College Football Sharp Report: Pros Betting Penn State-Pittsburgh, 4 Other Games

Sep 08, 2018 2:05 PM EDT
  • Before placing your Week 2 college football bets, you might want to know which bets sharps are making.
  • Sharps are bettors with long track records of consistent success.
  • Their favorite Week 2 plays include bets on Arizona-Houston and Penn State-Pittsburgh.

A late touchdown was the difference for sharp bettors in Week 1, as they wound up starting the year 3-2 after cashing the over in Louisville-Alabama.

Of course, as will be the case every week, sharps have targeted a number of games on the Week 2 slate, and if you’re planning on betting Saturday’s matchups, you might be curious to know which ones they’ve picked out.

“Sharps” are bettors with long track records of consistent success. And when I say long, I’m talking several years — decades even.

When a sharp places a bet, books take notice and often adjust their lines as a result.

By tracking those line moves, we can determine which bets sharps are making, assuming we have a few more bits of information — which we do.

The tools at Sports Insights and The Action Network allow us to track each time a wager comes in that changes the market price of a given bet (this is called a steam move). We also track the percentage of tickets being placed on each side of a bet, as well as the percentage of actual dollars.

Comparing those figures to the line movement is one of the easiest and most effective ways to locate sharp action.

OK, that’s enough of that. Here are the plays that have drawn the most smart money in Week 2.

>> All odds as of Friday at 1:45 p.m. ET. All games on Saturday, Sept. 8

Arizona at Houston

12 p.m. ET

Sharp angle: Over 71

Only 40% of bettors have been brave enough to take the over in what’s become Week 2’s highest total. I say “become” because it didn’t open that way.

Sharps have made this the highest total of the week by hammering the over, causing books to adjust their line from 66 to 71.

Despite attracting only 40% of bettors, this over has drawn 54% of dollars wagered. Since sharp bettors are betting more than the average casual bettors, we can use that discrepancy to say that sharps are definitely on the over.

We’ve also tracked four steam moves on the over, including two at the current number of 71, indicating that wiseguys still see value after the five-point line move.

Liberty at Army

12 p.m. ET

Sharp angle: Liberty +8

Liberty has been one of the biggest movers of the week, coming down four points from BookMaker’s opening number of +12. The Flames have done that despite getting a slight minority of bets, as their 47% backing has accounted for 56% of money wagered.

They’ve also been on the receiving end of a steam move, indicating that on at least one occasion, sharp action was the cause of market-wide line movement.

Utah at Northern Illinois

7:30 p.m. ET

Sharp angle: Northern Illinois +10

This line opened Utah -11 at Pinnacle, but has since been bet down to -10. It’s certainly not the public causing that drop, however, as 77% are behind the Utes.

Even though fewer than a quarter of bets are going NIU’s way, those bets have accounted for 36% of dollars wagered — and we know what that means.

Smart money has also triggered four steam moves on the Huskies contributing to the line move.

Penn State at Pittsburgh

8 p.m. ET

Sharp angle: Under 55

Unlike in the previous three cases, there isn’t as much of a clear public side on this total. In fact, if anything, sharps may be on the same side as the public here.

The under has attracted 54% of bets, accounting for 72% of dollars wagered, indicating that bigger — probably sharper — bets are among them.

Sure enough, three steam moves have hit the under, all of which have caused this total fall by a field goal, from 58 to 55.

UConn at Boise State

10:15 p.m.

Sharp angle: UConn +31.5

The Huskies suffered a 39-point blowout loss at home last week at the hands of UCF, so the public has naturally faded them on the road in Week 2. Only 35% of bettors still have faith in UConn, but those bettors have accounted for 60% of dollars wagered.

Connecticut has also drawn three steam moves, meaning that on three separate occasions, wagers from sharp bettors caused the entire market to drop this line.

Overall, it’s fallen 2.5 points from its opener of +34 as a result of the smart money on UConn.


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Credit:

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Penn State quarterback Trace McSorely

Follow Danny Donahue on Twitter
@dannyjdonahue

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# BETS
-2.5
44
-1.5
41.5
55
-4.5
53.5
-2.5
-3
54.5
-3
51.5
-6
66.5
-4.5
59
48
-11
50
-12
-2.5
73
-3
73
67.5
-5
59.5
-5
-3
53.5
-2
49
-1.5
57.5
-1
61
55
-3.5
56
-2
61
-3.5
57.5
-5
41
-2
39.5
PK
56.5
-3
55
-4.5
-3
47
-3.5
48
-6.5
55
-4
55
54.5
-5
54.5
-3.5
-7
74
-1.5
67.5
54.5
-6.5
55
-3.5
50.5
-6
50.5
-7.5
-6.5
55
-5.5
54.5
-2
58.5
-2
57.5
56
-11
55
-13.5
79
-13.5
80
-14
-6.5
53.5
-5.5
53.5
-6.5
52
-6.5
52
48
-1.5
48
-3
-10
71
-8
74.5
45
-6.5
46
-7
58.5
-4.5
58.5
-6.5
-5
44.5
-7
44
-8
54.5
-7.5
55.5
48
-4
47.5
-7
58.5
-5
58
-6.5
58
-10.5
58
-13.5

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