranteed $1M first prize. Details here.
Finally . . .
Chris Andrews and the South Point put out updated and new futures/prop bets on Monday, including one offering the exact outcome of the Super Bowl.