By Doug Upstone of Sports-Watch
It’s a new year, yet the battle between oddsmakers and sports bettors rages on. Here is a look this weekend’s line moves in college and pro football with high stakes everywhere.
BOWL – Friday (263) TEXAS A&M vs. (264) OKLAHOMA 8:00 ET FOX
The love-fest for Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel has curtailed like the idea of losing weight for the New Year. The Aggies were released by oddmakers at -4.5 and this number has tumbled to a field goal. For starters, Heisman winners have a long history of postseason failures, often placing too much pressure on themselves. Also, Oklahoma is generally familiar with Texas A&M, with the Aggies having just left for the SEC this past season, though Manziel nor coach Kevin Sumlin were on board yet. The Sooners prefer to play at a fast pace and could pull the upset.
Update- Football bettors are obviously comfortable with the Sooners catching three points, though just over 41 percent of the action is on them. S-W Pick – Oklahoma covers
NFL – (101) CINCINNATI at (102) Houston 4:30 ET NBC
If Cincinnati had not blown a 19-10 fourth quarter lead to Dallas, they would be on an 8-0 SU and ATS run at this very moment. After a 3-5 start, the Bengals turned their season around with a suffocating defense, which has allowed just 12.7 points per game in the second half of the season. The quality of QB Matt Schaub’s play has really diminished the last month, partly his own fault and the rest falling in Houston’s offensive line losing its cohesiveness. This has led football bettors to drop the total from 44 to 43. This is further substantiated by the Bengals 8-0 UNDER record after one or more spread wins and the Texans 11-3 UNDER mark when favored by 3.5 to 9.5 points.
Update- There has been a slight buyback with the total at 43.5 at two-thirds of the sportsbooks reviewed. Just under 60 percent are on the OVER. S-W Pick – Play Under
BOWL – Sunday (267) ARKANSAS STATE vs. (222) KENT STATE 9:00 ET ESPN
Arkansas State began as a good-sized five-point favorite over Kent State, but has since fallen to -3.5. Among the reasons why the alternation could be in spite of both coaches taking other jobs from the universities, Kent State’s Darrell Hazell asked and was allowed to coach his final gam, for a school who last went bowling 40 years ago. We have all witnessed bowl games this season where the coaching change has turned into a negative and this could be to the Golden Flashes advantage.
Update- With the game approaching, Arkansas State is back to -4 at about half the books checked. A smidge over 60 percent are backing the underdog. S-W Pick – Kent State covers
NFL – (107) SEATTLE at (108) WASHINGTON 4:00 ET FOX
In spite of Washington having won and covered seven in a row and playing at home, Seattle has football bettors thinking they are the superior team for this Wild Card conflict. The Seahawks were released as a Pick at many sports betting locations and are up to -2.5. The notion “defense wins championships” has to be a significant reason and the visiting team is No.1 in fewest points allowed and 4th in total defense in the NFL this season.
Update- By midweek, Seattle was up to a solid three-point road favorite and is attracting 57 percent of the betting action. S-W Pick – Seattle covers
BCS – (269) ALABAMA vs. (270) NOTRE DAME 8:30 ET ESPN
Give Nick Saban a long layoff and Alabama time to prepare, they are virtually unbeatable. At least this is the sentiment from bowl game bettors, as the Crimson Tide went from -7.5 to -9.5 within 36 hours of the release of the championship game betting information and has since bounced around from 10 to 9.5. The general consensus is Bama is used to playing in big games and despite two tremendous defenses, how does Notre Dame match points? Here is an intriguing nugget, coach Brian Kelly is 15-5 ATS against teams with .750 or higher win percentage.
Update- Nothing much has changed on side action since this game was released; however, the total has been in slow decline since opening at 42 and is either at 40.5 or 40 points. Sixty percent of bettors are with the Fighting Irish and the total is almost evenly split. S-W Pick – Notre Dame covers