Doc's Friday Public Action Report
by Trevor Whenham - 11/16/2007
Though the game occurred too early to show up in this report, Oregon's heartbreaking loss on Thursday night is a perfect example of the power of the public action. Oregon opened as heavy 13-point favorites against an underwhelming Arizona team. Three out of every four bets went on the Ducks. Yet, for some reason, the line dropped like a rock. By game time it could be found at 10 points. The line moved very strongly against the public action. Paying attention to that would have given you a winning bet on Arizona, or at the very least led you to pass on the game and avoid an Oregon disaster.
This Report had a pretty fine week last week, with four outright winners out of six games - Wisconsin, Nebraska, the Broncos, and the previously winless Rams. There are five more games we will look at this week:
BYU (-10) at Wyoming (Saturday, Nov. 17, 2:00 p.m.) - On paper the winner of this game is clear. BYU has won six in a row, while Wyoming has won just once in their last five, and that hardly counts as it came against the lowly Rebels of UNLV. Bettors agree, with seven of 10 bets being placed for the Cougars. Despite that, the line opened at 11.5 and has dropped to 10. That means the Cowboys are worth a look. One possible explanation for this is that the recent string of success for Brigham Young has been a disaster for bettors. They covered the first two games, but haven't since. They are just 1-4 ATS in games with a spread of a touchdown or more. It makes me more than a little nervous that Wyoming hasn't covered since Sept. 15, but the numbers say that they could break their streak of futility.
Oklahoma (-7.5) at Texas Tech (Saturday, Nov. 17, 2:00 p.m.) - With the loss by Oregon last night, Oklahoma is in a great position - win out and they will almost certainly play for the national championship. That should be a huge motivator, yet the books don't seem to believe that it's enough incentive to blow away the Red Raiders. More than 80 percent of bets have been on Oklahoma, yet the books have invited even more action by lowering the line from an opening level of nine down as far as 7.5. On top of the motivation factor, the Sooners have nine losses, including five in a row, and a quarterback who is completing more than 70 percent of his passes, so the overwhelming public support isn't a surprise. Oklahoma has only covered one game in their last six, though, and Texas Tech has a pesky and potentially confusing offense, so this game is not as it may initially appear.
Missouri (-7) at Kansas State (Saturday, Nov. 17, 12:30 p.m.) - Like Oklahoma, Missouri is a Big 12 team that could likely earn a shot at the national title if they win out. They have the same 9-1 record, a quarterback who is equally impressive, and a solid winning streak. Also like Oklahoma, the books don't seem scared of them. The line opened at eight, but has dropped down to the key number of seven despite 85 percent of the action falling on the Tigers. There are a couple of reasons you could point out to explain the movement. First, if Kansas State has any pride at all, then they will be looking to bounce back strong from the humiliation inflicted upon them by Nebraska last week. Second, Missouri could very easily be looking past this game against an opponent they likely don't respect that much. Next up is the undefeated Jayhawks, and then a Big 12 championship game likely against the Sooners if they win that. This game doesn't measure up to those two. Kansas State isn't a great team by any means, but they have been much better at home than on the road, and the numbers lead us to believe that they could cover here.
New Orleans (+1) at Houston (Sunday, Nov. 18, 1:00 p.m.) - It's been very frustrating to bet on the Saints this year. Thankfully, the line movement is telling us we don't have to this week. New Orleans opened favored by as much as two. More than eight out of every 10 bets have been on the Saints. Despite that, the line has dropped, and Houston is now the one-point favorite. There are a couple of ways to try to explain this. First, you never know what to expect from the Saints. They not only lost to the winless Rams last week, but it wasn't even close, so they obviously aren't very good. Or, to be fair, they aren't consistently able to play to their potential. As significantly, Houston will have a huge boost in front of their home fans because of the return of their two best offensive weapons to the lineup - Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson.
Carolina (+9.5) at Green Bay (Sunday, Nov. 18, 1:00 p.m.) - The line in this game opened at 10.5, settled for quite a while at 10, and is now down at 9.5, and can even be found at nine in Vegas. Not what you would expect from a game in which three quarters of the bets have been on the Packers. Green Bay and Brett Favre have been a phenomenal and totally unexpected story this season. They have always been a public team and that is especially the case this year. It's to their credit that they are 7-1-1 ATS, but it is important to note that that they have been underdogs five times in their nine games, they are just 2-1-1 ATS as favorites, and they have never been favored by more than 5.5. Carolina hasn't been great, but they are a solid, well-coached team who probably deserve more respect than they are getting. They certainly won't be a pushover, and the line movement indicates they are perhaps worth a bet.