Sometimes, there is mystery to the betting action. For instance, a mid-major school might contribute to a modest O/U Total with a sluggish offensive output, but Over bets flood in as soon as the line is set. Are the bettors saying they think the smaller program is ready to erupt, or that it will be a garbage-time blow-out full of gratuitous touchdowns in the 2nd half?
But in other cases, it’s very clear what’s going on between sports books and their customers.
Northwestern opened at (-22) for its home game against so-so MAC opponent Bowling Green. Considering the disparity in strength-of-conference, bookies figured a flat 3-touchdown margin was too generous to the underdogs.
Gamblers disagree. The line has shrunk to (-21.5) as action is weighing on the BGSU side ATS. Are the Falcons and the points really worth a cash play?
Who: Bowling Green Falcons at Northwestern Wildcats
When: Saturday, September 16th, 7:30 PM EST
Where: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Lines: BGSU (+21.5) at Northwestern (-21.5) / O/U Total: (57)
Do the gamblers see weakness in Northwestern? The ‘Cats appeared to get off to a decent start, besting Nevada 31-20 in an emotional season-opener for both teams. But a trip to Duke University last weekend provided a harsh reality check. The kids in purple were almost completely unable to move the football against an ACC defense. QB Clayton Thorson had a miserable day, going 11-for-29 with 2 interceptions.
Bowling Green is not an ACC defense. But the eye-popping team stat line of 22 yards on 21 rushes (though a monster negative play or 2 pushed that ratio to the absurd) does not auger well for the Northwestern ground game against any upcoming opponent.
The Falcons also had a respectable start, losing 35-10 to Michigan State. But last weekend brought a decapitating loss to South Dakota. BGSU allowed a virtuoso performance by unheralded Chris Streveler, who passed for 300+ yards and ran for 100+ for the Coyotes.
Thorson can’t rebound without a steady running game, which the Northwestern OL should be able to help provide against the under-sized Falcons. But don’t expect a revelation on offense from the Wildcats.
A smart game plan is to push the LOS and control the ball against BGSU. We’re thinking that the ‘Cats should be much more concerned with winning than with running up a score, and expect less than 7 touchdowns total in the game. That opens up a value wager on under (57) points.
Take the under and grab a payoff by the Windy City.