Elite Sportsbook Smart Bet (Thursday 8/29)
Tonight there are 32 combined football games to wager on. 16 NFL Week 4 Preseason Games and 16 College Football Openers. We suggest that MAYBE you shouldn't bet NFL Preseason but if you want to here are some Week 4 NFL lines and trends from our friends and sbnation.com.
6:00 p.m. CST: UCLA at Cincinnati (-3.5)
This prime-time showdown is currently the most heavily bet college football game of the night. Cincinnati beat UCLA 26-17 in last year's season opener and finished an impressive 11-2 on the year. The Bearcats opened as 4-point home favorites against Chip Kelly's Bruins, who finished last season a disappointing 3-9. Despite the tickets being relatively split, we've seen this line fall to -2.5 or even -2 at some books and some as high as -3.5. This is a clear indication that wiseguys are backing the Bruins and causing sharp reverse line movement in their favor. Since 2005, short road dogs (+4 or less) like UCLA have gone 54.4% ATS (+73.81 units) according to Bet Labs sports. We've also seen smart money target the under, as the total has fallen from 60 to 58.
Nine starters return on offense for the Bruins and ten starters return on offense. Dual threat quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinsonnow has a full season under Chip Kelly's offense after being thrown into action way too early in the 2018 season. Take the points here and run with it. Bruins have revenge on their mind.
7 p.m. CST: Georgia Tech at Clemson (1)
The defending champion Clemson Tigers are the top ranked team in the country and currently a +180 favorite to repeat as FBS Champions. Their win total is 11.5 (over -135, under +115), highest in the nation. Star quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a +280 favorite to win the Heisman. Georgia Tech lost to Clemson 49-21 last year and finished 7-6 on the season. Now they must acclimate to new Head Coach Geoff Collins. Clemson opened as a massive 34-point favorite and we've seen the line rise to -37. While Clemson in a blowout seems like an obvious play, there is a reason to buy low on the Yellow Jackets. Since 2005, underdogs of 30+ points in Week 1 who see the line move further away from them have gone 88-60 ATS (59.5%). Essentially you are taking advantage of being gifted extra points caused by public betting (Georgia Tech +34 to +37). The total has ticked up slightly from 59.5 to 60.5.
Clemson has beaten the Yellow Jackets the last 4 years and not one of those victories were by more than 28 points. 5 touchdowns is a lot to cover especially in a Week 1 ACC Conference game. New Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins averaged 35 points per game at Temple last season and although the system may be new to Tech, we don't think Clemson pours it on here. Take the points.
7:30 p.m. CST: Texas State at Texas A&M (12)
Texas A&M went 9-4 last year in Jimbo Fisher's first year as head coach. Meanwhile, small school Texas State went just 3-9. Hammer the Aggies, right? This line opened with A&M listed as huge 35-point favorites. Despite receiving massive public support, we've seen the line fall to -33. Why would bookmakers drop the spread to make it easier for Average Joes to cover with the Aggies? Because sharps got down hard on Texas State, forcing a 2-point adjustment in their favor. One x-factor here: new Texas State Head Coach Jake Spavital was the former offensive coordinator at A&M, so he knows the opponent well. We've also seen smart money target the under (58 to 57). Winds up to 10 MPH are expected at Kyle Field, which make it harder to kick and throw the ball, leading to more running which chews up the clock and benefits the under.
Texas A&M returns Kellen Mood at QB and the Aggies have been a CFB playoff pick among some college experts. Texas State does return a lot of experience from last year's team but that is still the same team that lost by 28 to Rutgers. Texas State QB Tyler Bitt threw 7 TDs last season and 10 INT's. Jimbo remains the teacher, Spatival remains the pupil give up the points at take A&M.
9:15 p.m. CST: Utah (14) at BYU
Casual bettors bet largely based on bias, gut instinct and rankings. If a ranked team goes against an unranked team, hammer the ranked team. But sportsbooks know this and will shade the lines toward the popular side, creating added contrarian value to buy low on the unranked team. This late night showdown is a perfect example. Utah opened as a six-point road favorite. Sharps hit BYU plus the points early, dropping the line down to 5.5. The number then ballooned back to Utah -7 thanks to heavy public betting. That's when wiseguys doubled down on BYU and crushed the home dog at the key number of +7. The line has since settled back at 6.5. BYU also has excellent contrarian value, getting only about one-third of bets as a home dog in a heavily bet game. The total has dropped slightly from 48.5 to 48.
In 2016 Utah (-3) defeated BYU 20-19, in 2017 Utah (-5) defeated BYU 19-13 and in 2018 Utah (10.5) defeated BYU 35-27. See where we are going here? Utah is 1-2 Against The Spread in the last 3 years. This is a stay away game. Utah is the better team but it is still in state and last says a lot. If you must bet the game, look for a teaser of you liking or look to parlay the money line with an already solid investment.
A couple of things to remember when betting...
1. Remain disciplined and limit your plays. You don't have to bet every single game tonight. Only get down on the games you did your homework on and feel like you have an edge. Betting too many games just because they're on TV and you want the action is a great way to assume added risk and lose money. Remember, it's a long season.
2. Manage your bankroll properly. Don't be careless with your unit size. Don't be all over the place and put down different amounts based on your confidence level. Don't double down or chase depending on how the night is going. Instead, think about embracing flat betting. This means risking the same amount on every game (typically 1% to 5% of your bankroll per play) and always risking 1 unit. This consistent bet size approach will keep you afloat through the inevitable ups and downs that come with betting on sports.
Every Tuesday we talk with Elite Sportsbook and Rhythm City Casino on Don't Hassle Us We're Local about gambling lines and trends.
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