Appelbaum: A Day To Fade The Trendy Dog? / Matt Youmans CFB Forecast / Tuley’s Takes on ALCS

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Dave Tuley’s ATS report

  • Nationals beat Cardinals 2-0 in Game 1 of NLCS behind combined 1-hitter by Anibal Sanchez (allowed only hit in bottom of 8th inning) & Sean Doolittle. Nationals closed as +125 road underdogs (stayed Under betting total of 8).
  • Miami-Florida beat No. 20 Virginia 17-9 Friday night. It wasn’t an upset as the Hurricanes were 2.5-point home favorites and covered on late TD (stayed way Under low betting total of 44 points).

Dave handicaps Game 1 of the ALCS here for VSiN all-access subscribers.

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Josh Appelbaum’s market insights

Welcome to the 7th College Football Saturday of the season. Believe it or not, we are officially halfway through the regular season. Where does the time go? Today we are treated to another jam-packed slate with 47-games to choose from. The predominant theme of the day is "Fade the Trendy Dog." You may have heard this phrase mentioned in the newsletter before. If not, here is a quick explainer.

Going contrarian means betting against the public (who loses more often than they win) and placing yourself on the side of the house (who always wins in the end). The public bets based on gut instinct and bias. Casual bettors almost always gravitate toward favorites because they want to back the "better" team. The books know this built-in bias and shade lines toward favorites, forcing recreational bettors to take bad number and creating added value for savvy contrarians to buy low on unpopular dogs with inflated lines.

However, every now and again the public will fall in love with a underdog. This leads to a dog becoming popular or "trendy." Once a dog becomes trendy, it loses its value and creates a unique opportunity for sharps to buy low on a contrarian favorite. If you also see the line move further to that contrarian favorite, it’s another dead giveaway that wiseguys are fading the trendy dog. Just think of it this way: you want to back a dog when it’s unpopular and fade a dog when it’s popular.

We saw a perfect example of this last night when the public loaded up on Virginia, but sharps bought low on Miami as a contrarian favorite and caused sharp reverse line movement in their favor (-1.5 to -2.5). The Hurricanes won and covered 17-9.

We have several Fade the Trendy Dog plays for today, along with a handful of other sharp spots to get down on. Let’s get right to them.

12 p.m. ET: Oklahoma (5-0, ranked 6th) vs. Texas (4-1, ranked 11th)
Who’s ready for the Red River Rivalry? This epic showdown between Big 12 heavyweights is by far the most popular and most heavily bet game of the day. It’s also the biggest Pros vs Joes matchup on the Saturday slate. This line opened with Oklahoma listed as a 9.5-point favorite in neutral Cotton Bowl Stadium (Dallas, TX). The public loves backing Jalen Hurts and the Sooners, but they can’t believe this line is so high and Texas is getting so many points. Two thirds of bets are taking Texas, yet we’ve seen the line move further to Oklahoma (-9.5 to -10.5). Some books have even touched 11.

Why would the books hand out an extra point or more to Average Joe Longhorn bettors when they’re already on Texas to begin with? No, they’re not being nice. Bookmakers moved the line further toward Oklahoma because they got hit with heavy sharp money on the Sooners, forcing them to adjust the line toward the unpopular side. You guessed it, sharps are fading the trendy dog.

Oklahoma is contrarian in an extremely heavily bet game, giving the Sooners prime betting against the public value. Plus they have sharp action in the form of reverse line movement. Oklahoma is also a favorite in a super high total game (76). High totals disproportionately benefit favorites because the more expected points scored makes it easier for the favorite to cover the number. According to Bet Labs Sports, when two ranked teams go head-to-head, the favorite has gone 55.4% ATS since 2005, including 7-4 ATS (64%) this season. The total opened at 75. The public is pounding the over but the total has barely ticked up to 75.5 or 76. We’ve seen some smart money come down on the under 76.

3:30 p.m. ET: Washington State (3-2) at Arizona State (4-1, ranked 18th)
Washington State started the season 3-0 but has dropped two straight, including a massive 67-63 meltdown to UCLA and 38-13 blowout to Utah. It got so bad after the Utah game that Wazzu Head Coach Mike Leach ripped his team as "soft, fat, dumb, happy and entitled." From the outside, the Washington State team looks completely dysfunctional and the public wants nothing to do with them. But sharps love them in this spot and are happy to buy on bad news in order to extract maximum value.

This Pac-12 matchup opened with Arizona State listed as a 3-point home favorite. Despite two-thirds of bets backing the Sun Devils, we’ve seen this line tumble all the way to a pick’em. Some books are even at ASU -1. This massive reverse line movement was caused by wiseguys hammering Washington State, creating huge liability for the books and forcing them to adjust the line bigly in favor of the Cougars. We’ve also seen some smart money target the over, pushing the total from 58.5 to 60.5.

4 p.m. ET: Texas Tech (3-2) at Baylor (5-0, ranked 22th)
This Big 12 showdown is shaping up to be another sharp Fade the Trendy Dog play. Typically casual bettors always side with the home team, the team with the better record and the ranked team over the unranked team. However, Texas Tech is coming off a huge 45-35 upset victory over Oklahoma State as 9.5-point dogs. And now they’re a double-digit dog against Baylor and the public says "give me the points all day." But sharps know that if it looks too good to be true, it almost always is.

This line opened with Baylor listed as a 10.5-point home favorite. Roughly two-thirds of bets are backing Texas Tech, yet we’ve seen this line move further to Baylor -11. Some books even reached 11.5. This sharp reverse line movement is a dead giveaway that pros are laying the points with Baylor. The total hasn’t budged off the opener of 58.

7:30 p.m. ET: Penn State (5-0, ranked 10th) at Iowa (4-1, ranked 17th)
Penn State has absolutely rolled through five games. The Nittany Lions are undefeated and have averaged 47 PPG on offense and given up just 7.4 PPG on defense. However, PSU now must travel to Iowa to face their toughest opponent yet. In the following two weeks they face Michigan and Michigan State as well. We’re about to learn whether the Nittany Lions are truly legit or not.

This Big Ten grudge match opened with Penn State listed as a short 3.5-point road favorite. Early PSU betting pushed the line up to 4 or even 4.5. That’s when sharps got down on Iowa plus the points. This influx of smart money dropped the line back down to 3.5 where it opened. Some books are even down to 3. Based on the line movement, all liability lies with the home dog. The key for wiseguys is getting Iowa at least +3.5 or more, as the hook could end up being crucial.

We’re also seeing sharp money come down on a contrarian over. The total opened at 41.5. The public sees two great defensive teams (PSU 7.4 PPG allowed, Iowa 8.8 PPG allowed) and says it has to be a low-scoring game. But despite seven-out-often bets taking the under, the total has risen to 42.5 or 43. This was caused by sharps getting down on the unpopular over.

8 p.m. ET: Florida (6-0, ranked 7th) at LSU (5-0, ranked 5th)
Aside from Oklahoma-Texas, this is your second most heavily bet game of the day. And since it’s a primetime game, it will likely become the most heavily bet when all is said and done. Both SEC rivals enter this game with undefeated records and high rankings. Florida has the edge defensively, allowing 9.5 PPG compared to LSU’s 19.8 PPG. But the Tigers are averaging a whopping 54.6 PPG on offense, while the Gators average 32.33 PPG.

This line opened with LSU listed as a 13.5-point home favorite. The public doesn’t know who to take. They love backing powerhouse LSU, especially at home. But the line is huge and how you can not back the Gators getting so many points? Especially after they just upset Auburn 24-13 as three-point dogs last week. Despite spread bets being split, we’ve seen the line move to LSU -14. In a vacuum, an even ticket split shouldn’t move a line at all. So we know this movement to the Tigers was caused by wiseguys laying the points with LSU. The Tigers also have the "two ranked teams take the favorite" edge (55.4% ATS since 2005). The total opened at 54.5. Bets are even but we’ve seen some smart money push the line up to 55.5.

More games receiving sharp action
Texas A&M +18 to +17 vs Alabama
USC +11 to +10.5 at Notre Dame
Memphis -3 to -4.5 at Temple
Georgia Tech +18 to +17 at Duke
Arizona +7 to +6.5 vs Washington
Cincinnati -5 to -7 at Houston
South Florida +6.5 to +5 vs BYU
Georgia State +6.5 to +4.5 at Coastal Carolina Matt Youmans posts his College Football Forecast.

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Ron Flatter on horse racing

With the Breeders’ Cup headed back to Santa Anita, the track’s star-crossed year is discussed on the Ron Flatter Racing Pod. Mike Rogers, president of The Stronach Group racing division, talks about the ups and downs of this year. Also, comedian Steve Hytner discusses his career from “Seinfeld” to hosting a podcast on sports gambling. There is also a preview of the features on the Canadian International card and a comment about the dilemma for horsemen taking part in this year’s Hong Kong International Races.

Ron’s column: Trainer Bob Baffert’s decision to replace Mike Smith with Joel Rosario to ride betting favorite McKinzie in the Breeders’ Cup Classic should not be regarded as a huge surprise or terribly unusual.

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