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BETTER BETTOR

Caesar's better bettor: Will Mizzou score 13 points? Don't bet on it — but you can

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Missouri Georgia Football

Missouri quarterback Brady Cook passes in a game against Georgia on Nov. 6, 2021, in Athens, Ga. 

Thirteen measly points? That’s it. Will Mizzou score 13 points Saturday when the Tigers host No. 1 Georgia?

That’s a proposition bet that was being offered as of Friday afternoon at two of the area’s sportsbooks, in which customers can wager whether the Tigers score over or under 12½ points in the game. That was the number at DraftKings (East St. Louis) and Argosy (Alton). FanDuel (Collinsville), the area’s other legal book, had not posted that prop.

Sounds simple, eh? It’s only two touchdowns and extra points, and the Tigers have exceeded that total in all four of their games this season and all but one last year.

However, that lone failure came against Georgia, when MU was held to six points. And Georgia had allowed a grand total of 10 points combined in its first three games this season before slipping last week against Kent State. That was a nonconference game in which the Bulldogs seemed disinterested and played uninspiringly. Look for their focus to be back with a return to Southeastern Conference play this time, and it should be a tough evening for MU’s already sputtering offense.

Taking it a step deeper, DraftKings had the over-under for points Mizzou scores in the first half at 6½.

As far as the game itself goes, a lot of observers are thinking:

Mizzou will be absolutely steamrolled by No. 1 Georgia, after MU’s demoralizing, almost inexplicable loss last week at Auburn.

But not so fast, as Lee Corso says on ESPN’S “College GameDay” show. Well, at least “not so fast” historically from a point spread perspective.

Georgia has had a significantly superior team to Mizzou for years and has won nine of the past 10 games in the series. But it’s the Tigers who are ahead against the spread, having prevailed at the betting windows in six of those 10 meetings — including last year, when MU lost “only” 43-6 but was getting 40 points.

That was by far the biggest spread in the series over the past decade. For Saturday’s matchup, as of Friday afternoon, Georgia was favored by 29 points at DraftKings and Argosy, 28½ at FanDuel.

When the teams played two years ago in Columbia, MU was an 18½-point underdog in a game the Bulldogs won 49-14.

The feeling here is that Georgia wakes up from its snoozer against Kent State, when it did not come close to covering a 45-point spread in a 39-22 victory. We’ll take the Bulldogs minus the 28½ for two units (more picks below).

Patience pays off for Cards Series bettors

In the world of sports betting, timing can be everything. Waiting to make a bet is good if the odds change in your favor or really bad if they go the other way.

In the case of those wanting to plunk down a few bucks on the Cardinals to succeed in the postseason, procrastinating has paid off — albeit slightly — for those who shop around.

Two weeks ago Friday, the odds of the Redbirds winning the World Series were 20-1 at DraftKings and Argosy. The number at FanDuel was 17-1.

By this Friday, the odds had held steady at FanDuel and Argosy but had risen to 22-1 at DraftKings. That would amount to an extra $20 bucks for a successful $100 bet — an additional $100 for a $500 wager.

The Cards’ odds to win the National League pennant had a small increase at a couple of the books, going from 9-1 two weeks ago at DraftKings and Argosy to 9½-1. But the number fell at FanDuel, from 8½-1 to 8-1.

Woof woof!

Those dogs are barking. Loudly.

Through the first three weeks of the NFL season, underdogs had covered the spread 60% of the time, going 28-18-2 against the number. Last week, they were 10-5-1, including outright victories over big-name teams Kansas City (by Indianapolis), Buffalo (by Miami) and the LA Chargers (by Jacksonville).

The spread statistics are according to the covers.com sports betting website.

An even strong trend (62.5%) — games had gone “under” the closing total (combined points scored by both teams) 30 times. They’d gone “over” 18.

What does that mean going forward? Probably not much, as oddsmakers adjust to trends. Simplistic systems such as “just bet the underdog” are not built for the long haul. But it is interesting nonetheless.

Week 4 began Thursday with Cincinnati winning and covering the spread in a game that went under the total.

Weathering the storm

The aftermath of Hurricane Ian has been making its way up the East Coast after making landfall Wednesday near Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Florida, and on Friday was dumping rain and unfurling high winds on parts of South Carolina and North Carolina.

The potential for those conditions also existing on Saturday, when some college football games are scheduled to be played in that region, had a significant impact on over-under betting totals for some contests throughout the week as bettors were playing weatherman and trying to get an edge on the bookies. But with the forecast now calling for the storm to have passed by game time, the money has been coming in the other way. To wit:

  • North Carolina State’s game at Clemson opened at 46 on the consensus Vegas line when it came out Sunday. By midweek, it had plummeted to 39½ at some books. But by Friday afternoon, it was up to 45.
  • Virginia is at Duke, and after opening at 56½ it fell to 49½ a few days later but by Friday sat at 53.
  • Virginia Tech is at North Carolina, with an opening total of 56. It crashed to 50 at some books on Monday but was back up to 56 on Friday.

More weekend picks

We bounced back nicely last weekend, following a lousy first couple weeks of the football season with our picks. Both selections hit, bringing the record for the season to 3-7 with a tally of -9 units overall. That’s based on our ranking of selections (they can range from one to five •••••).

This week’s opinions (odds listed are the most favorable that were available Friday afternoon among the three area sportsbooks):

Texas A&M at Mississippi State, 3 p.m. Saturday: The Aggies have fared better recently after a shocking loss to Appalachian State, rebounding to beat two ranked teams. But they now take their pedestrian offense (18 points average last three games) on the road for the first time. A&M’s defense is good, but gets a stout test here from Bulldogs QB Will Rogers, who is throwing for 346.5 yards a game. Look for the home team to be up to the task. Mississippi State -3½ (DraftKings, FanDuel) ••

Georgia at Missouri, 6:30 p.m. Saturday: See above.

Jaguars at Eagles, noon Sunday: Jacksonville has been a big surprise, upsetting the Colts and Chargers in its last two outings. But the Jags go into a hostile environment here, likely on a rainy day, against a foe that has a potent attack and has allowed just 15 combined points in its last two games. Eagles -6½ (all three books) •

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