As confident as we are in Adam’s Power Ratings and in the line value we often find with them, there are no guarantees in the world of sports betting; and even when Power Ratings find edges, the market agrees, and closing line value results, winners can be fleeting.
Unfortunately, our slow start with the Power Rating Plays of the Week continued into Week 4, with an 0-3 week, bringing our season long record to 2-10. FAU +13.5 was the first loss of the day, and as predicted, 14’s were widely available by kickoff, but 14 points weren’t enough, as UCF outscored the Owls by 20, with an 80-yard edge.
Tennessee was the second loser of the day, and if you would’ve taken the 4.5 early, as recommended, you would’ve come away with one point of closing line value, as professional money drove this number down to 3.5 by kickoff. However, with the Volunteers losing four fumbles and throwing 2 interceptions, a 27-yard edge by the Gators resulted in a 47-21 blowout, and a non-cover.
The final defeat of the day came with Marshall, who showed some Reverse Line Movement from open, but looked to be the clear wrong side against NC State, losing 37-20 as a 5.5-point dog, with a 502-324 yardage edge belonging to the Wolf Pack. Hence, the 2.5-point adjustment upward for NC State, and the 2-point downward adjustment for Marshall in Adam’s week 5 Power Ratings.
Power Ratings are always a work in progress, and as we head on into Week 5 with our newly updated numbers, it’s hard not to be optimistic that random variance will soon show favor, as it eventually does, when closing lines suggest positive expected value on your plays. We should remember, though, that three games a week is a small sample size, and seeing expected value become value is a long-term proposition. Therefore, take a short-term record with a grain of salt, and use these plays as a guide from which to consider a situational and matchup-based handicap of your own on the games to follow, which may hold some expected value from Power Ratings and Market Analysis perspectives.
UCLA @ Colorado
Off shore Consensus Open: UCLA 11 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: UCLA 9 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: UCLA 5
UCLA has been far from one of the sexier teams to bet in 2018, but it is on those teams where value is more likely to be found then anywhere else.
Opening 11 at Bookmaker, UCLA has taken on some steam, moving through a secondary key of 10, while only receiving 42% of the tickets. We don’t need much more evidence of sharp action on the Bruins than that move, and with our Adam having this number at 5, the market is reacting exactly as we would anticipate.
With 4 points of overlay value still on the table, going through a major key of seven and two minor ones of 6 and 4, it’s hard not to see value in UCLA, despite the fact that this number has already progressed through the 3rd most significant key, 10.
Further analysis of the current off-shore market prices reiterates this value proposition. When I see Pinnacle with the minor -107 to -105 lean on the Bruins at 9.5, along with BetOnline at -115, while BetCris has gone down to 9, I still feel good even south of the 10. With Bovada juicing the Colorado side, we get a good idea about where the public interest lies, and more of the lopsided consensus could present itself by kickoff. Therefore, with 9.5 being in a dead zone of sorts, I’d be inclined to wait this one out until Friday night, and see if at some point 10’s show themselves again.
Buffalo vs. Army
Off shore Consensus Opener: Buffalo – 6 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: Buffalo – 7.5 -105
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: Buffalo -12.5
Opening just south of 7, on the quasi-key of 6, influential money on the Bulls has driven this number up to a consensus of a soft 7.5, through the primary key of 7, all the while the public money is coming in at a rate of 62% on Army. If this move doesn’t scream sharp action on the Bulls, I don’t know what does, and when this action is moving towards our number of 12.5, not only do we know we’re on the sharp side of this game, but we also have line value with respect to our number.
While many of the 7.5’s are still soft out their in the off-shore market, several respectable books, such as 5Dimes, Matchbook, and Pinnacle aren’t juicing the Army side at 7.5. That tells me that if I can get a soft 7.5, I wouldn’t have a problem with laying the lumber, getting value relative to some of the sharper books. It also tells me that the sharper books weren’t afraid to move all the way through the primary key.
With Army getting such a large percentage of the spread bets, this may be another situation where patience may result in a better number come game day, and with 7.5 already being above a significant key, we don’t really fear a move to 8 or 9, for these are relatively dead numbers as far as percentage of games landing on them. Therefore, I think we wait this one out once again, and shoot for the 7 or better, but I wouldn’t disagree with laying a soft 7, given the current state of the market.
Kent State @ Ball State
Off shore Consensus Open: Kent 7.5 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: Kent 7 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: Kent 4.5
In this MAC matchup, we may have a situation where the pros and joes may end up on the same side, and that is evident in the fact that Bookmaker opening this game a solid 7.5 -110 on Kent, and with over 70% of the action on the Golden Flashes, the number has come all the way down through 7 at most shops. With BetCris, The Greek, and Bookmaker among those who have made the full move down to seven, I’m confident in saying this isn’t all recreational money moving this line, especially in a MAC game that receives such little national attention. With Pinnacle juicing Ball State to –115 at 7, and Matchbook at -117, I’m slightly hesitant to endorse taking the 7 without the hook, but this is very likely the best number you’re going to see. Unless you have access to that 7.5 -112 at BetOnline, which looks to be a valuable number relative to the rest of the major off-shore books.
In any event, we have this number 4.5, and though it may only a few points of overlay, if you can get a 7.5, that discrepancy is through one very significant number and one secondary key. The seven is still offering a few points of value, but you’re going to want to get a discount on seven if you’re without opportunity for one with a hook.
If your situational cap to the game puts you on this, I think you’re definitely going to want to bet this sooner rather than later, because right now it’s looking like the possibility looms that these 7’s could be a thing of the past by kickoff.