College Football Sharp Report: How Pros Are Betting Ohio State vs. Nebraska & 4 Other Games
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Adrian Martinez
- Sharps are betting five games in particular on Saturday's college football slate, including Ohio State vs. Nebraska (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC).
- The Action Network's tools reveal the plays that pros are making.
Saturday’s college football slate does feature a couple of Top 25 matchups, but just as was the case with the three from a week ago, neither of them have been major landing spots for sharp action.
However, the most heavily-bet game on Saturday — Ohio State vs. Nebraska — is among the five games drawing the most professional money according to our tools.
Also in the mix:
- Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (12 p.m. ET)
- Middle Tennessee State vs. Iowa (12 p.m. ET)
- SMU vs. South Florida (4 p.m. ET)
- Kentucky vs. South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET)
Odds as of Friday at 3 p.m. ET. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (at AT&T Stadium)
12 p.m. ET | ESPN
Most bettors have been happy to lay the 23 points with Texas A&M against an Arkansas team coming off a loss (as a 20-point favorite) to San Jose State. As for the sharps, they don’t seem interested in the point spread whatsoever.
They’ve instead turned to the total, and made quite an impact on it.
With an opening number anywhere from 56 to 57.5 depending on timing, this total has the overall ticket distribution pretty balanced, as 53% have landed on the over. That’s not the kind of majority that should push a total up four points, however.
Nonetheless, this number has shot up to a consensus 60.5 as Sports Insights’ Bet Signals — which track and record market moves caused by sharp action — have confirmed professional bettors to be among that slight majority on the over.
They’ve been triggered four times on the over at numbers ranging from 56 to 59.5.
Sharp angle: Over (moved from 56 to 60.5)
Middle Tennessee State @ Iowa
12 p.m. ET | ESPN2
This game is boasting a similar point spread, and this time it has attracted the attention of sharp bettors — at least at a particular number.
Whether or not they opened this game at Iowa -24, every book reached that mark for at least some period of time over the past week. Some of the earliest to market even had the Hawkeyes at -24.5.
And just as was the case with Texas A&M, the public hasn’t seemed to mind the large number, as 72% are laying the points with Iowa against a Conference USA opponent.
The line, however, now sits at Iowa -23.5 as sharps have been seeing this matchup a little differently.
Throughout the week, MTSU drew four SI Bet Signals, driving the line to its current point. All four came at +24 or +24.5 though, which is important to note considering the frequency of 24-point margins in football scores.
A few books have continued the reverse line movement down to a flat +23, which provides a hint that sharps might still be finding value at the current number.
Sharp angle: Middle Tennessee (moved from +24 to +23.5)
SMU @ South Florida
4 p.m. ET | ESPNU
Comparing opening lines to current numbers is generally a decent start in reading sharp action, proven in part by the first two games mentioned here.
This SMU-USF game, however, requires a bit more digging.
After opening anywhere between -6 and -7, SMU is now a 7.5-point favorite behind 80% of bets and 75% of money. All seems normal there, as books are increasing the spread in response to a liability on the Mustangs.
It wasn’t until after South Florida’s line significantly increased that sharps joined the party, though.
Throughout the week, sportsbooks have been going back and forth, increasing this line to the 9-point range only to find heavy sharp action hit the Bulls, and then returning to an even touchdown and attracting the public SMU bettors.
As a result, USF has drawn 10 SI Bet Signals to SMU’s two, eight of which have come at +7.5 or higher.
Sharp angle: South Florida (moved from +9 to +7.5)
Kentucky @ South Carolina
7:30 p.m. ET | SEC Network
If someone had told me I’d be featuring two totals on this Sharp Report, I’d have probably guessed both would be under plays. I’d have been dead wrong.
Because of the appeal of rooting for points, the normal sharp-vs.-square disagreement on totals (when it exists) pits sharps on the under while the public loads up on an over. But this game is doing the exact opposite.
Sixty-six percent of bettors have taken the under on a total that opened at 51, and that number is now up to 53.5 thanks to sharp action.
Initially, the public was having its way with the total, causing sportsbooks to drop into the high-40s on a few occasions. By Wednesday, though (perhaps a result of limit increases later in the week), pros finally decided to strike.
Since that point, the over has drawn seven Bet Signals, the most recent two of which hit 52 and drove sportsbooks to the current number.
Sharp angle: Over (moved from 51 to 53.5)
Ohio State @ Nebraska
7:30 p.m. ET | ABC
In some of the least shocking news you’ll read today, Ohio State is drawing a majority of bets this weekend. Two-thirds of bettors are riding the Buckeyes as 17-point favorites in Lincoln, but that number wasn’t always so high. In fact, the earliest books to market had Ohio State at just -14.
While that movement might suggest that sharps are laying the points (in fairness we did record one early Bet Signal on OSU at -16.5), the overwhelming outpour of professional money didn’t come until after the line had jumped.
By Monday, Nebraska was already up to +17, and since that point the Cornhuskers have triggered 11 Bet Signals, causing any books that exceeded the 17-point mark to come back down to the key number.
Sharp angle: Nebraska (moved from +18 to +17)