As well as the bowl season started for public bettors, we could’ve expected some regression towards the mean as the far the rate by which favorites and consensus sides are covering. And while we did see regression, with consensus sides going 6-5 through Thursday night, consensus sides are still 11-7 overall.
These results have been far from what our historical trend would’ve predicted, but the sample size is still small relative to the number of games included since 2012, and the unexpected start is little reason to deviate from taking the long-term results into consideration. Fading the public should increasingly become more valuable as public continues to find success, and it would hardly be surprising if unpopular sides went on a run as bowl season progresses.
Here is the bowl game ATS data since 2012 as a reminder:
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%)
With 20 games still left to be played, we have yet to officially reach the halfway point of the season, which means there are still plenty of games from which to derive this potential value that may eventually come to surface.
Starting with this Friday’s slate, I’ll look at the rest of the remaining games, all the way up to the final game on New Year’s Day; looking for those teams that are: receiving a minority of bets, showing line value according the Adam’s Power Ratings, and likely to maintain this consensus as the large majority of the action comes in on the day of the game.
Hopefully, as the all too brief College Football season comes to a close, we can finish out the year strong, one last time, with our Power Rating Plays of the Week.
The Arizona Bowl
Nevada vs. Arkansas State
Off-shore opening line: Nevada PK -110
Consensus current line: Nevada -1 -110
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 48% Nevada
BangtheBook Power Rating: Nevada -7
While this closing consensus may be difficult to accurately predict at this point, what we do know is that our Power Ratings show near full touchdown of overlay; and while Nevada is receiving a slight minority of the early action, the line has moved in the other direction.
At the current market consensus of Nevada -1, -110 is the standard, while your sharper books, Pinnacle and Matchbook are reduced on juice, making the current market price relatively unattractive. Therefore, I see no reason to get involved as of yet, and best-case scenario, late recreational money presents even more line value on the Wolf Pack.
The Sun Bowl
Pitt vs. Stanford
Off-shore opening line: Pitt 6.5 -110
Consensus current line: Pitt 5.5 -110
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 45% Pitt
BangtheBook Power Rating: Pitt 1.5
Another game showing serious line value through a significant key number, this spread has come down a notch from open against an early Stanford consensus. At 45%, the likelihood of consensus favoring Stanford come game day is greater here, and chances of Pitt fitting our trend are fairly high, as a decent sized underdog.
The market is currently at 5.5 as the norm, but a few 4.5’s have begun to pop, and these are at a few of the higher limit shops, Bookmaker and BetCris. At 5.5, BetOnline is juicing the Pitt side, while Pinnacle and Matchook are reduced on both sides of the number.
Five being a dead number, there isn’t much rush to get an early number here, but you’ll want to watch closely and make sure to get something north of four, if this spread happens to plummet any further.
The Gator Bowl
NC State vs. Texas A&M
Off-shore opening line: NC State 4.5 -110
Consensus current line: NC State 7 -110
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 18% NC State
BangtheBook Power Rating: NC State 4
As of now, NC State has a chance a being one of the least popular sides of this bowl season, and it isn’t surprising considering the attention A&M has drawn from sharp and public bettors alike this season. Our Power Ratings saying their may be a little inflation here, however, and if this consensus holds to anything close to this, we may see more of the same as game day approaches.
At seven, a majority of books are juicing the NC State side, while one higher limit off-shore, has remained south of seven, staying soft on the NC State side, at 6.5. With seven being such a significant number, and with a sharper book at 6.5, it may be worth taking a look at seven early, just in case sharp money takes interest in the key number as limits rise.
The Citrus Bowl
Kentucky vs. Penn State
Off-shore opening line: Kentucky 5.5 -110
Consensus current line: Kentucky 6.5 -110
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 29% Kentucky
BangtheBook Power Rating: Kentucky 2.5
Considering that 71% of the early action has come in on the Wildcats, it comes as no surprise that this number has ticked up a bit, away from our Power Rating of 2.5. 2.5 being on the other side of the primary three, however, presents reason for pause, especially with Kentucky receiving less than 38% of the action thus far.
With Bovada, a recreationally driven book, being the first to make the move to soft seven, nabbing a 6.5 early doesn’t appear to be a valuable proposition. A seven looks to be our target here, and if this consensus holds anything close to the current 71/29 split, a market consensus on the primary key is a real possibility.
The Rose Bowl
Washington vs. Ohio State
Off-shore opening line: Washington 5 -110
Consensus current line: Washington 6.5 -110
Off-shore Betting Consensus: 18% Washington
BangtheBook Power Rating: Washington 3
In a current tie with NC State as potentially the least popular side of this bowl season, Washington is only receiving 18 percent of the early spread bets, and this number has climbed through six as a result. Adam’s numbers see this as a field goal game, however, and perhaps the narrative surrounding this being Urban Meyer’s last games, has led to some inflation on the Buckeyes.
I would expect this consensus to even out at least somewhat, but there is obviously good reason to believe Ohio State may close the most popular side of the season.
Interestingly it is Bovada and Pinnacle as the lone two books who have made the move onto seven, though Bovada is at -110 and Pinnacle is at better than even money on the Buckeyes bet.
It’d worth considering any 7 at better than the -124 Pinnacle is offering currently, but if 6.5 is your best available number, there’s a really good chance you’ll be able to do better come January 1st.