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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 7:00 AM

A lot of excitement Saturday Night in Las Vegas as fans in sportsbooks all over the city watched undefeated Kentucky barely held on to beat Notre Dame. The pointspread result was never in doubt because the Wildcats never got close to the 11-point projection. But, there was A LOT of money sweating the straight up result.

*Many bettors have Kentucky to win the National Championship…at various odds depending on when they bet during the season. Those tickets just missed getting torn up before Final Four weekend.

*Many bettors have Kentucky going undefeated, a proposition that’s also been available at various prices during the season. Seconds away from the loss that would have spiked the proposition.

*Of course, many bettors bet on Kentucky NOT to run the table, particularly earlier in the season when it seemed likely that somebody, somewhere would take them down at some point. Those bettors almost won…but still have some hope.

*And, finally, anyone who took shots on teams like Wisconsin, Duke, Gonzaga, Michigan State, or even Notre Dame to win the title were hoping the Irish could finish the job. Nice payoffs await any non-Kentucky backer.

A big sigh of relief for Kentucky money. Still some hope for others because this game was a reminder that any quality team has a shot to hang with the Wildcats for 40 minutes and create a coin flip ending. The easy draw of Hampton-Cincinnati-West Virginia is over…and only strong opponents are left on the pathway. Next opponent Wisconsin is similar to Notre Dame in style, but has some big bodies that might be able to defend better in the paint. More on that game next week. The first number I saw late Saturday night in that one was Kentucky -6.5 over Wisconsin at Wynn Las Vegas. Others spots followed at Kentucky -6.

Two games in the Elite 8 still to go. Let’s see how sharps have been betting those…



Michigan State vs. Louisville (2:20 p.m. ET, 11:20 p.m. in Las Vegas)

Not much happening early in the betting process. Michigan State opened at -2 and was bet up to -2.5. Louisville money does come in with the hook. That probably sets up a tug-of-war between Sparty -2 and Louisville +2.5. This is such an early start compared to the rest of the second week that we’re not likely to see a lot of square money. Fans of both teams will get involved. Most squares are likely to sleep late and bet Duke/Gonzaga! In terms of the Wise Guys, this game opened where it was supposed to.

The Over/Under went up at 128.5. Most stores are now showing 128 because it’s assumed this will be a low scoring slugfest. Unless the referees get whistle happy, this is likely to be classic, ugly old school basketball. Quants made it 128 from what I’ve heard. Sharps would fade any public move if enough squares get up in time to bet the Over.



Duke vs. Gonzaga: (5:05 p.m. ET, 2:05 p.m. in Las Vegas)

No early interest on the team side. Duke opened at -2.5 and the line has stood pat. The public had no real reason to bet this one early because they were focused on Saturday’s games yesterday. The fact that the Wise Guys didn’t push this line higher is telling. No Duke money at -2.5…and no position-takers in anticipation of public interest on the popular TV team. This suggests to me that sharps would come in fairly aggressively on Gonzaga at +3.

Big move on the Under because of the scoring issues Friday night at this site. An opener of 147.5 was bet down to 145 or 144.5. You probably know that the shooting backdrop is odd in this dome. There have been other poor shooting games here the other times Houston got to host. Though, it’s not all Unders if you remember back to 2008. At any other site…that 147.5 probably gets bet up at least half a point because these are up-tempo teams with great offenses and sometimes inconsistent defenses. Sharps loved the Under all the way down to 145.5. If the public bets the Over, more sharp money will come in at 145.5 or higher.

Hope we have two more great games!

You can purchase my personal selections Sunday’s action (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 before Michigan State/Louisville tips off. Remember…that’s an EARLY start compared to Saturday’s schedule.

Back again Tuesday to look at sharp betting in the NIT’s Final Four. That will be Miami vs. Temple in the opener, followed by Stanford vs. Old Dominion in the nightcap. I’ve added that report because of the great response to these Big Dance articles. Thanks for reading! See you again Tuesday. Best of luck today.


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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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