Football Betting: Early Week Line Movements
by Robert Ferringo - 09/30/2008
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. Well, I'm glad to say that we are back at it this season and ready to build on last year's research.
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.
After a solid 18-11 start to the season, the sharp action had a horrendous weekend. If you had tried to hop on the side that saw the spread move in its favor you would have went a putrid 1-7 ATS last week! All five of the college sides were losers and in the NFL the early action went just 1-2. That runs the Early Line Movements to 19-18 over five weeks of tracking in both college and the pros. That also runs the two-year total on these situations to 42-36.
Here are our Week 5 games:
Oregon State at Utah (9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2)
Open: Utah -8.0
Current: Utah -12.0
Looks like the sharps think that Oregon State's win over USC last Thursday was a fluke. Or at least that they are due for a severe letdown. The Utes made a statement by winning in The Big House to start the year. Now they want to slap on an exclamation point with a rout on national television of a BCS team. Utah has won three of five in this series but lost 24-7 last year when they lost their quarterback in the first quarter.
Boston College at North Carolina State (Noon, Saturday, Oct. 4)
Open: Boston College -4.5
Current: Boston College -8.0
Last week the Wolfpack were taking in a lot of early money and got absolutely manhandled by a motivated South Florida squad. This week the expectations are considerably lower with the Eagles coming to town. N.C. State is simply racked with crippling injuries on both sides of the ball and have a hard time keeping up physically. But don't underestimate Tom O'Brien matching up against his old team.
Penn State at Purdue (Noon, Saturday, Oct. 4)
Open: Penn State -9.5
Current: Penn State -12.5
Apparently the Penn State bandwagon is getting full. The Lions seem like a steal laying less than two touchdowns on the road to a feeble conference opponent. But you probably don't want to ignore the heart that Purdue showed while taking Oregon to overtime two weeks ago. Purdue is 10-1 SU in Big Ten openers over the last 11 years but they are just 2-9 in their last 11 meetings with Penn State. The Lions are 7-2 ATS against the Boilers and the favorite is 6-3 ATS in the last nine meetings.
Nevada at Idaho (5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4)
Open: Nevada -19.0
Current: Nevada -24.0
Las Vegas saw exactly what the Wolfpack were capable off last week when they demolished UNLV on its home turf. Now Nevada heads on the road to Moscow to take on a Vandals team that has lost 20 straight games to D-IA teams and that has gone 2-20 ATS in its last 22 games.
Florida International at North Texas (8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4)
Open: FIU -4.0
Current: FIU -7.0
It's tough to lay your loot on a team that gave up 70 points last weekend but that's the position that North Texas backers would be in. And judging by the early movements there aren't many of them. Florida International is pretty awful and is 4-10 ATS on the road. But they only lost to South Florida by eight points and then hammered Toledo in the Glass Bowl as an 18-point underdog.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Indianapolis at Houston (1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5)
Open: Indianapolis -5.0
Current: Indianapolis -3.0
Last week the only game with a significant early line movement that came through was the Texans. Now they look to make it two in a row. The Colts are coming off a bye week, but they are just 10-11 ATS with an extra week of rest and just 3-6 ATS after a bye when facing a divisional opponent. It's definitely desperation time for the Texans, who will be charged up with the emotion from playing their first game in Houston since Ike forced them on the road.
Kansas City at Carolina (1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5)
Open: Carolina -8.0
Current: Carolina -9.5
Apparently the early bettors aren't looking for back-to-back stunners from the Chiefs after their 14-win as a 10-point underdog last Sunday. Carolina is currently 3-1 and has been one of the most impressive teams in the NFL to the quarter pole.
Buffalo at Arizona (4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5)
Open: Buffalo -1.0
Current: Arizona -1.5
At 4-0 the Bills are one of the feel-good stories of the early NFL season. They're going to be getting a lot of love this week as a result of their perfect start and now they head out to the desert to face a club that just got lit for 56 points. Oh, and I'm betting that Anquan Boldin will be on the shelf for Arizona. So why the line swing? It might have to do with the fact that the Bills have been outplayed in five of their last eight quarters against two of the worst teams in the league (Oakland and St. Louis).