Each week during the college football season, renowned Las Vegas wiseguy and Covers Expert Bruce Marshall looks at the NCAAF odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet now
Boston College Eagles (+14) at USC Trojans
This number projected closer to three touchdeowns a few weeks ago. But that was before we had a chance to take a look at the product Lane Kiffin has put on the field. Thus, this matchup versus Boston College becomes a litmus test for the “Reputation vs. Realty” theory, as the eye test through two weeks would hardly suggest the Trojans even being favored in this game. Expect more discounting of USC in the marketplace as the wagering public becomes keen to Kiffin’s five straight spread losses and 3-12 ATS mark last season.
With the offense looking a mess (especially at QB) and Kiffin walking some very thin ice with dissatisfied USC boosters, we hardly see any appetite to “buy” on the Trojans - even from those who wear the cardinal and gold blazers. Remember, like an airline bankruptcy, it takes a while for the wagering public to come to the reality that former power program isn’t very good anymore. We suspect the anti-USC sentiment is just revving up in the marketplace.
Meanwhile, the last memory of Boston College was the impressive beatdown the Eagles inflicted upon Wake Forest Friday night. In combo with the anti-Kiffin sentiment, this number should drop well below two touchdowns as the week progresses. Boston College supporters should grab the available +14 while they can.
Spread to wait on
Virginia Tech Hockies (-7.5) at East Carolina Pirates
A few years ago, we could always count on some Virginia Tech money showing up at windows of Las Vegas sportsbooks, as the Hokies became a lower-grade public team for head coach Frank Beamer. Now, however, with only eight spread covers in their last 30 games dating to late in the 2010 season, pro-Hokie support in Vegas has disappeared faster than Mitt Romney after last November’s election.
Early pricing on this Saturday’s matchup at East Carolina has Beamer laying a tick over a touchdown at most Nevada outlets. But with so many bettors being burned by Virginia Tech the past few years, expect some anti-Hokie money to show up soon - especially with close followers a bit intrigued by ECU and its gunslinger QB Shane Carden.
This price should move beneath the key number of sevene at some point later in the week. So, if looking to beat the crowd to a VT resurgence and back the Hokies, you might as well wait for a few days when it would be no surprise if the price dips below that key number.
Total to watch
Vanderbilt Commodores at South Carolina Gamecocks
The marketplace usually reacts to pronounced team pointspread trends with a bit more vigor than it does to totals tendencies. Nonetheless, we are going to be intrigued if there is much Under pressure at the Las Vegas books with this SEC matchup at Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday.
Both Vandy and South Carolina have already been involved in a couple of nationally-televised shootouts, but the recent series history between these two has been overwhelmingly to the Under, with none of the last four games even cracking a combined 30-point barrier and the Under going 5-0-1 the last six meetings. In fact, the Commodores and Gamecocks have not cracked this week’s early posted total of 50.5 since way back in 2005, when Jay Cutler was still throwing passes for Vandy.
The majority of totals moves have been upwards this season, but we’ll see how much emphasis the marketplace puts upon the low-scoring history between these two SEC East rivals or if the public needs more current evidence to push this number downward.