Doc's Friday Public Action Report
by Trevor Whenham - 09/14/2007
The potential of fading the public action in circumstances where the action doesn't necessarily make sense showed its' potential last week when we picked out underdog covers by Wake Forest and Colorado Sate despite overwhelming support for their opponents. It also showed us in the cases of West Virginia, Florida and the Seahawks that the lines were much tighter than the public expected them to be. It was a solid start to our public-watching efforts. There are five games this week, three in college and two in the pros, which stand out because of the way that the public is betting them and the line is reacting.
Mississippi St. (+12) at Auburn (12:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15) - More than 80 percent of the bets placed on this game have been on the Auburn side, yet this line opened at 13.5 and has slid down to 12. The public is reacting to several factors - Auburn beat the Bulldogs, 34-0, last season, Mississippi St. lost to LSU, 45-0, to start the season, and the class advantage is significant. The fact that the line hasn't reacted as you might expect, though, is likely in reaction to the fact that Auburn has been a betting disaster this season. They failed to cover against uninspiring Kansas State and then lost to South Florida despite being favored by a touchdown. The public has clearly overvalued Auburn to date, and the signs are there that it could be happening again here.
Wyoming (+12) at Boise State (8:00 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15) - Here's another case where the line is coming down despite the fact that nearly 80 percent of bets placed are on Boise state. Like Auburn, the Broncos started as 13.5-point favorites and have seen that fall. Though the public is clearly going to favor Boise State, the ultimate Cinderella, a case can be made for Wyoming, and that is probably reflected in the line movement. The Cowboys were dominant against Virginia, beating them 23-3 despite being three-point underdogs. The Broncos struggled from the start against Washington, and it was made pretty clear that they don't have their quarterbacking situation worked out yet. It certainly appears as if the public could be jumping for the name they know here over the team that no one knows anything about. That often doesn't work out well.
BYU (-6.5) at Tulsa (9:00 p.m, Saturday, Sept. 15) - 82 percent of bets placed have been on the Cougars, yet the line, which started at the key number of seven, has moved to a much more favorable number for their supporters. Unlike the first two situations, this one stands out more for the move itself than for a good reason behind it. BYU beat Arizona soundly, and stuck around against UCLA. Tulsa, which is breaking in a new coaching staff, has had just one game, and the lopsided win against UL Monroe told us little, except that they were better than the 3.5 points they were assigned. Though the line move definitely grabs attention, it would require a bit of a leap of faith to assume Tulsa can be a winning pick.
Indianapolis (-7) at Tennessee (1:00 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16) - You might as well get used to seeing the Colts in this report, because the public loves them so blindly that they often provide interesting situations. The Colts were opened as nine-point favorites, but that has slid down to just a touchdown despite the fact that 84 percent of bets have been placed on them. Tennessee covered twice as heavy underdogs against the Colts last year, and won outright once, so it is far from impossible to build a case for them. They also beat Jacksonville on the road last week as 7.5-point underdogs. On the other hand, though, the Colts completely shut down the Saints offense last week, and were as dominant and precise offensively in the second half as a team can be. The line movement shows that some smart money is likely going towards the Titans, and it's not hard to believe that a Colts line could be overinflated.
Kansas City (+12) at Chicago (4:15 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16) - This game has the potential to be totally unwatchable. Unless Larry Johnson can find a way to assert himself on the ground, it is very hard to see how the Chiefs will be able to score against the potent Bears defense. The problem is, though, that in order to cover this spread the Bears have to score at least 13 points, and that could be a challenge given the way the offense played against San Diego. Rex Grossman was abysmal, and the running game never got established. The defense also took a big hit with the loss of two starters. The public is reacting to the awful quarterbacking mess in Kansas City, but the line movement reflects what is probably a good idea - it's not a great idea to trust the Bears with a huge spread at this point in the season.