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College football teams to bet on with confidence in Week 3

11th September, 17:58

In Week 3 college football action, there are several games that have feature buy signals based on the betting behaviors so far.

Opening line: UCF -7.5

Over-under: 59

Last week, the Cardinal were on the other side of the betting behavior extremes. The result was favorable as their Pac-12 Conference opponent USC -- installed as 3-point home favorites -- dominated them in a 45-20 win and covered the spread by 22 points.

The opening line for this game against 17th-ranked UCF was priced with the Cardinal installed as 7.5 points dogs and -120 vigorish. 70 percent of placed bets have been on UCF, and I expect this percentage to increase between now and game time as the betting public will overreact to the Cardinal's loss. So, it is not surprising to see the amateur bettor on UCF.

The line has not changed from its opening price, and some sportsbooks have it priced a 1.2-point lower at 7. The fact that 70 percent of the number of bets have been on UCF, coupled with the line not moving -- if anything, moving opposite of the public -- reflects that there are a larger number of bettors picking up the value presented in a Cardinal bet. The lack of line movement also tells us the sportsbooks have even or near-even money on each team.

Seventy-one percent of the number of bets being made in this matchup are on Alabama. Despite this overwhelming number of financial hackers, the line has shifted lower to 25 points at many sportsbooks. This is another example that the larger bettors or 'Smart Money' is backing South Carolina. The percentage of bets on Alabama is expected to climb higher -- by 75 percent -- by game time, but the line is not expected to move higher with it. If that event becomes reality, then it becomes an even stronger betting opportunity on the Gamecocks.

Every week a few games exhibit the irrational exuberance based on a one or two-game sample size. This is the same type of behavior that exists when the stock markets form unsustainable price bubbles, and everyone is euphoric that prices will continue rising indefinitely, only to be shocked when the bubble bursts and prices collapse. There are always warning signs and price patterns before the collapse and the same is true in sports betting.

In this matchup we have a disappointing UCLA team that has played badly in their first two games (losing to Group of 5 opponents Cincinnati and San Diego State). The ATS margin is 24 points combined in these two games. By comparison, the Sooners have won both of their games by double digit straight-up. In their last game they hammered South Dakota 77-14 and covered the 45-point spread by 11 points.

So far this week 72 percent of the bets on this matchup have been on the Sooners. The line has moved higher as the sportsbooks are anticipating still greater betting flows backing the Sooners leading up to game time.

The better value is to bet the UNDER.

The under opened at 67 points and has quickly risen to as high as 74 points, with 73.5 being the most common price. There has been hardly any interest to bet the UNDER in this matchup after the Sooners put up 77 points last week. The percentage of OVER bets will remain above 75 percent going into game time barring any significant game-changing news. It offers an excellent opportunity to take the UNDER.