Football Odds Weekly Report on Most Significant Line Moves
by Aaron Smith - 8/29/2014
There is action on the gridiron once again! College football is back this week, and next week the NFL regular season will be here as well. Doc's Sports will be offering a weekly line moves report this season. This report will cover some of the more notable line moves from the week for both college football and NFL games. In this report, we'll not only look at what lines have moved, but also investigate possible reasons for the line move. For this week's report, we'll focus on college games only since the NFL regular season isn't quite here.
Rotation Number with Current Line and matchup (Original line before move in Parentheses)
#156 UCF -2 vs. Penn State (UCF +1) Saturday, August 30, 8:30 a.m. ET The last time we saw UCF play, they waxed Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl as a huge 17-point underdog. I have to wonder if that memory isn't part of the reason that this line has shifted in their favor. Remember, this is a game that will be played Saturday in Dublin, Ireland. Penn State has a new coach on the sidelines for this one. Blake Bortles and Storm Johnson are both gone for UCF, but the Knights do return 15 starters overall. Penn State returns just 12 starters from a year ago. Some bettors use the returning starters angle early in the season, so that could explain some of this move as well.
#157 Ohio State -16.5 vs. Navy (Ohio State -17.5) Saturday, August 30, 12:00 pm ET This is a unique case where the Braxton Miller injury created a huge reaction in the betting market and moved Ohio State down by 5.5 points. In my opinion, that move made a lot of sense because of how much Miller meant to this team. As Ohio State crept back to -13.5 and -14, I expected resistance, but money kept pouring in on the Buckeyes instead. It's a bit of a curious case to me. How could Ohio State be -17.5 with Miller and -16.5 without Miller? One of those lines is off, because we all know Miller is worth far more than one point. Bettors may be expecting Ohio State to dominate in the trenches against Navy, but this should be the best Midshipmen team in the past few years. This is the strangest line move of the week to me.
#170 Nebraska -21 vs. Florida Atlantic (Nebraska -24) Saturday, August 30, 3:30 pm ET Money has come in on Florida Atlantic here, and at first it made very little sense to me, but as I look closer at this one I think there are some sharp bettors backing Florida Atlantic. Florida Atlantic's new coach, Charlie Partridge, used to be the co-defensive coordinator under Bret Bielema at Wisconsin. Because of that Partridge knows this Nebraska team better than most coaches would. That has to be a benefit to the Owls as they prepare here. In addition, Nebraska comes into this one with an offensive attack that is far from balanced. The Cornhuskers are going to run the ball constantly, but they aren't good at throwing it. Partridge was the defensive line coach at Wisconsin, and when he was there the Badgers were about as good as anyone in the nation at stopping the run.
#181 Clemson vs. Georgia Posted Total 54.5 (58) Saturday, August 30, 5:30 pm ET Earlier this week, the total for this game sat at 58 points, but huge money has come in on the "under," and it now sits at 54.5 points. I'll start by saying I'm a little upset with myself for not betting this one when it was at 58 points. Last year's 38-35 shootout likely made the oddsmakers set this one a little higher than it should have been. Some wiseguys have come in and seen the value on the under and bet this one lower. Both of these teams have a new quarterback for the first time in several years. These two have typically been led by their high-scoring offenses, but I look for the Tigers and the Bulldogs defenses to be great this year. Clemson might have the best defensive line in the country. Georgia returns eight starters on defense from a unit that played better than I expected a year ago. The inexperienced Bulldogs defense from last season is no longer inexperienced. The defenses should have the edge in this contest.
#171 Boston College -17 vs. UMass (-14.5) Saturday, August 30, 3:00 pm ET How does a Boston College team that returns only nine starters from a year ago jump by 2.5 points during the course of the week in the betting market? The single biggest reason is that they are matched up against a hapless Massachusetts Minutemen team. UMass had one win last year, and it was a 17-10 win over Miami (OH) (the Redhawks finished the season 0-12). How bad is this UMass team? They were beaten on their home field by a count of 24-14 by Maine last season. Some respected sharp bettors have played the Eagles, and the books have had to adjust this number quickly.
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