Last week was close to a total disaster for the Public Action Report. Only a decent showing in a losing effort by Arizona State saved us from a complete shutout. It’s a long season, though, so these things are bound to happen. This week we have no NFL games that fit out criteria, but a whole mess of college games that do.
What is that criteria? In three words, we are looking for ‘reverse line moves’. The games we focus on are ones in which at least 70 percent of the bets are made on one team. When action is that one-sided you would typically expect the oddsmakers to increase the line in an attempt to balance the action and minimize their exposure. Sometimes, though, the opposite happens and we get interested.
When the line moves contrary to expectations then we can guess that a couple of things could be a factor - either the books are willing to take lopsided action because they have a strong feeling about the game or, more likely, some of the small numbers of bets on the ignored team have been for large amounts from professional bettors. That's called smart money, and if the smart money is strongly on one team then that team is worth a look.
That doesn't mean that the Report is a tout sheet - a suggestion that you should blindly bet the teams indicated. It just means that something that isn't immediately obvious is going on with these games, and they require a deeper look before you bet on them.
Vanderbilt (+9) at Tennessee (Saturday, Nov. 20, 7:30 pm ET) - Tennessee opened as 10.5-point favorites, and they have drawn nearly 90 percent of bets placed on the game. Despite that, the line has fallen to 9.5. That’s a move through the key number of 10, and a very strong indicator that smart money is on the Commodores. That makes them worth a look.
They will have to show more than they have shown recently, though - they haven’t won or covered in their last six.
Michigan (+4) vs. Wisconsin (Saturday, Nov. 20, 12 pm ET) - More than 80 percent of bets have been placed on Wisconsin, yet the line has moved from six to four. That means that smart money is on Michigan.
Even as a Michigan fan I don’t feel confident in the Wolverines, but they have a very explosive offense and they are at home, so it could happen. Michigan is worth a look.
Mississippi St. (+3) vs. Arkansas (Saturday, Nov. 20, 7 pm ET) - More than 85 percent of bets have been placed on Arkansas, yet the line has moved from 3.5 to three. I am particularly interested in line movements involving the key number of three because it takes a lot of action for the books to move the line to or through these numbers. That means that a small number of smart bettors is putting some serious money on Mississippi State, and that they are worthy of our attention.
Cal (+6.5) vs. Stanford (Saturday, Nov. 20, 3:30 pm ET) - Moves through the key number of seven are almost as interesting as ones through three, so this game certainly catches my eye. Stanford has drawn three-quarters of the bets, but the line has fallen from eight to 6.5. That’s a significant move that points us to Cal in this one. S
tanford was lucky to survive an Arizona State team that isn’t as good as Cal is, and the Bears are at home in a huge rivalry game fresh off of a very strong effort against Oregon.
Colorado (+2.5) vs. Kansas State (Saturday, Nov. 20, 2 pm ET) - Here’s another move off the key number of three. Kansas State has drawn more than 70 percent of bets, yet the line has fallen from three to 2.5. That shows us that Colorado is getting smart money attention and is worth a look.
The Buffaloes are coming off a very strong performance under a new coach last week, and could be poised for another one here.
Texas A&M (+2) vs. Nebraska (Saturday, Nov. 20, 8 pm ET) - Nebraska has attracted three-quarters of the bets on this game, yet the line has fallen from the key number of three to 2.5. That’s a strong sign that the Aggies are worth a look here.
The Huskers have been a very public team this year, while the Aggies are playing impressive football lately while operating under the radar.
Oregon State (+3) vs USC (Saturday, Nov. 20, 8 pm ET) - Eight out of 10 bets have been on the Trojans, yet the line has fallen from 3.5 to the key number of three. That points us towards the Beavers.
Oregon State has been wildly inconsistent - in the last three weeks they crushed Cal but lost badly to Washington State. When they are at their best, though, they are definitely capable of coming out on top here.