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Before you make your college football bets this weekend, it's worth knowing which side other bettors are backing - especially on games drawing sharp action.
We talked to Jay Rood, Bet.Works' chief risk officer and theScore Bet's head trader, to see how sharps and public bettors are playing the Week 13 slate.
Northwestern is quickly becoming the biggest surprise of the college football season, winning its first five games with relative ease. Bettors are buying that hot start this week as big favorites against a struggling Michigan State squad.
The Wildcats opened as 10.5-point favorites and have been bet steadily up to -13, where the money is still coming in on Northwestern. In total, the road favorites are drawing eight times as many straight bets with a whopping 100-to-1 advantage in money behind some rated plays.
It's a similar story in parlays, too, while the other big decision in this game is on the under, which sits at 41.5 as of Friday afternoon.
"The way they’re betting it, they’re expecting the game to be a relative blowout by Northwestern with no scoring by Michigan State," Rood said.
The season Northwestern is having is what many expected from both of these disappointing Big Ten teams. Nonetheless, opinions are still split on which school will emerge victorious in Saturday's tightly priced contest.
The public is all over Michigan, which is pulling four times as many tickets in straight bets and in parlays. Yet the line keeps moving in favor of winless Penn State, which has seen 25 times as much money wagered in straight bets to move it from 4 to 1.5 as of Friday afternoon.
"We've got some sharp play on the road team here plus the points," Rood said.
The lone ranked matchup on Saturday hasn't seen a ton of action from the betting community, but those who are dabbling on this SEC clash are mostly split on the result.
Auburn opened as a 24.5-point underdog and drew at least one rated play at that price, nudging the line briefly down to +24. It's since bumped back up to the opening number after some solid two-way action and strong play from the public on Alabama, which is seeing twice as many parlay slips with a 4-to-1 advantage in money on such bets.
Maybe the public is onto something here. Since 2008, the home team is 9-4 against the spread in this series, while Alabama has an average scoring margin of +24 points in its last six home games against its bitter rival.
Another key SEC matchup this week has a much clearer lean in the betting community, as wagers continue to pile up on the fifth-ranked Aggies.
This line opened at Texas A&M -11.5 and quickly climbed to -14, where it sat most of the week before it was pushed over the key number. The Aggies have pulled an eye-popping 200 times as much money as LSU on straight bets despite just a 2-to-1 advantage in ticket count, with a small advantage in the parlay market, too.
"We've seen strong support from the rated-play community for A&M," Rood said. "We’re gonna be big LSU fans tomorrow."
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.