|We’ve got another big game tonight, but let’s do NFL first . . .
Dave Tuley’s ATS report on wild-card games:
Eagles beat Bears 16-15 in NFC wild-card game as Cody Parkey misses last-second FG: ViewFromVegas is Eagles were 6.5-point road dogs & +240 on ML (stayed Under 42)..
Chargers hold off Ravens 23-17 in AFC wild-card game: They closed as 3-point underdogs & +145 on money line (stayed Under total of 42.5).
NFL playoffs recap: with Eagles’ road/underdog/under result, road teams & underdogs both 4-0 ATS on wild-card weekend, Unders 3-1; first-half dogs went 3-1 ATS, first-half Unders went a perfect 4-0; second-half faves were 3-1 ATS, second-half Overs went 3-1.
Patriots open between 4- and 6.5-point favorites over the Chargers in next week’s AFC divisional playoffs (and Over/Under between 48 and 48.5); lines looks like they’re settling at Patriots -4.5 with O/U 48 after early flurry of betting.
Track the line movements here, courtesy of DonBest Sports.
CFB title game . . .
How low will it go?
That’s the question Jeff Fogle asks as he previews college football’s National Championship showdown featuring Alabama and Clemson (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Weeks ago, advance “provisional” lines for an Alabama-Clemson matchup were on the board around Alabama -8. (Bets would be refunded if there was a different matchup.)
Then Alabama had to go overtime to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship…and Clemson looked great in blasting Pittsburgh (ACC Championship) and Notre Dame (National Semifinal)…before Alabama failed to cover vs. Oklahoma (National Semifinal).
Subsequently, Clemson was seen as much more likely to compete with Alabama (something quants had been hinting at for weeks in their team ratings), while the Crimson Tide was no longer regarded as an unstoppable juggernaut. Alabama opened at -7 offshore…only to be bet down very quickly off that key number. Soon, Alabama -6 was available everywhere. Then Alabama -5.5. That number sat painted long enough that it was clear it would take a further drop to create any sort of Alabama bandwagon. Stores began testing ‘Bama -5 later in the week. Then -4.5.
Sharps loved Clemson at +6 or better. The public also liked what it was seeing from the Tigers under quarterback Trevor Lawrence, as the Tigers are now 8-2 against the spread in the games he’s finished. And, the square “bet the favorite” mindset had just lost two straight investments on ‘Bama in those non-covers vs. Georgia and OU.
How low will the line go before the public finds Alabama irresistible? If the perception takes hold that this will be a replay of early title tilts featuring these teams, the drop could continue through Monday afternoon.
2016: Alabama (-6) beat Clemson 45-40
2017: Clemson (+6.5) beat Alabama 35-31
Those spreads were too high in retrospect. Clemson won the two-year composite score 76-75 when it was supposed to be about a touchdown worse. This Clemson team might be better than those.
That said, undefeated Alabama still has a shot at historical greatness. You can’t judge an elite team by its worst game. A neutral-site overtime win over Georgia is a pretty impressive floor. Fans and bettors won’t know for sure what the ceiling might be until this Clemson game is in the books.
If you’re just now deciding who you want to bet…you’ll have to read Monday’s tea leaves to properly time the market. Dog lovers probably won’t see +6 come back into play unless the public can’t resist its traditional-big-TV-game-favorite urges. Sharps would be thrilled to bet again at that price. But, if it becomes a national consensus that this will be more of a field goal game…then Alabama backers might find more favorable numbers by waiting until later in the day.
The VSiN betting preview is here.
Follow the line moves across Las Vegas here.