Monday, November 8, 2010

College Betting Notes From Las Vegas: Hoops Begin Monday

By Micah Roberts

The BCS picture got a little clearer last Saturday as we said farewell to Alabama, Utah and Oklahoma setting up the stage for No. 2 Auburn to see what they can do. They have the toughest road ahead of them among the top five candidates in the chase for the BCS title game. Auburn meets up with Georgia this week as 9-point favorites in what should be a very high scoring game and then will have to stew for two weeks before the Iron Bowl against No. 12 Alabama. Should they get past both of those opponents, they’ll have to get past the SEC east team in the conference title game.

No. 1 Oregon has a few decent teams to get through in Cal, No. 19 Arizona and Oregon State, but they don’t appear to be as susceptible to a loss as Auburn’s shaky defense does. No. 3 TCU has the easiest road of all getting San Diego State at home and then traveling to New Mexico for their season finale. No. 4 Boise State isn’t exactly home free as they’ll have to play a tough road game at No. 21 Nevada on November 21.

No. 5 LSU jumped back into the mix with their big win over Alabama, but won’t have the ability to gain more BCS points in the SEC Championship game unless Auburn loses twice due LSU losing the head to head tie-breaker to Auburn.

While it’s entirely possible, it does seem improbable for Auburn to run the table which would open the door for an Oregon-TCU Championship game. For the folks who really want to stick it to the BCS system, the dream title matchup of non-automatic BCS qualifiers TCU and Boise State could happen if Oregon State steps it up in their home matchup against their rivals and Auburn loses.

Big Upsets
There were seven upsets of college football teams favored by a touchdown or more Saturday led by 11-point underdog New Mexico who beat Wyoming 34-31 for their first win of the season. Sharp plays came in on the Lobos who eventually pushed the line down to 9-points. Other favorites taking a fall were Florida State, Syracuse, Colorado, UAB, Alabama and SMU.

Move of the Week
The Oregon game had the biggest move going from -28 ½ to -37 ½, but that was mostly due to adjustments with Jake Locker being out for Washington. The straight power move saw Fresno State open as 2 ½-point favorites at Louisiana Tech only to see themselves being a 3-point dog by kickoff. The initial line was apparently pretty sound as Fresno State won 40-34.

Sports Books Win Saturday
The books held well with the public favorites of Alabama and Missouri losing, but were helped more than anything by key late favorites USC and San Diego State winning but not covering their games which killed all the extended parlay liability throughout the day.

College Football Injuries
Before making your college football wagers this week, be sure to check the status of several key players who were injured last week. Cincinnati’s QB Zach Collaras’ knee has him questionable for their game at West Virginia. Both quarterbacks in the Miami- Georgia Tech game are likely to be out. Josh Nesbitt is already ruled out for Tech, while Jacory Harris’ head injury is likely to keep him out again as well. After watching Miami not cover the last two weeks without Harris, it’s apparent that his value to the team is much higher than the adjusted ratings and point spreads suggest.

Iowa RB Adam Robinson has a concussion and is questionable for their game at Northwestern. Michigan QB Denard Robinson is also questionable with a head injury for their game at Purdue this week. Tate Forcier filled in nicely last week for the Wolverines, but Robinson is the entire Michigan offense and not easily replaced. Michigan is Bowl eligible for the first time in three years which also coincides with the last time Michigan beat Purdue. Another key Big-10 injury has John Clay’s ankle keeping him questionable for their home game against Indiana.

Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez’ ankle has him in question for their game against Kansas. The Huskers should be able to beat Kansas without Martinez, but at this stage of the BCS season when they have been thrust back into the discussion, they would like to take care of business easily with no threats by going with their best.

Other key injuries this week include Kentucky RB Dereke Locke, Louisville’s QB Adam Froman and RB Lilal Powell, Mississippi’s QB Jeremy Masoli and Arizona's WR Juron Criner.

College Hoops Begin
The College Basketball season tips off Monday and continues Wednesday with the 2K Classic with Maryland, No. 4 Pittsburgh, No. 16 Illinois and No. 25 Texas all welcoming a few smaller schools to their arenas with hopes of padding their early season record. On Friday, the action really hits full throttle as Las Vegas sports books will have 52 games on the board which includes five invitational tournaments that run through the weekend. No. 1 Duke makes their debut Sunday against Princeton.

These early season games are always the favorites of sharpest of Sharps in college hoops because the ratings for each team change so rapidly through each game played. With not a lot of data to go on coming in other than last seasons results, returning players and speculation on how some of the new players fill in the vacated roles, the oddsmakers have a tough time making an accurate rating early on. This is where the super Sharps have a huge advantage by being able to bet their opinions against their largest perceived mistakes on the huge buffet of games.

There are 347 division I college basketball teams the oddsmakers have to put a rating on and it’s virtually impossible to be accurate on all of them. While 75% of the games will be spot on, it’s the other 25% that get picked on. The small schools and mid-majors are usually the schools that are routinely undervalued, especially when matched up against the bigger schools. For three first few weeks you’re going to see lots of line movement and shuffling on these games as the sports books react quickly with bets from a few of the respected Sharps. Depending on what the original line is, moves can be as high as two points off of one limit wager. Sometimes it's not a bad idea to follow, but don't get to the window too late as the initial value may be gone on the adjusted line.

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