The betting line for the Arizona vs. BYU football game was released today, and there are some interesting numbers to look at. First, the over/under for the game was set at 47.5, which implies there is a lot of betting interest in this game. Since this is an annual rivalry game, there should be no surprise that it is drawing a large audience.
The over/under for the spread was also released, and once again, there is a lot of interest in the number. For the first time in quite a while, there is a true even spread of points between these two schools. The Wildcats opened as a 4-point favorite, while the Cougars are a 9.5-point underdog. These lines have been slowly moving in the same direction, with the over/under for the spread increasing by 3.5 points since last year’s game. This is the first time in nearly a decade that the spread has been this close to an even game.
The over/under for the game was also released, and this is the number that interests me the most. Essentially, if you think that either team is going to score a lot of points, then backing the under is the optimal strategy. However, if you think that either team is going to score low, then backing the over is the way to go. Last year’s game was an exception, as it was relatively close most of the time and the spread was only 28.5. This year’s game is expected to be closer to a shootout, so it is hard to make a call on this number at all. Fortunately, you can get very efficient odds on this number in the online world, where you can find the best prices and the most competitive odds.
The last time these two teams met was during the 2011 season, and it was a wild one. The Wildcats lost the game 42-41 in overtime, and it featured a last-second field goal that would have won the game for BYU. This is a rivalry game that definitely lives up to its reputation, as these teams are definitely not afraid to hit each other hard and play with a lot of passion. There is definitely a rematch in the planning stages for this year’s game.
When it comes to picking games, I am a big fan of taking advantage of the “public” perception of a game. For instance, the game between Ohio State and Penn State was expected to be a close game because of the animosity between the schools. Nevertheless, the spread and the over/under for the game were set at 52 points, which is an excessive amount. Essentially, I would much rather take the under on the spread in a game between these two bitter rivals. The same logic applies to the game between Boston College and Clemson, which was also hyped up as a rivalry game. In reality, it was a pretty boring game, and I would never pick the Tigers in a cash game. The same goes for the Arkansas / LSU game, the TCU / Baylor game, and any other game between arch-rivals. The key is to find games where the spread is not as overwhelming as the line would indicate. I also love a game where the over/under is very close to the actual scoring total, as this gives us a 50/50 chance of winning or losing the game. Last but not least, I look for games where there is a lot of scoring and an even flow of points throughout the game. In a nutshell, if you can get a game like this, with a lot of scoring and exciting play, then you can bet your life that you are going to have a good time. Finally, when picking against the spread always remember to use money management in order to avoid getting stuck with a losing record. Pick games against the spread where you know how the other half lives and where the points are coming easily.