Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, March 20, 2015 at 4:00 PM
We have eight games to look at on Saturday. The TV networks have jumbled up the schedule…so I’m going to write up everything for you in tip-off order rather than how the games are listed in the official Nevada Rotation. I want this to match the real-world betting experience for you as much as possible. So, we’ll start with the earliest tips of the day then work our way through the full card.
The day starts in Louisville with both games running uncontested on TV before thing really get busy in prime time.
UCLA vs. UAB: 12:10 p.m. ET, in Louisville
An opener of UCLA -8 has been bet down to -6. There’s still a lot of skepticism about the Bruins out here in Vegas. They were a bubble team to begin with…and then they needed a lucky goaltending call to survive a blown game vs. SMU. Sharps hit the underdog hard at the opener, and kept right on hitting them. The UCLA “locals” aren’t likely to get involved until later Friday or very early Saturday. Note that this is a 9:10 a.m. tipoff here in Vegas! Nothing happening yet on the Over/Under. I’ll only mention those when there’s a move of a point or more.
Cincinnati vs. Kentucky: 2:40 p.m. ET in Louisville
Kentucky opened at a very high -17. I say high because they weren’t priced like that against Florida and Arkansas last week in the SEC tournament. Shows you how little oddsmakers thought of Cincinnati. Sharps did take the dog at the high opener, but only enough to bring the number down to +16.5. Sportsbooks are doing what they can to charge a premium on anyone who wants to back Kentucky.
Ohio State vs. Arizona: 5:15 p.m. ET in Portland
Arizona opened at -9 and has stood pat. Oddsmakers have been giving a lot of respect to the Wildcats, who have been getting the money anyway. As we’ve discussed in the past, a “frozen” line either means it’s a pass for the Wise Guys, or they want the underdog and are hoping for a better line. If the public pushes this game up to ten, sharps would definitely come in on Ohio State. That might even happen at +9.5. Backers of both programs are pretty well represented here in town. That might be a highly bet game that just sticks on the nine.
Georgia State vs. Xavier: 6:10 p.m. ET in Jacksonville
Xavier opened at -7, but the game has been bet down to -6.5. Georgia State was respected entering the Dance…as the #14 seed with the best computer ratings. They were really more of a #13 seed that may have been dropped a spot so they could play close to home. Sharps know that Xavier exploited a tired Ole Miss program in their opener, and won’t have that same perk here. Also, Xavier isn’t the type of “public” favorite that would cause sharps to wait for a better line. Those who wanted Georgia State took the seven. The total has dropped from 134 to 133 because the quants expect another grinder that was so common on Thursday.
NC State vs. Villanova: 7:10 p.m. ET in Pittsburgh
Villanova opened at -10, as another group of Wildcats is getting market respect (along with Kentucky and Arizona). Sharps took the dog at that high price, bringing the number down to -9.5. This line might have been -7 or so a week ago. NC State was obliterated by Duke in the ACC tournament, then lucky to survive LSU. Villanova has been on a rampage. The Wise Guys have cooled quite a bit on NC State of late, though took the +10 for value.
Utah vs. Georgetown: 7:45 p.m. ET in Portland
Utah opened at -4. Most stores are still there though some are testing -4.5. Sharps aren’t very high on either of these teams in terms of neutral court tournament basketball. They saw Utah up close in the Pac 12 tournament last week at the MGM Grand. Georgetown has a recent history of underachieving in the Dance. The Wise Guys would fade any public move off the four. Those preferring Utah came in at this number figuring it wouldn’t go down.
Arkansas vs. North Carolina: 8:40 p.m. ET in Jacksonville
Not much happening here at the openers of North Carolina -4.5 and 157.5. A lot of sharps spent Thursday Night planning on betting this Over. Oddsmakers anticipated that with a very high total…particularly for the scores that have been going on the board so far. Very few track meets on the first day. Both of these teams will be happy they’re facing faster opponents. Sharps would probably fade any public move off the 4.5 in either direction.
Butler vs. Notre Dame: 9:40 p.m. ET in Pittsburgh
These guys sure have a long wait. Notre Dame played in the earliest Thursday game, but now in the latest Saturday tip. The Irish opened at -5. It’s basically been a small tug-of-war since then with Butler money coming in at +5, but Notre Dame getting it at -4.5. The public prefers Notre Dame because they watched the Irish win the ACC tournament last week. The total is down a point from an opener of 134.5 to 133.5.
Will Saturday be as crazy as Thursday was for these teams? Some very entertaining possibilities with the survivors. I know I’m looking forward to that more manageable eight-game schedule. You can purchase my personal selections for Saturday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 before that UCLA/UAB game tips off.
Back again tomorrow to look at Sunday’s eight “Round of 32” games. Then NCAA Tournament coverage will pick up again early Thursday for the Sweet 16. Thanks for reading. Best of luck to you this weekend!
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