Ferringo Examines Early Line Moves
by Robert Ferringo - 11/27/2007
In the nine weeks that we've been tracking the most significant early line movements as an indicator of weekend college football success there have only been two weekends where playing on the games with the sharpest early action would have turned a profit. Last weekend was not one of them, so clearly you should continue to fade and fade hard. On the season, the early week steam moves are just 19-27 on the season for a bankroll busting 41.3-percent clip.
When you factor NFL games into the equation, and using a more recent sample size, the strongest early line movements have posted a weak 20-28 ATS mark. Suffice to say, not only are seemingly "sharp" early line moves a terrible indicator of success when the ball gets kicked off but they are actually a pretty profitable "play against" system for the second half of the year.
With that in mind, here are the games with the most significant early movements heading into Championship Weekend and Week 13 of the NFL:
UCLA at Southern California (4:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1)
Open: USC -16.0.
Current: USC -20.0.
Last year this game was for a ticket to the BCS Championship Game for the Trojans. This year it holds an invite to the Rose Bowl in the balance. It looks like the oddsmakers are anticipating USC to dole out a large dose of revenge for UCLA's upset last season. Further complicating the line is the health of Bruins QB Drew Olson, who can be spotty even when healthy. If there is no Olson, or if he can't go the whole 60, this number will be covered with ease. If he does play, and can play well, then I'm not opposed to cashing on the Bruins - again.
Washington at Hawaii (11:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1) Open: Hawaii -10.0. Current: Hawaii -14.0.
Beware the Letdown Game. The Warriors are coming off the game that they had built up as the defining point in their season but now they have to man up and take on a Huskies team that is not only full of seniors but also has nothing to lose. Hawaii is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight games against the Pac-10 and Washington was good enough to beat Boise State by two touchdowns earlier this season.
Florida Atlantic at Troy (2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1)
Open: Troy -15.0.
Current: Troy -16.5.
There aren't a lot of heavy movers this week but in a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the Sun Belt I was not only a little shocked to see such a thick number, but also a little surprised that the early action was on the Trojans. But the numbers suggest that it does make sense. Troy has been an ATM machine this season, covering four straight and eight of 10, and the Trojans are a stellar 13-3 ATS over the past two years. Also, FAU is just 2-10 ATS as a road dog, so be wary either way with this one.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears (4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2)
Current: Giants -2.5.
This line indicates that something strange is afoot at the Circle K. Chicago is riding high off yet another "season saving" victory over Denver. The Giants are laid low after getting dismantled by the Vikings in stunning fashion at home. However, the line is going New York's way. Why? New York is going to bounce back and Chicago is ripe for a fall. Throw in some revenge for a savage beating that the Bears dished out last year in the Meadowlands and this one should be by double digits.
Cleveland at Arizona (4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2)
Open: Arizona -2.0.
Current: Arizona -1.0.
The Cardinals are in a dangerous position and the early action indicates that bettors smell blood. Arizona took a shot in the stomach against San Francisco in overtime last week and they have a key NFC West matchup with Seattle on the horizon next week. That leaves them vulnerable against a suddenly can't-miss Browns club. Cleveland has covered six straight and have an offense that could overwhelm Arizona's secondary.
For more information about Robert's member's picks, check out his Insider Page here.