Using only a combination of BangtheBook.com’s Power Ratings and basic market analysis – with a 2-1 Championship Week – we brought our season long record to 19-21, just under .500 for the year. Not bad, considering we were reacting to the market rather than getting out ahead of it; and without any situational analysis to further compliment our numerically-based plays, we were more-so offering a basis for plays than actual plays to bet blindly. Hopefully, the plays provided you with a few games here and there to consider for your slate, and in the end, a full handicap left you on the winning side more often than not.
But with the regular season now behind us, we will switch gears a bit as we head into one of the more profitable times of year for many College Football bettors, Bowl Season. Specifically, it is contrarian bettors who have historically thrived this time of year, as Bowl games present a unique opportunity for biases of public perception; and given the attention the shortened slate garners, these perceptual biases are amplified much more so than in the regular season.
This amplification manifests itself in market reactions, that while influenced primarily by the professional groups of the world in the regular season, these reactions are impacted much more so by recreational bettors in bowl games. The increased influence of recreational money on the market generates hidden line value, as teams become over-valued, lines become inflated, and important situational factors aren’t fully accounted for.
Hence, in capitalizing on this line value, fading the public has been an extremely profitable way to approach bowl season.
Teams receiving 48% of spread bets or less have gone 121-91 ATS (57%)
Teams receiving 41% of spread bets or less have gone 79-51 ATS (61%)
Where I believe Power Ratings find their place within the arsenal of the College Football Bowl season handicapper, is that they provide that base by which to compare some of these over-reactions and under-reactions within the market. Whether moving away from or towards our number, we can get an accurate idea of where the number should be, and gauge whether this reaction in the market is warranted.
Therefore, the aim of this article will be to look for those teams that are receiving a minority of spread bets, thus fitting our ATS trend; while using Adam’s Power Ratings as a base by which to compare against and prove these over-reactions. Ideally, having Power Ratings as a guide will provide further support and reason to consider some plays even more so over others, and simply serve as a tool for further refinement.
In an effort to get current and accurate market data, I’ll break down the plays one week at a time, starting with this Saturday, and going through Friday for this first article. I’ll include only those plays that receiving a minority of bets and show at least some significant line value according to our Power Ratings or have moved in line with our rating and the move has been significant. While we can’t be sure that the bet percentages will hold steady by kickoff, especially on those games beyond this weekend’s, current numbers are usually predictive of future splits, and with bowl betting resources now widely available, the recreational money will begin to enter the market steadily as we approach the weekend.
The Camellia Bowl
Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern
Off-shore opening line: EMU PK -110
Consensus current line: EMU 3 -105
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 38% Eastern Michigan
BangtheBook Power Rating: EMU -3.5
A perfect fit for our system, Eastern Michigan is currently receiving less than 41% of the bets, and according to our Power Rating number, is vastly underrated by the market. Having this game lined on the other side of the primary three, the six points of overlay represents a strong position, and the lopsided consensus, and perhaps some old-fashioned Bowl Game Steam Chasing may explain why this number has continued to run.
Some juiced 3.5 -115’s have even started to show on EMU, at such prominent books as Bookmaker and BetCris, but the sharpest of the sharp have yielded; Matchbook being one of those, where a rarely seen 2 +120 can be found, expressing a hesitance to move onto the key number of three.
If looking to fade the public action here, I’d wait this game out until Saturday afternoon, letting the recreational money fully have its way with GASO, and look to play back with at least a hook on three.
The Boca Raton Bowl
Northern Illinois vs. UAB
Off-shore opening line: UNI 1 -110
Consensus current line: UNI 2.5 -105
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 26% Northern Illinois
BangtheBook Power Rating: UNI – 1.5
Though this game doesn’t take place until Tuesday, I wouldn’t expect the consensus to drastically change here; as the public will look to fade the MAC, as they did with Eastern Michigan, and follow the movement on the short favorite.
Our numbers say the wrong them is favored here, however, and with what is expected be an extremely lopsided consensus on UAB, we should find plenty of line value fading the trendy favorite. The way the market is shaping up currently, catching a three by Tuesday could be a real possibility, as nearly every major off-shore is “in between” 2.5 and three.
With Bovada at -2.5 -120 on UAB on the expensive end, and Pinnacle at -114 at the cheap end, a sharp/public split may already be in the making, but now is not the time to fire. As with most of the plays fading the public, the closer we can wait until kick to enter the market, the better.
The Frisco Bowl
San Diego State vs. Ohio
Off-shore opening line: SD ST 3 -105
Consensus current line: SD ST 3 -115
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 48% SD ST
BangtheBook Power Rating: SD ST 1.5
Currently, the Aztecs barely make the cut, receiving 48% of spread bets thus far, but I’d expect this number to grow, as San Diego State, in a down year, finished the year losing four out of their last five games, while Ohio won four out of their last five.
The movement on juice may already be a sign of the sharp preference, as the consensus has steadily favored Ohio, yet the price has increased on the Aztec bet. Currently 5Dimes is the only major off-shore where you can find a 3 -110 on San Diego State, and perhaps 3 -110 is worth a look if you can find it, for this relative value may be unavailable when limits increase, and potential sharp money turns these juiced threes into 2.5’s.
I’d be surprised if this number comes down through three, however, because the recreational money will have its say at this time of the year more than any in College Football; and like I said, I expect the consensus to climb on Ohio, especially if the other two MAC teams have strong showings.
Therefore, once again, right before kick may be our best time to play back on any movement, hoping for even more line value, in a game we have lined under the key of three.