Last Updated: 2017-08-30
Every week we’re going to look at line moves and see what they mean, if anything. What many call a “sharp” bettor is in reality someone that gets the best number and/or beats the closing line. Here is a rundown of the Week One College Football moves, and remember some books have had lines up for months.
Hawaii/Umass: The Minutemen opened as -1 favorites and currently sit as +1 underdogs at most books. Aside from the actual handicapping aspect, what that COULD be is an effort by bettors to get +1 on BOTH sides. It’s done all the time, which is why these lower spreads don’t see a ML until much later in the game. It’s obviously a long way from Honolulu to Massachusetts, and the Rainbows won the season finale last year 46-40. That might tell us that the total will open higher than it probably should be.
Arizona State/New Mexico State: CRIS (Bookmaker) opened this line at 25 and it’s below 24 in many places. What that COULD be is bettors taking anything above 24, which is a key number, at least far more so than 25. People could be reading that the Sun Devils lost their last six games last season, but remember they were all to good teams. The Aggies had a really tough time scoring last season, and one chart I do like to use this time of year is returning PRODUCTION (SBNation) and not necessarily returning STARTERS. They both bring back a fair bit from 2016.
Navy/FAU: This line opened with the Middies favored by -14.5 points, was fairly quickly bet to less than the magic number of two touchdowns, and is at -12.5 at many sharp books as of this writing. Navy lost a ton from last season and perhaps most importantly their QB, which in that offense is a much bigger deal than in a conventional offense. It’s Lane Kiffin’s opener, at home, on ESPN. The Owls bring back most of their team, so in this case I do think that the move is correct, although it’s lost some value. The big “bet against” here is that Navy had the worst third-down defense in the entire nation last season. This one could be the public disaster of Week One.
Michigan/Florida: Most shops opened this number well North of Michigan -4, and at this point it’s sitting at +3, for the most part. I did bet this at +4 and don’t see why the Gators can’t win this game. Michigan might be overvalued based on last season and of course Harbaugh, but they lost a TON of players and production. Florida, based on recent history, might be UNDER valued. They’ve potentially got a quarterback in Malik Zaire (yes, the one that played in South Bend), and you know they’ll play some defense. With this being such an implication on the CFB Championship, you have to like the points. I like Harbaugh, but as far as in-game coaching I simply go back the blocked/dropped punt against Michigan State. I’d still take my chances with the SEC team and in my opinion, the better coach.