The last wise guy I spoke to before the Boise State-Virginia Tech game last night -- just a couple of hours prior to kickoff -- was Sal from madduxsports.com. You may remember him from the college basketball season, when he won my NCAA tournament wise guy bracket.
He and I were discussing how Boise-Tech had moved four points in less than 48 hours, from Boise being favored by two to the Hokies being the two-point faves. All day long I had been quizzing handicappers, bookmakers and Vegas insiders, asking them why the move had happened, especially since it appeared the public sentiment was on the Broncos. Everyone came back with the same answer: The sharps are betting the Hokies and moving the line.
Hmmm, I thought. I asked Sal for his take on this, too. He said, "I don't really get it, to be honest. I feel like people have forgotten how good this Boise State team is. I think they will put a hurt on Virginia Tech and I would take Boise plus the points."
He looked brilliant when the game began -- Boise did put a hurting on the Hokies. Then he seemed like less than a genius as the night wore on. But he ended up being on the right side, thanks to Kellen Moore's deft touch. The Broncos covered every way possible -- as two-point favorites, as one-point favorites and as dogs. The next time we'll see this much interest in a point spread involving them will be in January, when they play their BCS bowl game.
Sal had lots of sound reasons for liking Boise. But he's a wise guy -- he can find reasons for liking lots of things. Especially because Sal is one of the bettors who has the fancy, stat-driven databases I've written about in the past. Which is why -- drum roll please -- he's helping me with this week's System of the Week!