College Football Betting: Western Michigan at Georgia Southern

Added September 11, 2015 by Levi Watkins

One element of sports betting which often has the ‘sharps’ going in a different direction than the public is in evaluating injuries and suspensions. The ‘public’ has a tendency to play *against* the team with an absent key player. While this makes sense in theory, in practice there’s a huge problem with blindly using this strategy. The linesmaker is aware of the situation and will shade the line accordingly–in other words, right out of the gate you’re paying a ‘premium’ to bet against the ‘injured player’s’ team. Conversely, you’re getting line value simply by betting the team with the missing player. Once the line is posted, the public will often continue to bet the same way and an already shaded line will continue to move.

This is a very salient concept for the Saturday game between Western Michigan and Georgia Southern. Georgia Southern is a solid program but looked downright lost last week as they were ripped 44-0 by West Virginia. Much of the blame for the loss has been pinned on backup Fabian Upshaw, who was starting his first game since high school. He’d seen some playing time last year and had performed well but was clearly not ready to play a class opponent on the road. His starting role was necessitated by the two game suspension of Junior QB Kevin Ellison–this is the second game he’ll miss.

While the Eagles were getting eviscerated by the Mountaineers, Western Michigan played well in a losing effort at Michigan State earning the cover as +16.5 underdogs. So we’re left with an overvalued Western Michigan team in ‘letdown mode’ coming off a decent effort against an in-state rival. They’ll likely see the tape of Upshaw’s struggles and think that this is a game that they can ‘phone in’. Meanwhile, Georgia Southern is stepping down in class on their home field. The public reacts to recent performances thinking they’ll continue while sharp players react the other way.

Western Michigan is a -4.5 favorite here and that’s not only an unfamiliar role but a historically awful one. They covered their only spot in this role in the last three years but going back even further they’re 2-10 ATS as a road favorite of -3′ to -7. Georgia Southern is 9-1 SU/5-2-3 ATS at home since moving up to FBS play.


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