Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Because there was only one seeding upset Friday, we have a slate of real blockbusters Sunday as the “Round of 32” finishes at four sites across the nation. Superpowers are facing legitimate tests. And, we have a few games that would be the equivalent of Sweet 16 matchups if the brackets were based on market Power Ratings.
Hope fully these games live up to the hype. If so, it could be one of the most memorable Sundays in tournament history.
I’ll run the matchups in tip-off order again, so the information best matches real-world betting.
Michigan State vs. Virginia: 12:10 p.m. ET, in Charlotte
Virginia is only a 5-point favorite even though this is a #2 vs. #7 matchup. It’s even more clear now than it was at the time that Michigan State deserved a much better seed. Looks like we have a tug-of-war here with Virginia -4.5 and Michigan State +5. I can tell you that many Wise Guys really like Sparty at +5 because they match up so well with Virginia’s style in a game where points will be at a premium. But, there is clear Cavaliers money in this “revenge” spot when the line goes down to -4.5. Nothing’s happened on the Over/Under yet. I’ll only mention those in games where there’s been a move of at least a point.
San Diego State vs. Duke: 2:40 p.m. ET in Charlotte
Duke opened at -10 and has stood pat thus far. I would expect a tug-of-war to develop here because the public likes to bet Duke, particularly against opponents they haven’t seen on TV. Sharps have respect for SDSU out of the Mountain West, particularly as underdogs against teams who lack toughness. I believe the Wise Guys are biding their time here to see if they can get SDSU at +10.5 or higher. They will settle for +10 if that’s the best it’s going to be…and will be pretty happy at that price with this dog.
Wichita State vs. Kansas: 5:15 p.m. ET in Omaha
Very small line for a #2 vs. #7 game…but Kansas looks like an overrated #2 from a conference that’s performed very poorly thus far…and Wichita State had the computer numbers of a #4 or #5 seed. So, this is a Sweet 16 type game being played in the Round of 32. Opener of Kansas -2 has been bet down to Kansas -1.5 A possible tug-of-war here between those numbers because the public is more inclined to bet the favorite. Many sharps here in town were picking Wichita State to advance out of this section last Sunday night. Big jump in the total…from an opener of 130 to the current line of 133.5. Quants really liked the Over here and jumped on that opener.
Dayton vs. Oklahoma: 6:10 p.m. ET in Columbus
Sentiment against the Big 12 continues as an opener of Oklahoma -5 was bet down to -4 even though this is a #3 seed facing a #11 seed playing for the third time in five days. Dayton is well-coached and plays smart basketball. OU couldn’t cover against Albany. In fact, Kansas was the only Big 12 team to coast past its number in the openers (West Virginia was right at the Buffalo number). Harder to have a tug-of-war here because squares don’t have much of a reason to take any shots on OU.
Iowa vs. Gonzaga: 7:10 p.m. ET in Seattle
Gonzaga opened at -5.5 and was bet up to -6. Sharps who liked Gonzaga decided to bet the opener figuring that was the best they’d see. There’s some public influence there as well for a Western team here in Las Vegas. I’m confident that Iowa money is waiting to come in at the best possible number. That might just be the six…but dog lovers are waiting to see if they can get at least +6.5. A lot of skepticism in a few sharp circles about this Gonzaga team in the Dance. The team was sluggish again vs. North Dakota State Friday night.
Oregon vs. Wisconsin: 7:45 p.m. ET in Omaha
Very high opener here of -12. Sharps aren’t going to lay a number like that with the Badgers, which is why it hasn’t budged off the opener. It’s dog or pass for the Wise Guys. Tough call for sharps who watched the Pac 12 tourney at the MGM Grand last week because Oregon impressed vs. Utah but then got routed by Arizona. If Wisconsin is as good as Arizona, then you can’t assume this one gets interesting. That said, sharps were thinking the opener would come a little lower, and will find a way to invest in the dog.
West Virginia vs. Maryland: 8:40 p.m. ET in Columbus
Most sharps saw this as a toss-up, and weren’t surprised when the game went up at pick-em. We have seen some stores test West Virginia -1…but Maryland money comes in at that time. Possibly a tug-of-war developing. But, this may not be a high priority game for the public given the flow of the day (and departure times at the airport!). Sharps won’t have any square money to fade if square money doesn’t come in.
Northern Iowa vs. Louisville: 9:40 p.m. ET in Seattle
Nobody’s betting Louisville! The opener of pick-em was bet toward Northern Iowa right away. And, there hasn’t been any buy back yet with the current price of Northern -2.5. Maybe it’s about to happen at +2.5, or maybe it will take +3. Sharps who bet against Louisville with Cal-Irvine cashed their tickets…and saw no reason there to like the Cards against a much better opponent. The Wise Guys LOVED Northern Iowa at pick-em, -1, and -1.5. Solid team in great form of late.
Not much to talk about with the totals today because they hadn’t really been up long enough before publication time to generate sharp interest beyond that one obviously blown line. Monitor line movements from this point forward because those will generally be sharp moves. The public isn’t betting many totals. And, sportsbooks attendance goes down on Sunday anyway because tourists start heading back home
You know I love college basketball…so a schedule like this is a true joy to handicap. You can purchase my personal selections for Sunday 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 Michigan State/Virginia game tips off.
My NCAA Tournament market coverage will pick up again early Thursday for the beginning of the Sweet 16. I’ll go daily through next weekend just like we did this week. Thanks very much for reading. Best of luck to you today.
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