Doc's Friday Public Action Report
by Trevor Whenham - 10/05/2007
The Public Action Report was again useful last week. It pointed us towards two dogs that were outright winners - Illinois in college football and the Falcons in the NFL. It also showed us that Hawaii wasn't a lock to run away against Idaho. As with almost any single factor approach to handicapping, this method of picking games is not likely to be profitable by itself, but it does do a very good job of pointing out games that are worthy of further study, and particularly of finding underdog winners in close games. This week there are five games again - three in college and two in the NFL:
Miami (-7) at North Carolina (Saturday, Oct. 6, 12:00 p.m.) - Nine out of 10 bettors are on Miami, yet this game opened at 8.5, has moved to the key number of seven, and can be even be found at 6.5 in some places. The books obviously don't fear Miami despite their 4-1 record, and a look at what they have done provides a clue as to why. They have covered just twice, and they looked good in both of those games. The two wins that they didn't cover were fairly flat performances, and their loss against Oklahoma was humiliating. North Carolina is just 1-4, but they have played three of those losses very tight, and have been just a break or two away from a better record. It's very conceivable that the public would be on Miami to the extent that the spread is inflated well beyond what it should be. That means that North Carolina is worth a look.
Vanderbilt (+7.5) at Auburn (Saturday, Oct. 6, 12:30 p.m.) - Three quarters of the bets paced are for Auburn, but the line is dropping. It opened at 8.5 and is now down to 7.5. Though that move isn't as extreme as it could be because it is still above the key number of seven, it is still contrary to what we would expect in this situation, and that means we have to take a look at Vanderbilt. It's possible that Auburn will be flat this weekend after their unexpected huge upset over Florida last weekend, and it's also possible that the public is overly enthusiastic in their support of Auburn after watching that exciting win. This is still the team, after all, which lost to Mississippi State.
Ohio (-4) at Buffalo (Saturday, Oct. 6, 1:00 p.m.) - Look who's back in this report for the third straight week - Buffalo. Three weeks in a row it has been suggested that they are worth a look (this week Ohio has 80 percent of the action, but the line has fallen from 5.5 to four). Hopefully Buffalo performs better this week, as they have been blown out the last two weeks, and haven't even come close to covering either time. Ohio is a team that is 3-1 ATS, but just 2-3 straight up, so they have been overachieving against the spread here. If Buffalo plays like they did against Temple, or even Penn State, then they could certainly cover here.
New York Jets (+3) at New York Giants (Sunday, Oct. 7, 1:00 p.m.) - When it comes to this kind of analysis, I'm particularly interested in games like this in which the key number of three comes into play. More than 80 percent of bettors are backing the Giants, yet the line opened as high as four in some places and has fallen to three. The public is going to be more enthusiastically supporting the Giants than perhaps they should after the ridiculous exhibit of sacking power they displayed on Sunday night. The pass rush is a bit of a concern, but unless Winston Justice has been traded to the Jets it won't be nearly as big of a factor as it was last week. The Jets are worth a look because of the line movement.
Chicago (+3) at Green Bay (Sunday, Oct. 7, 8:15 p.m.) - This is one of those interesting cases that is so common in the NFL where one team isn't as bad as people think they are and another team isn't as good. If this game were in the first week of the season then the Bears would likely have been comfortably favored. They have been terrible, though, and the Pack have been the biggest positive surprise in the league. Chicago's quarterbacking struggles are well documented, and Brett Favre has again been elevated to god status. That would all indicate a situation where the public would be heavily on the home team, and that is certainly the case here - four out of five bets have been on the Packers. Despite the one sided action, the line has moved from 3.5 down to three. That means that Brian Griese and the Bears deserve some attention.