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Football Betting: Weekly Public Action Report
by Trevor Whenham - 9/17/2010

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.

It was a pretty good start for the Public Action report last week - it picked up on a big upset by Air Force over BYU, and tabbed Houston to beat the Colts. Here’s hoping that this week is as fruitful.

We’ll start with a brief recap of what we are looking for because it’s early in the season. Typically, when a large number of bets - at least 70 percent of all those placed on a game - are on one side then we would expect the odds for that side to get less attractive in response to the attention. Sometimes, though, we see situations where the action is unbalanced, yet the team that gets the attention actually finds their odds getting more attractive.

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That means that one of two things is likely happening - either a small number of big money bets are putting a great deal of money down on the generally less popular team, or the books aren’t at all afraid of action on the more popular team. Either way, the alarm bells should be going off for astute bettors. That doesn’t mean that you should blindly bet every team in this report every week. What it does mean, though, is that if you already have an opinion on any of these games you should consider the strange movement as part of your handicapping. Without further ado:

College Football

Iowa State (+3.5) at Kansas State (Saturday, Sept. 18, 12 pm ET) - Kansas State has drawn 85 percent of all bets on this game, yet the line opened at 5.5 and has fallen to 3.5. A two point move is significant - especially when it moves through a key number like four. Iowa State was blown out by Iowa last time out, but seems to be getting credit for a nice win over Northern Illinois in their opener. Kansas State, on the other hand, isn’t getting a lot of credit for beating up on a lousy UCLA team, and it’s hard not to notice that their passing game can be outgunned by opponents. Iowa State appears to be worth a look.

San Diego State (+14) at Missouri (Saturday, Sept. 18, 7 pm ET) - Seven out of 10 bets have been on Missouri, but the line has dropped from 16 to 14. This seems to be a case where the name team is getting too much credit in the eyes of some. San Diego State is well coached, and they have won both of their games in impressive fashion while crushing big spreads. Missouri beat up on McNeese State, but couldn’t cover the spread against a weak Illinois team. San Diego State deserves attention here.

Nebraska (-3) at Washington (Saturday, Sept. 18, 3:30 pm ET) - This is the third game we have had in the Big 12 - and we have one more to come - so smart money doesn’t seem to be in love with the conference at all. Nebraska has drawn more than 80 percent of bets, yet the line has dropped from four to the key number of three. Any line that moves to or through three is particularly interesting because of the significance of that number. Nebraska is a heavily hyped team, yet they haven’t covered a college football point spread yet against two weak opponents. Washington played BYU tough, then rebounded to cover a spread handily against Syracuse. The Huskies are worth a look.

Texas (-3) at Texas Tech (Saturday, Sept. 18, 8 pm ET) - The story here is the same as with the last game - Texas has drawn about 80 percent of the bets, yet the line has fallen from four to the key number of three. Smart money likes the Red Raiders. The reasoning behind this one is easy to pick out - Texas has been playing well recently, yet they haven’t covered their last five spreads, so they are clearly getting too much credit from bettors, and smart money seems to believe that that is still the case here.
 
NFL

Houston Texans (-2.5) at Washington Redskins (Sunday, Sept. 19, 4:15 pm ET) - I find this one surprising. Nearly three-quarters of bets have come in on the Texans, yet the NFL line opened at three and has dropped below that key number to 2.5 in some places. That’s an indication that Washington is drawing some smart money. Houston is coming off a decisive win over Indianapolis, while Washington got lucky to come out on top of Dallas. There are a couple of good reasons to justify a look at Washington, though - Houston’s pass defense was brutal, and it’s not likely that the Texans will be able to run like they did against the Colts.


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