Doc's Friday Public Action Report
by Trevor Whenham - 09/21/2007
It was a very good week for us last time out, which means that it was a very bad week for the public. All five games that we looked at ended up going against the public. I guess there is something to this after all. This week there are eight college games in which the point spread isn't responding as expected to the public action, and one NFL game, too. Here's a look:
Baylor (-3) at Buffalo (Saturday, Sept. 22, 6 p.m.) - The Baylor Bears have drawn 70 percent of the bets, yet the line has dropped from 5.5 to three. This seems to be a case where the public is betting based on records and conferences without looking deeper. Baylor's 2-1 mark is pretty weak - they were shut out by a very disappointing TCU team, and their wins are over an awful Rice team and Texas State. They have proven nothing. Buffalo is 1-2, but they stayed tight with Penn State last week. The books clearly are not afraid of action on Baylor here.
Penn State (-2.5) at Michigan (Saturday, Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m.) - 71 percent of action is on Penn State, yet the game has fallen off the key number of three. The public is reacting to the dismal start for Michigan, while the books are likely saying that Michigan is still the team that started the year as No. 5, they are at home, and they have beaten Penn State eight times in a row. Based on the movement, Michigan is the play.
Memphis (+7) at Central Florida (Saturday, Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m.) - Central Florida earned a lot of national respect with their near upset of Texas last week, but the books don't seem to be buying it. The line has fallen from 7.5 to seven despite the UCF support of 78 percent of bettors. Memphis isn't very good, but Central Florida isn't expected to be either, and so it isn't surprising that the action on UCF seems to be overly enthusiastic in the minds of the books. They are inviting action on UCF, which makes Memphis worth a look.
Georgia Tech (-3.5) at Virginia (Saturday, Sept. 22, 12:00 p.m.) - More than eight out of 10 bettors are on Georgia Tech, but the line dropped from four to 3.5. At first I was surprised that the line was moving in favor of Virginia - they were blown out by Wyoming and have two fairly meaningless wins over Duke and North Carolina. The books are likely responding to the fact that Georgia Tech isn't as good as thought, though. They had a now meaningless blowout over Notre Dame and another nothing win over Samford, and then were exposed by Boston College. This line movement would indicate that the books are more certain that last week showed us the real Yellow Jackets than the public is.
Clemson (-7.5) at NC State (Saturday, Sept. 22, 12:00 p.m.) - Clemson is getting love from 81 percent of bettors, and still the line dropped from 8.5 to 7.5. It's obvious why the public is on Clemson - they love an undefeated team, especially one with a high profile coach. NC State is just 1-2, but their record looks better than the numbers. They lost as big favorites to Central Florida, but UCF's game against Texas last week showed that they are better than they were thought to be at the start of the year. Similarly, Boston College would have been favored by even more than they were if we had seen their domination of Georgia Tech already. The Wolfpack is still not very good, but they could easily be better than 0-2 ATS, and the books seem to be showing that this line is more accurate than the previous two. That means that there could be value in NC State.
Iowa (+7) at Wisconsin (Saturday, Sept. 22, 8:00 p.m.) - Everyone loves Wisconsin (or at least 82 percent of bettors do) but the line has dropped from 7.5 to the key number of seven. The Hawkeyes are clearly being punished by the public for their embarrassing loss to Iowa State as 17.5 point favorites last week. The books aren't afraid of Wisconsin action, though. That's likely because what we have seen from the Badgers shows us that their defense isn't as good as it should be, and that they will struggle to score against Iowa more than they have against their first three opponents. Iowa is worth a look.
Troy (-8.5) at UL Lafayette (Saturday, Sept. 22, 7:00 p.m.) - This was supposed to be a showdown between the two best teams in the Sun Belt Conference, but they only have one win between them. The books are clearly happy with action on Troy - the line has dropped from 10.5 past the key number of 10 to 8.5 despite the support of 79 percent of bettors for Troy. Frankly, I'm at a bit of a loss to explain the movement, but the size of the move makes the game very worthy of attention. The books seem like they are practically daring you to bet on Troy. That makes UL Lafayette intriguing.
Arizona (+14) at Cal (Saturday, Sept. 22, 6:00 p.m.) - The biggest contrary line move of the week sees 79 percent of bettors backing a Cal team that has seen their line fall from 17 to 14. The public loves Cal, and the Bears haven't returned the favor - they are 0-2 ATS in their last two. It would seem that the books are again looking to have the public pile on California on what could be an inflated line. The Wildcats are a hard team to love right now, but the defense should be getting better and the offense is working better than we are used to. Arizona upset Cal as 17-point underdogs last year when Cal was 8-1 and Arizona was 4-5, so an upset isn't unprecedented. Take a look at Arizona.
Cincinnati (+3.5) at Seattle (Sunday, Sept. 23, 4:05 p.m.) - Bookmakers don't seem to respect the Bengals. The way their defense is playing they don't deserve any respect. More than three quarters of bettors are on the Bengals, but the line moved off the key number of three in a way that makes them more attractive. The way the Bengals run D has been playing, Shaun Alexander could run for 400 yards, even with his sprained wrist. The books seem to think that a big Seattle win at home is likely. That makes the Seahawks interesting.