Leaning on the Thursday night college football home underdog is one of the most confounding situational angles in sports that bettors have taken advantage of over the years.
It's a well-documented trend that almost reeks of pretentiousness. The subtle arrogance of blindly betting patterns over any predictive metric implies a novice feel. But those in college football betting circles - from message boards to social media - were consistently winning while hitting this trend over the years without research.
There isn't much research to support why a team would play better on a certain day, let alone such a hyper-specific window like a Thursday. I asked a friend and former player at a mid-major program how a Thursday road game differs from traveling for a weekend game, and here's his response:
There's just a different type of feel to the game. We were so used to playing day games, then you're traveling on a shorter rest week to play at night, not to mention the student sections are just so much more into it. It was difficult to get into a rhythm. You get punched in the mouth first and realize how much not only the momentum swings, but how tough it is to get back when the crowd is into it. You're most likely on national TV playing in front of all these people and in a hostile environment. It's pretty uncomfortable.
And it's also been uncomfortable for those laying chalk on the Thursday night road team and anyone doing the opposite while rooting for the home 'dog.
Bettors generally shouldn't just hit submit without finding an edge or crunching numbers. But that hasn't been necessary since the 2013 season, which is when the trend of tailing every home team catching points on Thursday really came alive.
Over the last five-plus years, home underdogs playing on Thursday night have compiled a 43-27 record against the spread, winning at roughly a 63 percent clip.
But of course, there's a more specific angle within the angle that's providing even better value over that span: Seven-plus point underdogs are performing well, going 28-11 (71.7 percent) against the spread. Five double-digit 'dogs have cashed outright, the most recent coming late in 2016 when Houston throttled Louisville as a 17.5-point underdog.
Non-conference games, and even FBS-FCS crossovers, are scattered throughout the first couple weeks. Then conference play kicks in, as does the familiarity.
Wake Forest will be the next team to fit this situation when the Demon Deacons host the Boston College Eagles on Thursday in Week 3. Wake Forest opened up as a 4.5-point underdog and the number remains the same in most shops, but only after shooting all the way up to seven and coming back down to the original spread.
Some bettors out there might be holding Wake Forest +7 tickets, a number that's been gold in these situations. Charlotte at home is also a 1.5-point underdog on Thursday afternoon, with both games being moved up due to inclement weather.
Here are some other potential spots when this pattern may come into play during the 2018 season:
Georgia Southern at Texas State
Stanford at Arizona State (S&P+ projected margin: Stanford +7.1)
Toledo at Western Michigan (S&P+ projected margin: Toledo +5.2)
Appalachian State at Georgia Southern
Ohio at Western Michigan (S&P+ projected margin: Ohio +1.4)
Northern Illinois at Akron (S&P+ projected margin: Northern Illinois +10.1)
Toledo at Kent State (S&P+ projected margin: Toledo +16.8)
Florida Atlantic @ North Texas (S&P+ projected margin: Florida Atlantic +9.8)
Fire away if your numbers match up with those of the future Thursday home underdogs.
However, pulling the trigger blindly when the home team is getting points isn't the most articulate method, so just make sure those teams are catching at least a touchdown.
Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.