The sharp vs. square debate rages on in Las Vegas and offshore. Sterling Ross, a Las Vegas oddsmaker, is keeping score between the betting public and the wiseguys as he takes action throughout the week.
Ross is keeping records of the five biggest moves each week and how the pros and joes fair for an entire football season. Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Boston College EaglesOpened: Wake Forest -2, Closed: BC -1
Apparently, wiseguys have a lot more faith in this much-maligned Boston College offense than the betting public. The Eagles finally had the services of stud RB Montel Harris versus Wake Forest and he didn’t disappoint, carrying the ball 22 times for 108 yards. However, the rest of the BC team was up to their normal tricks with the offense mustering only nine points through the first three quarters en route to another loss.
This line opened with Boston College as a slight home dog and when Harris was upgraded to probable, money started to flow in on the Eagles. Despite pretty substantial public support for a mediocre Wake Forest team, the line continued to move in BC’s direction before it finally closed as a short favorite. One player definitely made a difference but the sharps were surely disappointed in the end result. Winner:
SquaresBowling Green Falcons at West Virginia MountaineersOpened: West Virginia -20.5, Closed: West Virginia -17.5
When you talk about curious line moves towards an undermanned dog, this one was right up there. Wiseguys jumped all over the nearly three touchdowns with the Falcons, clearly banking on a Mountaineer letdown after their loss to LSU the previous week. Letdowns are one thing, huge talent discrepancies are something completely different and often very tough to overcome when looking for a cover.
Bowling Green jumped out to an early 10-3 lead and the public had to think there was no shot WVU would get to the window as such a heavy favorite. But BG’s day peaked at 7:47 of the first quarter. From that point on, WVU scored 52 unanswered points and left little doubt about who got the cash in this game.Winner:
SquaresTexas Tech Red Raiders at Kansas JayhawksOpened: Texas Tech -9, Closed: Texas Tech -6.5
Another prime example of an unwarranted road favorite, at least the way the sharps saw this game before kickoff. Wiseguys came in fast and furious, fading Texas Tech for the secod time in as many weeks but didn’t reap the same benefits as they did against Nevada. Kansas definitely looked the side early, jumping out to a quick 20-0 lead before the wheels came off.
By halftime, TTU actually trimmed the Beaks’ lead to three and the sharps had to see the writing on the wall for what was to come over the next 30 minutes. Sure enough, the Red Raiders scored 21 straight points to start the third quarter and built a 45-27 lead before KU scored late in the fourth quarter to lose by 11. Squares rejoiced, they’d notched yet another early victory.Winner:
SquaresWashington Huskies at Utah UtesOpened: Utah -7.5, Closed: Utah -10
This game showed interesting line movement throughout the week. The initial move was actually on Washington taking the spread from 7.5 down to seven where the sharps pounced and drove the price up a full three points by game time.
Even the wiseguys can’t predict injuries and once Utah QB Jordan Wynn went down with a shoulder injury that will keep him out for 2-3 weeks, Utes backers were dead in the water. It’s worth noting that even before Wynn left the game, it didn’t look good for the double digit favorites.
We’ve seen some unusual moves with Utah to start the season. The public grabbed the points all day and looked like geniuses by the time the final whistle blew at Rice Eccles with an outright Huskies’ victory.Winner:
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati BengalsOpened: Buffalo-3, Closed: Buffalo -3, EVEN
Any time a line stays put at three despite a flood of public money, the wiseguys are firmly entrenched on the other side. From a situational standpoint, this game didn’t set up well for Buffalo, which entered off a franchise-changing win over New England the week before.
One team actually showed up for a game and the other just showed up expecting victory. There was nothing fluky in the final result as the Bengals were plus-13 in first downs and outgained the Bills by nearly 200 yards. However, Cincinnati needed a tremendous comeback in the second half to rally for the wiseguys, but thanks to a 43-yard field goal from Mike Nugent as time expired, the sharps found their way to the window cashing tickets at the Bills’ expense.
Sharps 1, Squares 4Season:
Sharps 5, Squares 5
--If you don’t happen to see your game listed, feel free to ask about it in the comments section and Sterling will let you know if there was a sharp vs. square battle taking place in the sportsbooks across Las Vegas.