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. 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.
Remember, just because a line move doesn’t always mean the sharps and squares are on opposite sides.South Carolina Gamecocks @ Mississippi State: Line history
Opened: South Carolina -5.5, Closed: South Carolina -3
Bad beats are a part of betting sports that every gambler deals with. Saturday’s finish in Starkville went down as a top 10 worst finish for those locked and loaded on South Carolina -3.
Rather than risk running a play to finish the game Steve Spurrier took a safety allowing the score to post 14-12 instead of 14-10. During the week this number was bet as low as USC -2.5 by the wiseguys before the surge of public support pushed it back to -3, -120 before kickoff.
Sharp bettors may tell you they had this game handicapped perfectly but anyone who watched the finish realized it’s better to be lucky than good when it comes to chasing tickets Winner:
SharpsWestern Michigan Broncos @ Northern Illinois Huskies: Line historyOpened: Western Michigan -3, Closed: Northern Illinois -1.5
In order to win a bet for a full game it’s imperative for your side to play a full 60 minutes. Sharper bettors must have seen something to their liking during the week when they drove the spread four points towards the Huskies.
The game had all the makings of a MAC west barn-burner when it went to the half with WMU leading 15-13. But Alex Carder and company must have left early for Kalamzaoo and not told anyone because the Broncos were outscored 38-7 in the second half.
It’s not often wiseguys find their short chalk trailing at the half and don’t sweat in the second half. Winner:
Florida Gators @ Auburn Tigers: Line history
Opened: Florida -1.5, Closed: Florida -3
Sometimes there are lines that wiseguys try to overanalyze and make cases for a team in shambles. Exhibit A: Florida.
The Gators were still without a reliable starting QB and drew plenty of interest from the sharps even while the public remained skeptical. Watching the Florida offense Saturday was downright abysmal as UF was unable to surpass the elusive 200-yard plateau for total offense.
Auburn didn’t warrant any praise themselves for setting the world on fire either amassing 278 yards in a game fans down at Jordan Hare would just as soon forget ever happened. The real difference in the contest was Florida’s inability to protect the football going -3 in turnovers amid a myriad of blown special teams plays.
Sometimes the squares believe the wrong team is favored and Saturday night they were spot on in their analysis.
SquaresLouisville Cardinals @ Cincinnati Bearcats: Line historyOpened: Cincinnati -12.5, Closed: Cincinnati -12.5
On the surface when we see a line open and close at the exact same price, the novice gambler assumes it was a good number. However a deep dive for this game showed the price climbed as high as 17.5 before crashing back down closer to kickoff.
Sharps knew the side they wanted in this game from the moment it opened and drove the price as high as possible before unloading on the underdog. Louisville controlled the game from the start without scoring one offensive TD but when you’re catching nearly two scores (or more depending on the line) it’s much easier to cover when your opposition only musters 25 of its own.
Sharps saw value here and knew they wanted a certain number and it paid handsome dividends to get them to the window with another weekend winner.Winner:
SharpsIndianapolis Colts @ Cincinnati Bengals: Line history
Opened: Cincinnati -7, Closed: Cincinnati -4
Whenever you see a team familiar with the underdog installed as a sizable favorite there will be sharp interest to bet against them. Normally the move starts during the week and a steady flow of cash brings the number down slowly but the Colts cash came hard and fast all Sunday morning.
The price dropped nearly three points in the 36 hours leading up to kickoff and for the better part of 57 minutes, wiseguys appeared to look like geniuses. In the blink of an eye their cover unraveled and when Bengal defender Carlos Dunlap scooped up a fumble and returned it to the house.
This week's score: Sharps 3, Squares 2
Score we've kept so far this season: Sharps 9, Squares 11Editor’s note:
Remember these games are just looking at matchups where the public and professionals were on opposite sides. Average Joes have been making out like bandits in college football this season because of all the heavy chalk covering the spread.