Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM
We have FOUR games in the NCAA Tournament set for Tuesday and Wednesday Night in Dayton, Ohio. Then, the standard “final 64” will begin in earnest Thursday and Friday at eight sites across the country. Let’s see how professional wagerers have been betting those four play-in games. We’ll have a special report Wednesday to look at the 16 games set for Thursday tip-offs.
NORTH CAROLINA A&T vs. LIBERTY
NC A&T opened as a two-point favorite, and was bet up to -3. These aren’t teams that many people follow. And, in fact, they’re two of the worst teams to play in the Big Dance in recent memory. Liberty is one of the worst teams ever, bringing a losing record from a bad conference. Sharps believed A&T offered some value at -2 and -2.5, but the money stopped at -3. Note that underdog money didn’t come in at that point.
ST. MARY’S vs. MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
St. Mary’s has been getting respect from West Coast syndicates this year, and too much respect when they played Gonzaga! The Gaels opened at -2.5 and were bet up to -3. But the price wasn’t nudged any higher. And we’re hearing from sources that Middle Tennessee money would come in at +3.5. It’s possible that public action would drive the line that high given the number of Californians who bet in Las Vegas. The big move here was on the total….as an opener of 129 was bet up to 132. A place or two has tried 132.5…but Under interest is starting to come in when that happens.
JAMES MADISON vs. LONG ISLAND (Wednesday)
Sharps responded to news of a suspended James Madison player with action on Long Island. Sharps typically bet injury news very quickly on the assumption that every player has a point value. This game had opened at pick-em. Long Island is now -2. A few offshore places that tossed up an early total tried 147. Under interest was strong at that high number. We’re seeing 144 everywhere at press time. Most places opened at 144 after the early-birds got thumped.
LASALLE vs. BOISE STATE (Wednesday)
This game opened at either pick-em or Boise State -1 depending on the store. That’s been bet up to Boise State -1.5 or -2. Some of the interest in Las Vegas comes from local respect for the Mountain West conference. Fans and sharps are expecting good things from the league based on what we’re hearing. Sources do say that underdog money is larger than favorite money on the number two. So we may see a tug-of-war until Wednesday’s late tip-off between those -1.5 and +2. There’s respect for the Mountain West…but an understanding that they were still the worst of the five league teams to get a bid.
Sharps are saving the bulk of their energy for the Thursday and Friday games…the first time all season where PUBLIC money really comes into the picture in meaningful fashion. Sharps fade public moves…which could lead to a few tug-of-war situations during the day and evening sessions. Be sure you monitor line movements on the fly those days…remembering that squares (the public) generally bet favorites…while sharps will fade those moves with underdog money. We’ll talk more about that in our special Wednesday report that outlines Thursday’s 16-game slate.
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