We have noticed a strong trend at the sportsbooks' betting odds this bowl season. And it tells you who is betting thus far and what they are thinking.
Other than the games that were played on Saturday, Dec. 19th, almost all the sides action has been relatively quiet, with maybe a half point or one-point movement thus far. Where the college football odds have more altered is on totals. This signifies more sharp or wise guy action, because they are looking for weaknesses in the numbers. Most normal bettors stay away from totals or play them without any rhyme or reason.
However, you will see as the next game(s) arrive on the docket, the activity will increase, signify the marketplace is engaged and line movement will start moving the sides and to a lesser degree the totals.
Other than one contest, the two biggest line moves on sides have come from Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel being listed as -Out- with personal matter, taking the Bearcats from -2 to +1 in the Hawai'i Bowl against San Diego State. The other was in the Music City Bowl where Texas A&M went from -3 to +4, with the news QB Kyle Allen was transferring and so is backup Kyler Allan.
Here is a look at what lines have moved the best and reasons why.
Miami Beach Bowl - Western Kentucky vs. South Florida
Some sportbooks like YouWager.eu opened Western Kentucky up at -4 and others were at -3.5. However, that number has eroded to -2.5, with South Florida getting close look. The Hilltoppers are 11-2 and 8-3-1 ATS and have a premier offense. But South Florida closed 7-1 SU and ATS in a better than expected AAC conference and has speed edges on both sides of the ball. If you like the underdog for college football picks, not quite as inviting at new price.
Sun Bowl - Miami vs. Washington State
With Washington State regular starting quarterback Luke Falk a little bit in doubt after missing Apple Cup battle, he's been cleared to play and figures to be in the throwing contest with Miami QB Brad Kaaya. Those making sports picks have not hesitated lifting this total from 60 to 63 and are expecting an aerial circus for sports picks.
Armed Forces Bowl - Air Force vs. California
In the first bowl game of Dec. 29th, the numbers suggest the California defense (103rd in run defense) will not be able to slow the Air Force option offense (2nd in rushing) and the Falcons are not going to have answers for the Golden Bears Air Raid passing offense (6th). With this in mind the total is rising, up from 63 to 66. Air Force comes in 15-5 OVER after three consecutive games forcing one or less turnovers.
Birmingham Bowl - Memphis vs. Auburn
Both these two teams allow about 27 points a contest, but what pushes the total from 61.5 to 64 is the Memphis offense which scores 42.7 PPG. Auburn has not been good all year against opposing teams who have proven they excel at throwing the ball. Auburn has played the tougher schedule and despite offensive shortcomings, they will certainly attempt to attack Memphis' 115th rated pass defense. Overall, hard to imagine Memphis does not move to 8-0 OVER after a win by 28 or more points like they put together against SMU in 63-0 beatdown.
Cotton Bowl - Michigan State vs. Alabama
In one of the national semi-finals on New Year's Eve, points are going to be harder to come by than first thought. At least that is what football bettors and many football handicappers are saying. Right from the initial release, the total dipped two points to 47. It makes perfect sense with Alabama has been one of the best defensive teams all season (14.4 PPG allowed) and Michigan State's last four opponents averaged 10 PPG. While this looks to be the right pick, the Crimson Tide is 8-0 OVER as a neutral field favorite of 7.5 to 14 points, with average total score 57.4 points.