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Weekly Football Betting Public Action Report
by Trevor Whenham - 11/2/2012

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Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.

Last week there were just four games that fit the criteria of the Public Action Report. They wound up going 2-2 ATS. That brings the season total to 22-23 ATS. This week we look to get back on track with a busy week. There are five college football games and two more on Sunday from the NFL.

Before we get to the games that stand out this week let’s take a refresher course on what we are looking for here. We are looking at the percentage of bets that have been placed on each team in games. Sportsbooks won’t let people know how much has been bet on each side, but they will release the number of bets. We’re looking for situations in which at least 70 percent of bets have been placed on one team.

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Normally, when the betting action is that lopsided we would expect the bookmakers to adjust the lines to make the more popular team less attractive in order to try to balance the action and limit their exposure as much as they can. Sometimes, though, we’ll see situations in which the team that is more popular actually becomes more attractive to bettors — either a favorite’s line is adjusted so that they are giving fewer points, or an underdog takes more points. That’s contrary to logic, and it likely means one of two things — either a small number of smart bettors have bet big money on the less-popular team and that has been enough to swing the line, or the books are comfortable with unbalanced action because they think that they are on the right side of the game.

Either smart money or sportsbook confidence is a very good reason to take note of the team that is getting less action.

Without further ado:

CFB

Army (+7) vs. Air Force (Saturday, Nov. 3, 12 p.m. ET)

Nearly three-quarters of all bets have been on Air Force, yet the line has dropped from 7.5 to the key number of seven. Moves involving key numbers are particularly intriguing, so Army is worth a look here. Army has not been particularly strong this year, but Air Force has only one cover in their last four and is hard to trust as well.

Duke (+12) vs. Clemson (Saturday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m. ET)

Clemson has drawn nearly 85 percent of the action in this one, yet the line opened at 14.5 and has moved through the key number of 14 to 12. That’s a strong move which suggests the Blue Devils are worth a look. Duke has bounced back well from losses this year, and the Blue Devils have been a much better team at home than on the road. Winning here will be tough, but the crowd will be insane for this one since this is the latest in the season they have been competitive for a long, long time, so they could keep this one close.

Virginia (+10.5) at North Carolina State (Saturday, Nov. 3, 12:30 p.m. ET)

N.C. State has pulled in 70 percent of the support, yet the line has dropped from 12 to 10.5, so Virginia is the team we are looking at. Virginia has lost six straight and failed to cover their last seven, so it’s no surprise they aren’t getting any attention here. They have lost three of their last four by a field goal or less, though, so they are somewhat better than they might seem. N.C. State, meanwhile, is just 1-3 ATS in their last four so they aren’t exactly dominant right now.

Buffalo (-3.5) vs. Miami (Ohio) (Saturday, Nov. 3, 12 p.m. ET)

Miami has pulled in nearly 80 percent of the bets in this one, yet the line opened at the key number of three and has moved off of it. Bookmakers fear the key number of three because it is such a common outcome, so a move like this is a strong indicator that Buffalo is worth a look. Buffalo isn’t winning, but they are 3-2 ATS in their last five so they have been reasonably tough lately. Miami, meanwhile, is just 2-6 ATS, so they aren’t particularly trustworthy, either.

Syracuse (+4) at Cincinnati (Saturday, Nov. 3, 12 p.m. ET)

The Bearcats have pulled in 80 percent of the bets in this one, yet the line has dropped from five points to four, so we are looking at Syracuse here. Cincinnati has lost two straight, and last week’s was in brutal fashion, so a very promising season has come crashing down around them. They could easily struggle to focus here, and Syracuse is averaging 38.5 points in their last two games.

NFL

Buffalo (+10) at Houston (Sunday, Nov. 4, 1 p.m. ET)

Not surprisingly, the Texans have pulled in a very strong majority of the bets — about 80 percent. Despite that the line has fallen from 10.5 to the key number of 10. That means that Buffalo gets our attention. The Bills have shown a lot of toughness in their last two games — at least compared to what they had shown earlier in the year — and have had a week off to get ready for this one. They will also have been affected by Sandy, and they could use that as a rallying point to play strong and keep things close enough to cover.

Tennessee (+3.5) vs. Chicago (Sunday, Nov. 4, 1 p.m. ET)

The Bears have attracted well over 80 percent of the bets, yet the line has fallen from 4 to 3.5. It has even flirted with the key number of three at times during the week. That means the Titans deserve a close look. Despite winning five in a row, the Bears have failed to cover their last two. Tennessee, meanwhile, is 2-1 ATS in their last three, and the one game they didn’t cover was an overtime loss, so they were in it throughout regulation. They have played tough and could challenge the Bears at home here.

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