How Sharps Are Betting Friday’s MAC, Pac-12 Conference Championship Games

How Sharps Are Betting Friday’s MAC, Pac-12 Conference Championship Games article feature image

Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Lance Deveaux Jr.

  • The lines for tonight's MAC and Pac-12 championship games have both been impacted, at least slightly, by sharp action.
  • Betting percentages and Sports Insights' bet signals help reveal which bets sharps have been making this week.

Conference championship season is upon us, and while we’ll have to wait until Saturday to enjoy the brunt of the action, two championship games — the MAC and Pac-12 — will kick off tonight.

As is the case with just about any prime-time college football game, both of tonight’s matchups will draw plenty of attention from bettors. In fact, they’re both already on pace to see more bets all of tonight’s NBA games combined.

Among those betting on the games will be sharps, and while the effect of their action has been somewhat mild, there are indications that they’re hitting both games on tonight’s slate — at least to a certain extent.

>> All odds as of 9:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time college football odds and track your bets.

MAC Championship: Northern Illinois vs. Buffalo

7 p.m. ET | ESPN2

Sharp angles: NIU (moved from +4 to +3.5), Over (moved from 49 to 51)

As far as sharp action goes, this has been the easier of the two games tonight on which to get a read. The line movement has cooperated with the indications from the betting market, making it fairly clear which plays are seeing more action from wiseguys, both on the side and total.

Northern Illinois has skidded its way into this championship, dropping its final two games of the season to fall to 6-2 in conference play and 7-5 overall. Given the recent struggles — and with the other option being a 10-2 overall Buffalo team — it’s fitting to see only 27% of bets behind the Huskies tonight.

That minority backing, however, has been able to move this line from Buffalo -4 to -3.5. With the line moving away from the public side, the most likely explanation is that sharp bettors are among that 27%.

The betting market percentages agree, as NIU has accounted for a significantly higher percentage of money wagered (40%) than bets taken, meaning bigger bettors — the ones more likely to be sharps — are taking the points.

The over/under looks to have been affected by sharp action as well. Opening at 49, it’s now up to 51 behind 66% of bets and 56% of money. That information alone wouldn’t be very telling, but Sports Insights’ Bet Signals reveal that sharps have had at least somewhat of an impact on that move.

Two signals have been triggered on the over in the form of steam moves — sudden, drastic movement across the entire betting market. However, it’s important to note that both moves came at lower numbers than what’s available now. So while sharp action has certainly hit the over, there’s no confirmation that wiseguys still see value at the current number.

Pac-12 Championship: Utah vs. Washington

8 p.m. ET | FOX

Sharp angle: Utah (moved from +6 to +5.5)

Obvious sharp action has been hard to come by in tonight’s most heavily bet game. While wiseguys have had a quiet impact on this line, I’d classify these sharp indications more on the side of interesting rather than useful.

Coming off a 28-15 win on the road against rival Washington State, Washington confirmed to bettors that it’s still a team capable of hanging with the big boys in college football, and once again, is seen by most as the best team in the Pac-12.

With that in mind, 70% of bets on this spread have taken the Huskies, who opened at -4.5. A similar percentage of money has also backed the favorite, as Washington has drawn 74% of dollars and moved up to -5.5 around much of the market. A few books dared to bump the spread up to -6, but that was when sharps stepped in.

Two SI Bet Signals have been triggered this week on Utah at +6 — the only two moves on the spread so far — illustrating a perfect example of sharps betting numbers as opposed to teams. Aside from those moves, though, there has been little evidence of wiseguys making a play on this spread.

That being said, if the public is able to drive this number back to Utah +6, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t last there long.

The total has yet to make a significant move from its opener of 44.5. While market percentages would indicate that bigger bettors are on the under — it has received 53% of dollars on only 36% of bets — the over has triggered a steam move, suggesting that two-way sharp action may be a reason for the lack of line movement.

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