Well, the wait that, for those who take baseball season off to relax and reflect, seemed eternal, is finally over. Football is here. Yes, many wet their beaks with a little Week Zero action, but for the plenty who wait it out that one final week before surrendering mind, body, and soul for the next five months, football starts now.
Week 1 is unique for obvious reasons, but for our purposes, having a well-researched, competently put together set of Power Ratings can be extremely advantageous. It’s only a guessing game at this point and the market as inefficient as it will be all year. Without data points to drive numbers, those who put in the work can find numerical edges all over the board. Luckily, at BangTheBook we have a highly-educated and experienced handicapper in Adam Burke putting together our Power Ratings from which we will be deriving value each and every week in this article.
These Week 1 lines have been available for some time now, and for those of us who are late to the party – whom, let’s face it, is most of us – a lot of the value is already gone. Lines have moved as much as they will all year; but again, this is still a guessing game in week one, and most of these teams have yet to play a snap of football that counts. Therefore, if we can trust the work that we have done, or in our case, the work Adam has done, then there is still plenty of value to be had from a purely numerical perspective. Finding that value, through gaps in our line and that of the market’s, as well as through strategic market analysis, is the purpose of this article.
I’ll add the disclaimer, as I always do, that Power Ratings are only a starting point, and should always be supplemented with a situational handicap. This becomes more and more true as the season progresses, but if there is any week where an edge can be found from a good set of Power Ratings, it is week one.
Western Michigan vs. Syracuse
Off shore Consensus Open: WMU 6 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: WMU 5 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: PK
Whether it is the love for Western Michigan or Syracuse-hate that has driven the disparity in our number and the market’s remains to be seen, but BangtheBook lines this game at Pick ‘Em. Though officially opening at BetOnline, Syracuse -2, the rest of the market opened at a consensus of 6; and with action slightly favoring Cuse up to this point (53%), we’ve actually seen this number start to descend, downward from the secondary key of 6. The minor reverse line move on a dog is something you like to see, especially when the line is moving towards your number (PK), and that is the case here.
With this number trending downward as the week has progressed and the consensus moving more towards Western Michigan, this may be a situation where you want to get involved early as possible here. If the late recreational money joins forces with sharp money looking for higher limits, this number could plummet downward even further and those waiting around may see the hooks eventually disappear from the 4’s available out there in the off-shore market. From a line-value standpoint, Western Michigan is our strongest play of the week, with five points of value available currently, through the primary key of 3, to get to our line of Pick.
Indiana vs. FIU
Off shore Consensus Opener: Indiana -10 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: Indiana -10.5 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: Indiana -15
Opening officially as a 12-point favorite, Bookmaker set the trend with an Indiana -10 opener and most books followed suit. The Hoosiers have received 63 percent of the bets thus far off-shore and the number as responded by coming off the secondary key of 10 to 10.5 across the board.
In consideration of our line, though, the move hasn’t been as extreme as predicted and 4.5 points of value remains still, even at 10.5. The 10.5 seems relatively stable at the point in time, with -110’s showing throughout the market, but with a 10 posted at the Greek, a soft 10 at Pinnacle, and BetOnline showing a 9.5 at plus money, I wouldn’t be in a huge rush to grab a 10.5.
Even if this number goes up, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see anything other than a dead number, and the way the market is trending, perhaps 10’s are widely available by kick. The move from 10 to 10.5 is the strongest one thus far, however, having been very early on and showing movement off a solid -110 consensus key, and from that, we can derive some confidence in our position on Indiana.
Miami FL @ LSU
Off shore Consensus Open: Miami -3 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: Miami- 3.5 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: Miami -6
Opening at a consensus Miami -3 across the off-shore board, with the Hurricanes receiving a slight consensus of the bets (55%), this number has moved off the primary key of 3 up to 3.5 towards our line of 6 at many shops; though some have yet to make the full move, keeping the 3.5 soft and juicing the LSU side. Having the game lined at 6 is enough to justify a play at such a low spread, as the points are more valuable, and we are going up through two of the more significant secondary keys in 4 and 6.
The only cause for concern at 3.5, however, is that with some of the sharper books such as Pinnacle, The Greek, and BetCris offering a discount on the Hurricanes, while lower limit books such as Bovada are at -110, we can’t be in love with the number from a market comparison perspective. Obviously, we would have loved to get a 3, but a 3.5 at reduced juice isn’t horrible when you have the game lined at 6 and that’s likely the best number we’re going to find on this game.
Though we don’t love the number at 3.5, I think it’s likely the best one you’ll get and if you can get reduced juice now, this is a play I’d probably make sooner rather than later, because consensus is favoring Miami, they are the better team, and the late recreational money may reside with the Hurricanes come game day.