A Fact Check on “Sharp Reports” through 5 Weeks of the College Season

A Fact Check on Sharp Reports through 5-Weeks of the College Season

Search “sharp report” for a sport and you’ll find results, somewhat.

Mostly, pages of “picks, odds, news, and analysis” are generated from an array of outlets, but it’s not necessarily winners. After all, “cashing tickets is what it’s all about.”

The “sharps” in sports betting are called such because they’ve built the reputation, bankroll, and industry-respected prowess for picking winners at a high rate, at the correct spread, right price, etc. Thus, making a living as a pro gambler. What a superpower, to win more than losing. Who wants to fly or be invisible when this is a viable option?

“Sharps” are the opposite of “squares,” Average Joes, weekend warriors, the “public.”

Find anyone who has dealt with the general public and enjoyed it, I have a $2 steak to sell them.

Sharps aren’t willfully divulging their knowledge and picks for the betting public to search, interpret, and play along with. Why would they? It would deteriorate the “Pros vs. Joes” dichotomy.

Yet somehow, outlets publish this inside information. “The Sharp Reports.” Their yada, yada of interpreting what professional sports bettors are playing.

Remember, Elaine Benes didn’t glaze over the best part of her date, she mentioned “the bisque.” Seinfeld: Season 8, Episode 19, available on Netflix as of Oct. 1.

This is the bisque: Sharps win far more than they lose. “Duh, stoops.” That doesn’t just mean winning picks, it more so means money earned. Profits. And not just in the short term. Pro gamblers play the long game. A 51% win rate, at minimum, is the mark.

Sharp reports are crafted from following point-spread movement, based on where the money is flowing. Thus, gauging where the sharp money is.

For example, if a game has 80% of tickets backing one side but 80% of money backing another side, it translates to eight of ten tickets picking one team but eight of 10 dollars backing the other side, thus, the “sharp” side since these bettors tend to shell out much more money than the “Average Joe” betting five bucks on a team. Money influences point spreads.

Here’s the inaugural of our fact checks on respected outlets that publish “Sharp Reports.”

First is VSiN, the Vegas Stats & Information Network. College football is in Week 5 as of early October, providing a large sample size.

Saturday College Football


“Let’s discuss where the money is flowing,” said VSiN sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum, who constructs their “sharp” reports. All subsequent quotes in the weekly breakdowns are directly from Appelbaum’s reporting.

Nebraska at Illinois

The point spread fell from Nebraska -8, on the road, to -7. “Pros really liked the Illini at +7.5 or better. At BetMGM, Illinois is receiving 56% of the bets but 61% of the money, signaling bigger wagers in their favor.”

Pro bettors tend to get teams at the best available number for every game they bet. In this case, Illinois +8. The spread fell because big money moved the number in Illinois’ favor.

Result: Illinois 30, Nebraska 22. WON OUTRIGHT. Sharps 1-0 overall

Hawaii at UCLA

The line opened at UCLA -17. “Both Pros and Joes are laying the points with the home favorite, which has driven the Bruins from -17 to -17.5. Some books reached -18 and took in some buyback on Hawaii at the inflated number.”

Result: UCLA 44, Hawaii 10. COVER. Sharps 2-0 overall

UTEP at New Mexico State

“Sharps are fading lowly New Mexico State, steaming UTEP up from -8 to -10. At BetMGM, UTEP is receiving 62% of bets but a whopping 82% of the money, evidence of big money wagers in their favor.”

Result: UTEP 30, New Mexico State 3. COVER. Sharps 3-0 overall

Sharps went 3-for-3 during Week Zero on VSiN’s “Sharp Report.”


#19 Penn State at #12 Wisconsin

The Badgers moved from an opener of -4.5 to -5.5. “This signals respected wiseguy action in favor of the Badgers at home.”

Result: Penn State 16, Wisconsin 10. LOSS. Sharps 3-1 overall

Texas Tech at Houston

“Respected money has poured in on Houston, flipping the Cougars from +2.5 to -1.5. Houston matches the classic sharp ‘dog to favorite’ line move system.”

Result: Texas Tech 38, Houston 21. LOSS. Sharps 3-2 overall

#5 Georgia at #3 Clemson

Clemson was favored between -3 to -3.5. “The public is right down the middle and doesn’t know who to back. At times during the summer, this line has reached 3.5 and immediately come back down to the key number of 3. This signals some pro money supporting Georgia getting the hook (+3.5).”

Result: Georgia 10, Clemson 3. WON OUTRIGHT. Sharps 4-2 overall

#16 LSU at UCLA

“The public is all over LSU as a ranked team laying a short number. However, despite this lopsided betting we’ve seen LSU fall from -4 to -2.5. This signals sharp reverse line movement on UCLA, with pros grabbing the points, not laying them.”

Result: UCLA 38, LSU 27. WON OUTRIGHT. Sharps 5-2 overall

Sharps split their Week 1 picks, going 2-2.

WEEK 2, SEPT. 11

#5 Texas A&M at Colorado

Texas A&M opened -17 at Colorado (played at Empower Field, home of the Denver Broncos).

“The public sees an easy blowout win and cover with a ranked, Top 5 Aggies squad. However, despite this lopsided betting we’ve seen the line remain at -17 … This signals a sharp line freeze on the Buffs at home, with pros leaning toward grabbing the points.”

Result: Texas A&M 10, Colorado 3. COVER. Sharps 6-2 overall  

#10 Iowa at #9 Iowa State

Iowa State opened -3.5 at home.

“The public is rushing to the window to grab the points with Iowa, who looked far better in their season opener. However, despite a majority of bettors backing Iowa, we’ve seen this line move further to Iowa State (-3.5 to -4.5). This signals sharp “Fade the Trendy Dog” reverse line movement on the Cyclones, with pros buying low on Iowa State at home to win and cover.”

Result: Iowa 27, Iowa State 17. LOSS. Sharps 6-3 overall

N.C. State at Mississippi State

The N.C. State Wolfpack opened as a road favorite of -2.5 points.

“The public can’t believe the line is so low and are hammering the Wolfpack to cover the short spread. However, we’ve seen this line fall from -2 to -1, which indicates wiseguy action backing Mississippi State at home (+2 to +1).

Result: Mississippi State 24, N.C. State 10. WON OUTRIGHT. Sharps 7-3 overall

#21 Utah at BYU

Ranked Utah opened as a seven-point road favorite.

“The public is always biased toward ranked opponents over unranked opponents and this game is no exception. However, despite lopsided public support favoring Utah, this line hasn’t budged off -7. In fact, it’s even dipped down to 6.5 at times. This signals a sharp line freeze and slight reverse line movement liability on BYU as a home dog getting a key number.”

Result: BYU 26, Utah 17. WON OUTRIGHT. Sharps 8-3 overall

Sharps finished Week 2 at 3-1 on their picks.

WEEK 3, SEPT. 18

Michigan State at #24 Miami (FL)

Miami opened at -6.

“The public thinks this line is way too high and they’re rushing to the window to grab the points with Michigan State. However, despite this lopsided betting we’ve seen Miami move from -6 to -6.5. This signals some sharp “Fade the Trendy Dog” reverse line movement on the home team.”

Result: Michigan State 38, Miami (FL) 17. LOSS. Sharps 8-4 overall

#1 Alabama at #11 Florida

Alabama was a 15-point road favorite.

“The public is heavily in favor of Alabama, which is consistently a public darling every time they take the field. However, this line has dipped slightly from 15 to 14.5, indicating some wiseguy support for Florida at home plus the points. Florida is your top contrarian play of the day, as they’re only getting about one-third of bets in the most heavily bet game of the day.”

Result: Alabama 31, Florida 29. COVERED. Sharps 9-4 overall

USC at Washington State

Favored USC started at -8.5 on the road.

“Some books opened closer to -9 or even -10. The public is hammering USC, expecting a spirited effort from the Trojans after getting (head coach Clay) Helton fired. However, this line has tumbled down to 7.5. This sharp reverse line movement indicates pro money grabbing Washington State plus the points at home.”

Result: USC 45, Washington State 14. LOSS. Sharps 9-5 overall

#22 Auburn at #10 Penn State

Penn State opened -7 at home.

“The public says give me the higher-ranked home favorite and they’re happy to lay the points with the Nittany Lions. However, we’ve seen this line fall from -7 to -5. This indicates some sharp action in favor of Auburn, triggering a two-point steam move in favor of the Tigers.”

Result: Penn State 28, Auburn 20. LOSS. Sharps 9-6 overall

Sharps went 1-3 this week.

WEEK 4, SEPT. 25

#12 Notre Dame at #18 Wisconsin

Wisconsin opened -5.5 at home.

“The public can’t believe this line is so high and they’re rushing to window to grab the points with Notre Dame. However, pros smell a rat and are buying low on Wisconsin, as we’ve seen the Badgers tick up from -5.5 to -6.5 despite being the unpopular play.”

Result: Notre Dame 41, Wisconsin 13. LOSS. Sharps 9-7 overall

LSU at Mississippi State

LSU as a road favorite of -3.5.

“The public is split and doesn’t know who to take. However, we’ve seen this line tumble from 3.5 to 2.5. In a vacuum, a line shouldn’t move at all if the tickets are even. So (a) 1-point move to the home team indicates some wiseguy action on Mississippi State plus the points.”

Result: LSU 28, Mississippi State 25. COVERED. Sharps 10-7 overall

#7 Texas A&M at #16 Arkansas

Texas A&M opened -5 facing Arkansas at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

“The public sees two evenly matched teams and says give me the points with the dog Arkansas. However, despite this lopsided betting, the line hasn’t budged much off Texas A&M -5. This signals a sharp line freeze, with pros backing the contrarian favorite Aggies.”

Result: Arkansas 20, Texas A&M 10. LOSS. Sharps 10-8 overall

Sharps finished 1-2 on this slate, a second straight week under .500.

WEEK 5, OCT. 2

#14 Michigan at Wisconsin

Wisconsin opened -1 at home.

“Right off the bat, this speaks volumes. If Michigan has a better record and higher ranking, why is Wisconsin the favorite? The public is pounding the Wolverines, yet we’ve seen Wisconsin move from -1 to -2. This signals sharp “Fade the Trendy Dog” reverse line movement on the contrarian favorite Badgers. Wisconsin has value as a “fishy” unranked favorite vs a ranked opponent.”

Result: Michigan 38, Wisconsin 17. LOSS. Sharps 10-9 overall

#8 Arkansas at #2 Georgia

Georgia opened at -19 between the hedges.

“Both Pros and Joes think this line is way too high and they’ve jumped on Arkansas getting big points. This lopsided action has dropped Arkansas from 19 to 16.”

Result: Georgia 37, Arkansas 0. LOSS. Sharps 10-10 overall

#7 Cincinnati at #9 Notre Dame

Cincinnati opened laying 1.5 points as a road favorite.

“The public is jumping on Notre Dame as a short home dog, yet we’ve seen Cincinnati move from -1.5 to -2. This signals sharp wiseguy movement in favor of the Bearcats.”

Result: Cincinnati 24, Notre Dame 13. COVERED. Sharps 11-10 overall

#12 Ole Miss at #1 Alabama

Alabama opened at -15.5 at home.

“Both Pros and Joes think Ole Miss can hang tough and they’re grabbing the points with the Rebels, which has dropped Ole Miss from 15.5 to 14.5.”

Result: Alabama 42, Ole Miss 21. LOSS. Sharps 11-11 overall.

Sharps again went under .500 with their picks for a third-straight week, finishing a four-game slate on Oct. 2 at 1-3.

Sharp to Dull

Through five weeks of college football action, games pinned by VSiN’s report on what sharps are betting have gone 11-11. The definition of mediocrity. The only profits were Week “Zero” and Week 2, and the 11-11 mark to this point represents money lost.

Because betting on sports professionally is a long game, the .500 mark for sharps after five weeks puts more emphasis on cashing tickets at a higher clip as the season wears on. There’s currently no profit cushion from the games that VSiN detailed in its weekly sharp report.

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Mario Sanelli writes about sports betting for BeerLife Sports. He previously was the editorial assistant and a general-assignment reporter at The Denver Post for five years after serving as chief editor of The Metropolitan at MSU Denver. Mario was a NFL and college football insider with Mile High Sports for six years.