Significant sports stories inevitably influence the world of betting, even if they touch on a sensitive topic. That’s the nature of business, because that’s exactly what it is. This business requires a lot of money, and industry experts must approach unique variables in the same way as they would treat an injury or any other disease.
Hurricane Yan impacted football games in the Southeast this weekend, forcing schools to consider relocating or rescheduling during the week. In turn, bookmakers and professional bettors had to adjust accordingly. Severe weather conditions could completely change the course of the game. So, in almost 10 games, their totals have been reduced by six to eight points since they were first published last Sunday. But at the end of the day, it’s still a guessing game and the bookmakers have defended themselves.
“Weather betting with seven days left is random and the only one with an edge is the big guy at the top,” Jason Scott, BetMGM’s vice president of trading, told Sportzshala. “And as far as I know, he doesn’t bet.”
However, on the other side of the counter, experienced and savvy players have an advantage. This is because they know how to optimize the fine print in this unique situation. There simply is no universal house rule for a game that changes venues or dates. Every bookmaker has their own policies, which they have actually reinforced during COVID-19.
Some operators will void all bets if the venue or game days are rescheduled. Simple. Some announce an action for any bet regardless of the change. It’s easy too. After that, it gets difficult. One book requires the game to be played within 100 miles, while another holds the bet valid as long as the home team is still designated as the home team. If a game is rescheduled, some books require the game to be playable within seven or eight days of its original date. Another book’s house rules state that all NFL games must be played by next Wednesday.
Thus, if players do their homework and are armed with all the details and understand how the market will react, then they can use the internal rules to their advantage. And they can do that by watching college and NFL teams announce contingency plans.
So, this week the professional players were looking not only for the best number, but also for the best house rule. This is because they can play both sides of the game, and if it moves, they will have a good number in the book, which will consider this ticket an action, and then also a bad number in the book, which will invalidate the ticket. If the game never moves, then the player simply loses some of the juice. This is a risk worth taking in multiple games that can lead to huge benefits.
No. 7 Kentucky Wildcats to No. 14 Ole Miss Rebels (-7)
What do we really know about Ole Miss? I will save you time and effort. The answer is… absolutely nothing. Give him credit for not losing, but the verdict is still out due to the extremely soft schedule. This point spread opened at about 4.5 and is now a full touchdown. Arthur, my adorable French Bulldog recently made famous at SportsCenter, wears a blue plaid bow tie and probably belongs to The Grove. But I ride with the dog.
Pick: Kentucky +7
No. 9 Oklahoma State Cowboys to No. 16 Baylor Bears (-2.5)
I lost a lot of money at their last meeting. The Pokes had every opportunity to win the Big 12 Championship match but failed to do so. I may never recover. And while I know the state of Oklahoma is keen to get revenge, that number seems too low. I understand that the Bears are going to have a tough game in Iowa, but the Cowboys weren’t tested at all. And they even sometimes struggled with weak competition; they were only three points ahead of Arizona State in the fourth quarter at home. This is unacceptable. QB Spencer Sanders is dynamic, but Dave Aranda will have that defense ready.
Choice: Baylor -2.5
No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide to No. 20 Arkansas Razorbacks
I really like this game, but I don’t feel good about it. I am horrified that the pros jumped on Bama when it opened at 14.5 and widened the spread. I also hate that FPI has this value of 22.1. But I still ride with Hogs, which will have a “red exit” and create an imposing environment. Bama is a juggernaut, but keep in mind that four of Bryce Young’s five away starts have been decided by three points or less. And for all his dominance, Nick Saban is only 12-12 ATS on the road against top 20 SEC teams. I expect it to be hard.
Pick: Arkansas +17
No. 10 NC State Wolfpack to No. 5 Clemson Tigers
I can’t remember the last time I bet a substantial amount of money on a Clemson game. I’ve never been able to get a good idea of this team since Trevor Lawrence left, even though we fled last week with Wake and points. Again, I’m leaning towards the underdog. The Tigers are getting the best shot from everyone and NC State wants this game and I also doubt Clemson can tie four solid quarters together. I really like Devin Leary and coach Dave Doeren, so let’s score points.
Choice: NC State +7
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No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs at the Missouri Tigers
The Bulldogs showed some vulnerability last week, only 10 points ahead of Kent State in the fourth quarter. This doesn’t bode well for Mizzou as I expect the Daugs to vent their frustrations once the game has started. Additionally, the Tigers endure a demoralizing and heartbreaking loss to Auburn in overtime. It’s a discrepancy on paper and I feel like UGA is ready for it.
Selected: Georgia -17.5 first half
LSU Tigers (-8) to Auburn Tigers
This game will probably burn me, but I have to take the bait and score. Melting at road conferences is never fun, especially in this particular series where the home team usually wins and covers, but Auburn is a complete disaster. Brian Harsin personifies the hot seat and I always look to support Brian Kelly. In fact, Kelly showed off his coaching skills earlier this season against Mississippi State. Trailing 13-0, the Tigers took control after some major mid-game adjustments. Meanwhile, Auburn is one of the biggest second-half offenses in the country against FBS competitors. These are two programs moving in opposite directions.
Florida International Panthers at the New Mexico State Eggies
As you can see, I like picking one of the ugliest Saturday games – and this one might be the best. I actually got along well with those jerks. Last week we backed Aggie as the house favorite against Hawaii and we’ll do the same here.
To be honest, Florida International is a wreck. The Panthers have not beaten an FBS school since 2019. They finished last season with 11 consecutive losses and broke that streak this year by converting 2 points to defeat Bryant in overtime. After that win, they lost to Texas State, one of the worst teams in FBS, and then just lost 73-0 in Western Kentucky.
Choice: New Mexico State -14.5