by Chris, the Impaler - 09/22/2005
When we look for value in Saturday afternoon sports investment, not only do we look at value conferences, but we also shop until we drop. Meaning that not only do we cap the games, but we also handicap the offshore sports brokerage houses! It is rare that every sports investment parlor will give the same tasty morsels (spreads) as the other. Take for example our two games this week; Arkansas State (-10) vs. Florida International and Marshall (-3 1/2) at Central Florida.
The Indians opened as a 10 1/2 favorite, but that line is only available now if you buy up the points. Books like BetCRIS have the Indians listed as 9 1/2 point 'chalk', however, at other books the Indians are still listed at -10. I don't know when you shop, but I like shopping before the squares get involved and usually that is the Monday or Tuesday before the weekend's games. If you like the Indians in this game, then you'd be a fool to bet at a place laying ten, while if you like the Golden Panthers then it makes little sense to wager at a house that is offering 9 1/2 points. In our other value game of the week, Marshall opened as a 2 ½ point road favorite and was quickly bet up to 3 1/2, however, if you had bet the game on Monday you most likely would have only laid a field goal on the game as the steam started coming in later in the week as gamblers woke up from their NFL hangovers.
For these reasons, most seasoned gamblers have accounts with at least four different offshore sports investment parlors. This not only protects sports punters from playing bad numbers, but it also adds value to their plays. There is nothing worse than capping a game correctly and then losing by the hook. Or as my wife would put it, it is like going to Marshall-Fields' for a storewide 25 percent sale on the weekend, when they had a storewide 45 percent sale on Tuesday earlier that week.
NCAA Week 3: Value Bets Recap (2-0)
For the first time since 1996 the Baylor Bears start their season 3-0. The Bears covered the closing number of 5 1/2. The combined 30 points never challenged the 54-point total. The Bears allowed the Black Knights a TD with 1:35 remaining in the fourth quarter, but led the entire game. Over in the Mountain West we got more bang for our buck on the exciting come-from-behind win led by Cowboys QB Corey Bramlet with a 1-yard rushing TD with 1:25 left in the game and ultimately winning 28-29 to put both schools at 2-1 on the season. If you took Wyoming on the money line your received $1.25 on every dollar invested. It was questionable whether this game would go over the posted total of 54.5, however 27 points scored in the fourth quarter pushed the total over.
Unquestionably, the Cowboy's defense were the real stars of this game causing timely turnovers that led to scores and intercepting Shaun Carney on Air Force's final drive to secure Wyoming's (and ours) second straight victory.
Marshall (-3 1/2) at CENTRAL FLORIDA (47 1/2 o/u)
This week we travel to the MAC. Ooops. I mean this week we travel to another noted value conference, C-USA, to invest last weekend's winnings, as both UCF and Marshall make their C-USA debuts this week. Last week Central Florida was dominated by South Florida 31-14 and increased their nation leading losing streak to 17 games. The Golden Knights have not won since beating Central Michigan 31-13 on Oct. 25, 2003. They allowed 426 yards of total offense with 326 yards on the ground. Marshall is coming off two home games and a bye, this week will be the Thundering Herd's first road game of the season. Against Kansas State, Sophomore QB Bernard Morris left the game with a bruise on his non-throwing shoulder. This proved disastrous for the Herd, as Junior Jimmy Skinner (started the William and Mary game and was replaced by Morris) threw two crucial INTs that cost Marshall the game. However, Morris is expected to start against the Golden Knights. Keep in mind this is a homecoming of sorts for Morris, who is from Orlando, FL and will look to have a great day in front of his friends and family. Marshall should be able to exploit a porous Golden Knights' defense as they average just under 90 ypg with RB Ahmad Bradshaw leading the Herd with 130 yards and three touchdowns in two games. On defense, Marshall has shown the ability to stop potent offenses. They have produced seven turnovers and five sacks in two games. Against Kansas State (a game they should have won by DD), the Herd limited K-State to 334 yards, of which approximately 2/3 were on the ground, and only 21 points. The Knights will start freshman tackle Patrick Brown and redshirt freshman guard L.J. Anderson this week against Marshall. George O'Leary's Golden Knights lost last year at Marshall 20-3 and overall Central Florida is 0-3 SU (losing by a combined score of 67-31) but 1-2 ATS against Marshall and is 4-9 ATS at the Citrus Bowl.
PICK: Marshall -3.5 for $220
ARKANSAS STATE (-10) vs Florida International (49 1/2 o/u)
We travel to Jonesboro, Arkansas and Indian Stadium as the Golden Panthers of Florida International are listed as a ten-point road 'dog in their Sun Belt Conference clash with the Arkansas State Indians. Florida International is in its fourth year of football and its first year as a Division I-A member. The Indians are already battle weary and have already played two very tough Big XII conference teams on the road at Kansas State and Texas Tech losing both games by double digits. However, FIU was able to roll 349 yards on the Red Raiders and control the ball for just over 36 minutes against Texas Tech, unfortunately they only scored three points. While FIU got inside the red zone three times in the first half, they only managed to get inside the twenty twice in the second half but managed to earn 26 first downs! Moreover, the Golden Panther defense allowed Tech QB Cody Hodges 454 yards through the air and four touchdowns as well as one rushing TD. Last year Arkansas State Indians managed sixth place in the Sun Belt, this year they are likely to do better with four Sun Belt conference games at home. ASU has seven starters on defense that returned from last year's squad. In last week's 20-10 loss to the Cowboys of Oklahoma State, Indian QB Noce struggled. Noce completed 11-of-24 passes for only 122 yards. He also threw an interception and was sacked four times and did not look good under center. The Indians will need top Sun Belt rusher (and 10th in the nation) tailback Warren who averages 127 ypg this season to continue dominating defenses. This game will be characterized by ball control. I see FIU once again trying to dominate the time of possession. Most likely we'll see the Indians applying pressure by running Warren right at the FIU defense. Ultimately, though, I think 10 points is just too many for Arkansas State to cover because I don't believe they'll be able to blow FIU out in this game that should be closer than you think. Gamblers should note that the Indians are 9-4 in their last 13 conference home games.
PICK: FIU +10 for $220
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