Football Betting: Early Week Line Movements
by Robert Ferringo - 11/19/2008
It was clean sweeps all around last week. Our "sharp" action posted a 0-fer in college football, missing on all four of its movements over last weekend. Conversely, the NFL early line movements were a great indicator as it went 3-0 against the spread.
Overall that's a 3-4 ATS weekend, and a losing one at that. However, it's interesting to note that that was only the second losing weekend that these movements have had over the last seven weeks. Over the past two years these early line movements have been indicative of winners to the tune of 72-65, which is a break even 52.6 percent.
Here are this week's games:
Colorado State at Wyoming (2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22)
Current: Colorado State -3.0
Tracking: Colorado State
Steve Fairchild has quietly had a very successful season as a first-year coach with the Rams. CSU has won five games with pretty mediocre talent and they are coming off a nice underdog win last week against New Mexico. The home team has dominated this series, winning the last six straight up. But Wyoming is 1-8-1 ATS at home and 5-21-1 ATS overall.
Stanford at California (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22)
Open: Cal -10.5
Current: Cal -9.0
Clearly there are those backers out there that think double-digits is too much for a rivalry game. Stanford has been a little spry this year as Jim Harbaugh rebuilds his program and this game is their Super Bowl - even more than last year's matchup with USC and are on a 6-2 ATS run. Stanford won this game outright last year, which gives Cal revenge this time around. The Bears have lost two straight huge games (at USC and at Oregon State) and you have to wonder how much they have left in the tank.
Mississippi at LSU (6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15)
Open: LSU -7.0
Current: LSU -4.5
It looks like LSU's near-loss last week is having the same impact on their lines as if they actually had lost at home to Troy. Mississippi has proven it can pull an upset (at Florida) on the road this year and have some athletes to play with the Tigers.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Troy (4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15)
Open: Troy -6.0
Current: Troy -9.0
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
New York Jets at Tennessee (1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 23)
Open: Tennessee -4.5
Current: Tennessee -5.5
Once again, everyone is getting on the Titans early. It's got to be a kind of, "Ride the wave" feeling around this team. Instead of betting against their winning streak it's as if people just can't wait to get behind them. This is also a big-time letdown spot for the Jets after their win at New England last week.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13)
We're looking at temperatures in the 20s, a few snow showers, and strong winds off the water for Thursday night's game. On top of that the Bengals defense has been playing better and the Steelers have one of the best units in the league. It will be interesting if those factors can slow the clear trend of national TV games going 'over' this year.
Last year we tracked the opening steam movements of lines in both college football and the NFL. The idea was to see if the "sharp" money was really that, or if the idea of trailing these severe early line movements was merely a myth.
Here is the basic methodology. If a line starts as Penn State (-1) and moves to Penn State (-4) then we're going to track Penn State as our side, because the Lions are getting all of the money and driving the spread up. If the line starts as Penn State (-4) and then moves to Penn State (-2) we're going to track the opponent because they are taking the heavy action and it's moving the line lower.