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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 9 slate.
The only ranked matchup this weekend was supposed to be a top-10 clash between arguably the two best teams in the Big Ten. Yet even after Penn State's overtime loss to Indiana a week ago, bettors are playing both sides of this high-profile contest.
Ohio State is drawing eight times as many tickets as of Friday afternoon, though the average wager on the Nittany Lions is three times bigger, leading to a fairly balanced handle for books heading into the weekend.
That could change in a hurry, though. The Buckeyes are among the most-bet teams on parlays this week, which suggests a run of public money will be coming by game time. Still, with the bigger bets on Penn State, this line likely won't cross any key numbers before kickoff.
Another Big Ten matchup Saturday is drawing much more lopsided action - and this time, bettors are all over the 'dogs.
Michigan State opened as a 26-point underdog and has been consistently bet down to +23.5, including a limit play at +25 and a total of 25 times as much money wagered on the point spread. Curiously, the ticket count is 3-to-2 in favor of Michigan as of Friday afternoon, setting up a small Pros vs. Joes situation for this in-state rivalry.
That'll only be more pronounced come game time, with the Wolverines seeing a small advantage on parlay slips. Michigan is 29-0 as a favorite this big since losing to Appalachian State in 2007, though it's just 3-9 against the spread in its last 12 giving this many points.
Since then, it's been a steady stream on Boston College, which has drawn 20 times as much money on straight bets with a couple of limit plays, too. Parlay bettors are still laying three times as much money on the Tigers, who are 11-1 straight up and 7-4-1 ATS against the Eagles since Dabo Swinney took over.
"I know Trevor Lawrence is good, but Clemson's system is pretty stout," Rood said. "I've got to believe we're going to see some activity to that."
This matchup isn't as sexy as the other three, but it's drawn more activity than any game on the board as of Friday afternoon with a solid draw on both sides.
Ole Miss opened as an 18-point favorite and took money right away at that number, though a slow trickle of money on Vanderbilt brought the number down to 16. That's when bettors bought back on Mississippi - including a sharp play at 16.5 - to tip the scales in favor of the Rebels by a 3-to-1 margin.
"We've got good two-way activity on this one," Rood said. "We just have a lot more lopsided money on the Mississippi side."
(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.