Thursday College Football Sharp Report: How Pros Are Betting Utah vs. BYU, 2 Other Games

Thursday College Football Sharp Report: How Pros Are Betting Utah vs. BYU, 2 Other Games article feature image

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Siasi Mariner and Christian Folau

  • Tonight's college football Week 1 spreads and over/unders have been shaped by plenty of sharp action.
  • We analyze how the pros have affected three Thursday games: UCLA vs. Cincinnati (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) Texas State vs. Texas A&M (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network) and Utah vs. BYU (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Analyzing line movement in football season is a different animal. While other sports give you a day, maybe two, to track how a line has moved, football provides an entire week for sharps and squares alike to shape each line.

Week 1 takes that to another level.

Some of Thursday’s games have been available for months, giving us plenty of information on how the pros are tackling each point spread and total. And three of Thursday’s more highly-anticipated matchups have seen a healthy dose of professional action leading up to tonight’s kickoffs.

UCLA vs. Cincinnati

7 p.m. ET | ESPN

With an opening number as high as 65, this number was immediately pinpointed by Collin Wilson as being one of the more inaccurate totals on the Week 1 slate.

That hunch was clearly shared by sharp bettors across the market, as we’re now looking at a total of 57/58, even though the public is close to evenly split (55% of bets are on the under).

Barring a superstar player’s injury, that kind of movement is almost never going to be caused by anything but professional action, and Sports Insights’ Bet Signals have been tracking that action along the entire line fall.

Earlier this month, sharps triggered a move on the under at 62, which settled at most books in the 60/61 range. Perhaps waiting for higher limits, it took until this week for wiseguys to strike again — but they didn’t hold back.

Since Monday, five Bet Signals have lit up on the under at lines ranging from 60.5 to 58.5, getting the line down to its current listing.

Also pointing toward a sharp under has been the discrepancy between bets and dollars being wagered on each side of the total. The under’s 55% backing has generated 74% of actual money, meaning bigger bettors (probably sharps) are banking on a lower score than what this line suggests.

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 65 to 57.5)

Texas State @ Texas A&M

8:30 p.m. ET | SEC Network

While the movement on that UCLA-Cincy total was easy to spot by comparing the opener to the current line, this one is a bit more tricky.

Openers ranged from 54 to 57, and most books currently sit between 56.5 and 57.5, so there’s not much to take away from that alone. If anything, it appears that oddsmakers could’ve reacted to a bit of sharp over money.

In fairness, the shops that opened at the low end of the spectrum might have, but for the most part, this game has actually been taking plenty of sharp hits to the under.

Looking at the full line history (which is a habit that I recommend all bettors get into) tells us that this total reached a high-water mark of 58.5 — which is when sharps really decided to step in.

Five more SI Bet Signals have hit the under at totals of 58.5, 58 and 57.5, which has convinced oddsmakers to bring this total back down even though just 19% of bettors are on the under.

And once again, those bettors are unsurprisingly accounting for a higher percentage of actual dollars (36%).

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 58.5 to 57)

Utah @ BYU

10:15 p.m. ET | ESPN

The story of this point spread was a slightly complicated one for much of the time this game was available. Sharp money was hitting both sides at various numbers with little consistency in the early weeks, but now that most of the dust has settled, pros have made it clear where they’re finding value.

If you aren’t already familiar with key numbers in football betting, this is a great example of how they come into play. Key numbers (like 3 and 7) are the most common landing spots for margins of victory, which makes a team at +7 far more valuable than it would be at +6.5.

For that reason, sharps are finding value on BYU only when the Cougars are getting a full touchdown. Over the past couple of days, four Bet Signals have been triggered on the home team, all of which have come at +7.

With a majority of bets and dollars on Utah, it’s possible that this line could inch back up again, but if it does, all signs point to sharps hammering it right back down.

Sharp angle: BYU (moved from +7 to +6.5)

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