Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 9:00 AM
We’re now down to the last eight teams in the NCAA Tournament. Saturday’s winners will advance to the Final Four that begins a week from today in Indianapolis. Many believe that today’s winner in Cleveland is destined to cut down the nets a week from Monday night because the Kentucky Wildcats will be clear favorites whenever they take the court against whoever they play.
More evidence of that is on the board today, where Kentucky is a double digit favorite over the team that won the ACC tournament! Let’s see how sharps have been betting Saturday’s doubleheader…a pair of games that many believe include the two teams who will be playing in the title game in Indy.
Kentucky vs. Notre Dame (8:45 p.m. ET, 5:45 p.m. in Las Vegas)
This is the second tip-off of the day, but Cleveland comes first in the official Nevada rotation…so I’m beginning here. Some offshore places put up tester lines of Kentucky -9 or -10 just as the Sweet 16 games were ending Thursday night. The first number up in the board in Vegas was higher, Kentucky -11. Sharps who play offshore were hitting those lower numbers…but we didn’t see the Wise Guys in at -11. You regulars know that it usually means dog or pass when sharps don’t bet the favorite right away in Vegas. Normally you would assume that the public wants the media darling favorite. In this case though, Notre Dame is enough of a public team that they might get support. My personal read is that sharps would fade any move off the 11. In fact, I believe those preferring the dog are waiting to see if they might get +11.5 or better during the day.
The total opened at 137.5, and has been bet down to 136.5 or 136 depending on the store. That’s a fairly big move because it goes against the grain. As we’ve seen through much of the tournament (consistent with betting history in all public sports), totals usually rise off the opener because sharps preferring the Over want to get in before public betting (squares like to root for points), then Under money waits to try to time the apex. Here, Under money came in right away. That suggests quants had it lower than the opener, and there’s a general belief that Kentucky’s defense will dominate the game, leading to a slow finish as they sit on the lead.
Clearest indicator here is on the Under, though Kentucky was bet offshore at numbers below 11.
IN LOS ANGELES
Arizona vs. Wisconsin: (6:05 p.m. ET, 3:05 p.m. in Las Vegas)
This is the first of the two tips. If you live here in Vegas, don’t let that one sneak up on you! Some of you may be surprised that the #2 seed is a neutral court favorite over the #1 seed. Those following the markets know that Arizona has been priced as the second-best team in the country for quite awhile now. They had some huge lines in Pac 12 play, and were priced to dominate the Pac 12 tournament that was played here at the MGM Grand. The market saw Arizona as slightly better than Wisconsin entering this event…and hasn’t its changed its mind.
The opener of Arizona -1 was bet up to -1.5…but I do believe that underdog money would come in on the two. Neither team played as impressively as the market anticipated Thursday. Wisconsin did cover thanks to a late flurry of free throws and a North Carolina meltdown. Arizona’s lethargic result vs. Xavier kept this line from being even higher. We’ll see how the public bets during the day. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a “public” tug-of-war between Arizona -1.5 and Wisconsin +2 not even counting the sharps. The Wise Guys are more likely to have Arizona money already in at -1, while dog money waits for the deuce.
Nothing happening yet of note on the total. An opener of 133.5 is still up at many spots. Some stores are testing lines a half-point higher or lower to see if those get any nibbles. Sharps haven’t tipped their hand, suggesting they’d fade any game-day move created by public action.
You can purchase my personal selections in these two games (plus the best from the NBA) 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 Saturday. Don’t forget to check on rates that include the NBA and Major League Baseball (which starts a week from Sunday night).
Back again early Sunday to look at the Elite 8 games in Syracuse and Houston. Response has been so good for these March Madness articles that I’m adding a Tuesday report for the NIT’s Final Four. So, I’ll see you Sunday and Tuesday before returning next Saturday for the Final Four of the Big Dance. Thanks very much for reading. Best of luck to you this weekend.
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