I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. What a wonderful week it is for sports bettors. Football for 4 straight days. NBA and NHL sprinkled in. College basketball starting bright and early so we can start stretching those bankrolls out for Holy Cross vs Lipscomb. Oh yeah - family, loved ones, old dive bars from the town you grew up in, all of that shit too. It also saw the conclusion of the College Football regular season. Not too many surprises at the top. Maybe Alabama faltering a little. LSU is shining a little brighter than most expected. Anyone who paid attention to the Pac-12 knew Utah was primed for a good season, so many of us don’t share the national narrative of “Utah came out of nowhere this year!”
This Friday night, under the bright lights at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the Utes of Utah will play against the Ducks of Oregon. The line currently sits at Utah -6.5 with a total of 47.5. I have seen two events here at Levi’s - the 2016 Pac-12 Championship game that saw Washington wax Colorado 41-10. The best part of the night was my buddy having these drink bracelets that let us drink free Moscow Mules. The other event was Wrestlemania 31. A few things stand out from that weekend - A guy dressed as Superman (a fat, very tan Superman) had passed out in the row behind us and had puked all over himself. A good samaritan yelled for a good 10 minutes, “AY! Somebody get Superman a lemonade!” My buddies and I still yell it when we’re out drinking to this day. The lemonade never came. Although Sting was about 2 decades past his prime, it was cool to see him walk the ramp and have an average match vs Triple H.
Having been to a game at Levi’s that was a neutral site game, there are some things you don’t capture in models or in charts - the place is dead, it’s far from home, and nobody gives a shit. This is a conference championship game and it feels like some decent high school teams have taken the field. Today’s angle is going to be heavy on situations and light on systems, but I grabbed one clue that I wanted to share:
Important note - the database counts Conference Champ games as being played in the regular season. Bowl games and on are “postseason.”
GWB, and me personally, is firing on 1h UNDER 23.5 -117
The 1h UNDER is 5-1 in these Neutral site affairs at Levi’s Stadium. That information alone is absolutely not enough for me to fire on anything. But having been to the stadium, knowing the weather in the bay this week, and seeing how this is currently being bet, all leads me to take the 1h UNDER. There’s a reason for 1h and not for the full game at the current price.
We know the 1h UNDER is 5-1. What else are we seeing?
It has been raining for 3 days in the Bay Area. It’s going to rain all week. Levi’s obviously will try to keep the field covered, but the poor field conditions at that stadium have been documented for years. I have a feeling that we will see shots of players getting cleats switched out in the first two quarters of the game as footing becomes an issue after a few series. On Friday we are currently showing an almost 100% chance of rain during most of the game. Having seen it live on a cold night, these guys will feel like they are playing on 6 inches of Enchiladas Verde.
The atmosphere will be dead. They try to move everyone into 1 or 2 sections of the stadium so that when they show it on TV it looks like there are people there. We have two teams from 1000 miles away playing an hour from San Francisco on a cold, rainy night. Nobody from the Bay Area gives a shit about this game. They give away tickets to high schools and community groups to get bodies in the door. Look, these guys busted ass all year for a Conference Championship game and the setting is lackluster. No crowd, no hype. It’s subtle, but it takes a few series to get going. This is a hard clue to quantify. I totally understand if you as a capper say something like this doesn’t matter. I don’t necessarily disagree. It’s my own bias of actually having been to this playing field. It’s a shiny, lifeless box. It takes the 35% full stadium a few Moscow Mules to wake up. It takes a few series for teams to get going.
This line opened at 51. It has been bet down from the moment it opened. It was steamed at 51, 49.5, and now 49. The GWB Neutral Site Total Drop BOX that we wrote about in Week 0 has lit for this game. It sits at 3-2 on the year, here’s a reminder:
So why am I hitting the 1h and not the full game total? Adjustments will be made to cleats and play calling. In my opinion the game will pick up once everyone has hit the field for 15-20 plays. Each team will tweak how they are attacking and I won’t be surprised if teams come out of the half ready to navigate the field conditions and move the ball. It’s just a piece of information, but what can we draw from it - the 2h OVER at Levi in these games is 4-2. No sample whatsoever but it’s all we have to work with.
Neutral site game, two defensive teams, 5-1 1h UNDER information, no hype, rain all week and during the game, steam moves on the under, big total drop, documented field conditions, free Moscow Mules. All signs point to a 1h UNDER for the GWB, Cash Dat!