Yahoo! is partnering with The Action Network during the football season to bring you expert sports betting information and analysis. Analysis provided by Collin Wilson.
Circa Sports in Las Vegas continues to set the betting market for college football every Sunday and their openers continue to be sharp.
The betting activity on Sunday and Monday is always a tug of war between high-profile bettors betting based on their projections against the number set by the oddsmakers.
Our Action Network power ratings tend to fall in line with the opening number set by the bookmakers and there is no bias to where the cash will flow.
An opener like Duke-Virginia Tech is a perfect example. Our power ratings made the number at Virginia Tech -8.5, with Circa Sports opening Virginia Tech -7. A flood of money has driven that number to Duke +2.5 in most shops as FPI projects Virginia Tech -2 and SP+ puts the line at Virginia -4.
This is the constant battle in early markets, and it helps gamblers identify deficiencies for consumption.
This article will look at the numbers I have already hit, plus my projected spreads for every Week 5 game so you can keep an eye on lines as they move.
All odds above as of Monday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Duke at Virginia Tech (-2.5)
If you list a game in the lead section of the article as an example, you better believe we will have a play on it.
The body of work thus far on the Blue Devils and Hokies may shed some light on why the early money has supported Duke. The Blue Devils have covered Middle Tennessee State and NC A&T, while giving two turnovers to Alabama in a non-cover in the season opener.
Virginia Tech is 0-3 against the spread (ATS) so far this season, and minus-6 in net turnovers. The last time we saw the Hokies, they struggled to beat Furman, an FCS school, winning by just a touchdown.
Virginia Tech will not see the triple option the remainder of the season, so there is reason to believe they didn’t spend much time preparing for Furman’s scheme.
The Hokies still have a positive yards per play (YPP) differential at +0.75, while Duke has a negative differential at -0.11. Despite the loss to Boston College and a close win against Furman, Virginia Tech ranks inside the top 40 in total defense and inside the top 10 in sack rate. With a 3rd-down conversion rate that ranks 14th in FBS, it is safe to say Virginia Tech has had misleading box scores due to turnovers and zero prep for Furman.
Duke has beaten Virginia Tech just twice in the past 15 tries. Our projections make the Hokies a touchdown favorite, so I’m taking the discounted number.
Pick: Virginia Tech -2.5
Penn State at Maryland (+7)
Penn State escaped without having to go to overtime against Pitt, but the Panthers won the battle of total yards.
Maryland was completely overvalued against a disrespected Temple defense. The Owls defense is 3rd in line yards, an indicator that the Terps would be met at the line of scrimmage with vengeance.
Penn State will need to duplicate that effort in passing downs, as the Nittany Lions are currently 44th in line yards on defense. The Terrapins rank 5th in the country in rushing plays of 20 yards or more.
If the Maryland rushing attack is not met at the line of scrimmage, expect explosive touchdown runs against the Penn State defense. Our Action Network projection makes this game Penn State -4.5, giving the Maryland number value through 6.
Pick: Maryland +7
San Jose State at Air Force (-18)
While Georgia and Notre Dame had an epic battle, my second screen was completely focused on San Jose State’s determination to beat Arkansas.
Arkansas got caught focusing too much on ‘scoring 173’ and that post-game Club Dub celebration. As an alumni, it’s a disgusting look considering we have lost at home to ULM, Toledo, San Jose State and needed a last-minute gasp to survive Coastal Carolina.
I digress. Gamblers should focus on fading a San Jose State team coming off an emotional victory. The Spartans travel back to San Jose for a short week of practices before traveling to Colorado Springs, which has an elevation of 6,035 feet.
When playing Air Force it is all about the trenches on both sides of the ball. Air Force continues to be one of the best in line yards and power success rate. San Jose State ranks outside the top 100 in rush defense. The Spartans have allowed over 100 rushing yards to all three opponents, specifically 256 to Tulsa.
This is a great spot to catch San Jose State in a hangover spot on double travel playing at elevation. Our Action Network projections make this game Air Force -18.5, but considering the situational spot and rush statistics there could be a case for the Falcons up to 21.
Pick: Air Force -18.5