Football Betting: Friday Public Action Report
by Trevor Whenham - 11/07/2008
Another week of football means another week of the Public Action Report. You can look at last week's report for a more detailed breakdown of what we are looking for here, but essentially the goal is to find games with line movement that is contrary to what is expected. There are three games to look at this week - two in college on Saturday, and the Monday night game.
Kansas (+1.5) at Nebraska (Saturday, Nov. 8, 2:30 pm ET) - This line movement is really eye opening. Only a quarter of all bets made have been on the Huskers. Despite that, though, the line is swinging in their favor. Nebraska opened up as three-point underdogs at home, but the line moved quickly off that key number, and Kansas is now favored. That's the opposite of what we would expect, and clearly not a big endorsement of the Jayhawks. It's hard on the surface to know why Nebraska is worth a look - they are just 2-4 straight up and ATS in their last six games. They are coming off a blowout loss to the Sooners, and they are just 2-4 ATS at home. Kansas, on the other hand, bounced back from a blowout to Texas Tech by rolling over Kansas State last week. They are 2-1 ATS on the road. Despite all that evidence, the movement tells us that Nebraska is definitely worth a look, and that the smart money is likely on them. One reason for that could be their coach. Bo Pellini has had a rough first year, and he seems to feel as if he is under pressure (a lot of it self made) to turn things around. That motivation could see him put together a big home game here. Nebraska also needs a win for bowl eligibility, and that could be a motivator.
Louisiana Tech (+7) at San Jose State (Saturday, Nov. 8, 8:00 pm ET) - The public loves the Spartans - more than four out of every five bets have been on San Jose State. That makes the line movement surprising - the game opened at 8.5 but has since dropped to the key number of seven. That makes San Jose State more attractive for bettors, and that's a clear sign that the books aren't afraid of action on the Spartans. If Louisiana Tech is going to cover here then they are going to have to reverse recent history - San Jose State has covered in each of the last four meetings. After starting the season with a win and a cover, the Bulldogs slid into a funk, losing three of four and failing to cover a game. They have turned things around recently, though, winning and covering two of their last three, including an impressive, gritty win over Fresno State last weekend. They seem to have found their stride. San Jose State has failed to cover two in a row, and last week they allowed a pretty lousy Idaho team keep it close. One thing Louisiana Tech won't have going for them here is quarterbacking excellence - leading passer Taylor Bennett, the Georgia Tech transfer, has completed less than 40 percent of his passes. That's ugly. Despite that, though, the line movement gives us a pretty strong clue that Bennett's Bulldogs are worth a look.
San Francisco 49ers (+9.5) at Arizona Cardinals (Monday, Nov. 10, 8:30 pm ET) - I'm a guy who believed in the Niners coming into this season, and I still find it hard to believe that they are worth a serious look here. The line movement says otherwise, though. Three quarters of bets made have been on the Cardinals. That's no surprise. The surprise is that the line has dropped off the key number of 10 to 9.5. That would indicate that the books are happy with action on the Cardinals, and that in turn would likely indicate that there is smart money coming in on the Niners. That's interesting, to say the least, for a team that hasn't won or covered in five games. Especially considering the Cardinals have covered four in a row. There are at least a few arguments to justify the Niners, though. San Francisco was able to stay within 10 the first time the two teams played this year, and they have the advantage of that experience this time around. Mike Singletary needs a big performance both to get the attention of his team and to secure his job status beyond its current interim status. There is no bigger regular season stage than Monday Night Football, so Singletary, the crazy motivator that he is, should be able to have his troops excited about this one. It also wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility that Arizona would be looking past this one. This is not a tough opponent for them, and a win would further entrench them on top of their division, so they could be taking it for granted. Whatever argument you buy into, the point is that the line tells us to at least consider San Francisco.