Doc's Friday Public Action Report
by Trevor Whenham - 10/12/2007
It was another good week for the Public Action Report for football betting last week, which means that it was another bad week for the public. We were able to identify the Chicago Bears and North Carolina Tarheels, two teams that deserved much more attention than they were getting, and Buffalo finally cam through for us in the college ranks after failing to do so two weeks in a row. That was three of five games correct. Now if only we could come up with a way that would have told us to bet Stanford on the money line.
There are again five games that have line movements that are contrary to the public support this week. If you are just joining us, our criteria is simple - we are looking for games in which at least 70 percent of all bets placed have been for one team, yet the line has moved to make that team more attractive. That means either that smart money is on the less favored team (usually the underdog), or that the books are encouraging more action on the favored team because they don't like their chances of covering. In either case, the underdog is worthy of some close attention. To this point we have seen that this approach has been a good indicator of underdog covers, and it has also shown us several games that are much closer than they might first appear.
Alabama (-5.5) at Mississippi (Saturday, Oct. 13, 12:30 p.m.) - This one only barely qualifies because, as I write this, Alabama has exactly 70 percent of the bets that have been placed, but the line movement from 6.5 to 5.5 is significant enough to make it worth noting. The line of 6.5 is an interesting place for a spread to start because it will either move to or away from the key number of seven. The fact that it moved away despite the relatively heavy support of Alabama indicates that Mississippi is worth a look. It hasn't been a bad idea to stay away from the Crimson Tide all year. They are a public team, but they have essentially put bettor's money in a pile and burned it all season. They have failed to cover in their last four games. That stretch includes two games they won but not by enough to cover, and one in which they lost outright as favorites. That's not a way to reward your backers.
Tennessee (-7) at Mississippi State (Saturday, Oct. 13, 2:30 p.m.) - I'm fascinated by games in which the line moves onto or through a key number despite public pressure which should move it the other way. This is such a case. A whopping 83 percent of bets have been on Tennessee, yet the line has moved from it's opening eight to the seven it now sits at. Obviously, that makes it easier for Tennessee to push, which makes it much more attractive for bettors. That means that books are obviously not afraid of action on Tennessee despite the huge imbalance already existing. A possible explanation for this move is that Tennessee could be looking past Mississippi State towards their game next week against Alabama, a long-time rival. You can ask Auburn how well it turns out if you don't give the Bulldogs your full attention. Take a look at Mississippi State.
San Diego State (+14) at Utah (Saturday, Oct. 13, 3:00 p.m.) - Utah has a huge majority of the action on its back - 87 percent. The line, though, has moved from 15 to 14. The books could be courting more action on Utah because, frankly, they have been lousy favorites this year. They have been favored three times, and they have yet to cover. San Diego State, on the other hand, has been underdog by at least 12.5 points in each of their four games with a line, and they have covered twice. The Aztecs need some attention based on this movement.
Tennessee (+3) at Tampa Bay (Sunday, Oct. 14, 1:00 p.m.) - Tampa Bay has been better than many expected, but the public hasn't seemed to notice. Tennessee has seen more than 70 percent of the action on this game. Despite that, the line on Tennessee, which opened at +1.5, has moved up to the key number of three. That makes Tampa Bay worth a look. The Bucs have been effective at making the afternoon difficult for teams that don't have particularly strong offenses. Despite the attention Tennessee gets, the Titans are 30th in the league in passing yards, and 24th in total yards. Jeff Garcia's team is worth a look. This is a rare case where the team that is worth our attention is actually the favorite.
Minnesota (+5) at Chicago (Sunday, Oct. 14, 1:00 p.m.) - The line has moved from six to five despite the fact that 72 percent of the action is on Chicago. This is a game in which the teams have combined to go 2-5-2 ATS, so backing either one isn't particularly attractive. Many have said that Chicago needs to run more if they want to win more games, but they likely won't be able to do that against Minnesota's top rated run defense. Whether that's the reason, or there is some other reason, the line movement indicates that the Vikings may be attractive here.