Doc's Friday Public Action Report
by Trevor Whenham - 10/25/2007
It was another good week for the Public Action Report last week. Two out of the three teams we picked covered the spread. Interestingly, both teams were outright winners despite being 5.5- and nine-point underdogs. This football betting philosophy has been working well in recent weeks, which is notable given how topsy-turvy the rest of college football has been. There look to be four games - two in college and two in the NFL - which grab my attention this week.
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South Florida (-4) at Connecticut (Saturday, Oct. 27, 3:30 p.m.) - The public obviously seems to like the Bulls more than the books do. That's because 86 percent of bets on this game have been on South Florida. Despite the overwhelmingly one-sided support, the line started at 5.5 and has fallen to four. Rutgers knocked South Florida from the ranks of the undefeated last weekend, and the media covered it heavily. Less publicly known is that Huskies are also a close loss, one point to Virginia in their case, away from being undefeated. The Huskies have an under-appreciated defense. They effectively shut down Louisville last week, and are balanced enough to give the Bulls' offense troubles. West Virginia was able to shake Matt Grothe and get him off his game, and the Connecticut defense is similarly effective. There's also the issue of how the Bulls will bounce back from what had to be a crushing defeat. Based on the line movement, Connecticut is clearly worth a look.
Utah (-5.5) at Colorado State (Saturday, Oct. 27, 5:30 p.m.) - Utah has 83 percent of the public action, yet the line has dropped from the opening point of 6.5 down to 5.5. The Utes were very frustrating early in the season, covering just one of their first five games. That one cover, though, showed much promise - a 44-6 blowout win over UCLA as 15-point underdogs. Since then they have covered three games in a row, including two underdog wins, and have rounded into form. It's the kind of improvement, though, that gets the public attention. They upset Louisville on the road as 14.5-point underdogs. The problem, though, is that a lot of what they have done isn't as impressive as it may seem. Beating Louisville and TCU sounds a lot better than it actually is given the performance of the teams. Colorado State covered their last game after failing to cover four straight. That win was interesting though - they beat UNLV, 48-23. That same team beat Utah 27-0 a month ago. That could be a good reason why the books don't seem afraid to have action on Utah. That makes Colorado State worthy of some attention.
New York Giants (-9.5) vs Miami in London (Sunday, Oct. 28, 1:00 p.m.) - It's not at all surprising that the public is overwhelmingly on the Giants, with 92 percent of bets placed going towards Eli Manning and Co. The Giants are rounding into form as one of the few members of the elite in the NFC. The Dolphins are truly awful, and had key losses on both sides of the ball last week. There is little to like about them, and little reason to think that Cleo Lemon will have anything other than a very long day when faced with New York's pass rush. Given that, it is very surprising that this line opened at the key number of 10 and has fallen to 9.5. I'll be honest and admit that I have no idea why the line has moved as it has. I guess we could put it down to the uncertainty of how a team will react to playing in a different country, or how the disrupted practice schedules and time zones the trip involves will affect the players, or perhaps that the pride of Miami players may be enough for them to bounce back from the embarrassment last week against New England and try to get a win. I'm not sure I buy any of those explanations, but what I do know is that I would expect action this one-sided to send the line rocketing upwards, not dropping slightly. Beyond normal reasoning, then, Miami is worth a look.
New Orleans Saints (-1) at San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, Oct. 28, 4:15 p.m.) - Almost two-thirds of bets on this game have been placed on Reggie Bush and the Saints, but the line has dropped from the key number of three to one. As we have discussed many times, it is particularly notable when a key number is involved, and especially when it is three, and the line moves so far away from it contrary to what would normally be expected. After a rough start, the Saints have won two in a row. The last win against Atlanta was hardly overwhelming, though. San Francisco's fate has been the opposite - they won their first two games, and have been winless since. This seems to me to be a case where the game should be a basic coin flip given the problems both sides have had, yet the public is overwhelmingly on one side. That is probably not logical in this circumstance. That, coupled with the line movement, makes San Francisco worthy of a look.