CFB Week 16 Pros vs. Joes: Late movement toward 'Bama, Northwestern in title games

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Before making 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 this week's slate.

No. 3 Clemson (-10, 60) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame, 4 p.m. ET

Bettors are only casually targetting the biggest game of the weekend, and those playing this one are split on which side to support.

Clemson is drawing four times as much money ahead of the rematch after its Nov. 7 loss to Notre Dame, which came without Trevor Lawrence on the field. That early money has moved this line from the opening number of 8 to the current number at 10, though the Fighting Irish have seen some action at +10, and twice as many straight-bet tickets have been written on them.

"I would imagine that we’ll see a little bit of Notre Dame money showing up on straight bets between now and kickoff," Rood said. "I think this line will stay at 10 based on the ticket count that we’re seeing."

No. 1 Alabama (-17, 74) vs. No. 7 Florida, 8 p.m. ET

The door is likely shut on Florida's title hopes after a stunning loss to LSU last week as a 23-point favorite. That loss has also scared off bettors, who are fading the Gators in a big underdog spot.

As of Friday afternoon, Alabama was pulling twice as much money as its SEC rival on eight times as many tickets, though the school took a strange path to get there. The Crimson Tide opened as 14.5-point favorites and were bet all the way down to 13.5 before a rush of Alabama money brought this line up to 17.

Parlay bettors have also circled the Tide as the key play this week, betting 13 times more money on them ahead of Saturday.

"We’ll need Florida to knock down the parlays, because it looks like every parlay has Alabama," Rood said.

No. 10 Oklahoma (-5,5 58.5) vs. No. 6 Iowa State

The other top-10 matchup this week comes in the Big 12 championship game, and bettors are mostly split on this rematch of an Oct. 3 contest that Iowa State won.

Oklahoma opened as a 4-point favorite in this one and was bet all the way up to -6, with action coming on the Sooners at every interval. That's when the money on Iowa State started coming back, and the school had pulled three times as much money on twice as many tickets as of Friday afternoon.

Parlay bettors are also playing the Cyclones at a two-to-one clip, which suggests more public play is coming before kickoff. Iowa State has covered during seven of its last eight games dating back to that 37-30 win over Oklahoma.

No. 4 Ohio State (-19.5, 56) vs. No. 14 Northwestern, 12 p.m.

The lone remaining Power 5 championship game on Saturday is also one of the strangest on the market, as bettors are playing both sides of this contest ahead of an early kickoff.

Ohio State opened as a 21-point favorite and was immediately bet down to 20, with bettors laying substantial money on the Buckeyes as 20-point chalk. Since then, Northwestern bettors have joined the action, laying twice as many tickets on the Wildcats and bringing this number down to 18.5, despite Ohio State holding a two-to-one advantage in money wagered.

“It's a bit of a bizarre game for us, but we’re in a really good spot from a bookmaking standpoint," Rood said.

(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.

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CFB Week 16 Pros vs. Joes: Late movement toward 'Bama, Northwestern in title games
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