Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 1:00 PM
I pushed back the time of this Monday article a bit hoping that we’d see more indicators of sharp action. The numbers have been pretty stable, which suggests that sharps aren’t going to be very active, and/or they’re biding their time to see if public action creates any line value that doesn’t exist at the moment.
Here’s a look at the last game of a very entertaining tournament and the college basketball season.
Duke vs. Wisconsin (9:20 p.m. ET, 6:20 p.m. in Las Vegas)
The game opened at pick-em, and was bet up to Wisconsin -1. Normally an early move like that would automatically be considered sharp. But, in this case, it’s very possible that sharps aren’t all that interested in the Badgers (at least, not yet!)
*There was a ton of public interest on Wisconsin Saturday vs. Kentucky
*All of those bettors won!
*All of those bettors were positioned to re-invest on Wisconsin at the opener
*They did, and continue to do so
I mentioned the other day, and in the past, that Wisconsin is a gambling hotbed…and that money from that area has a way of finding its way into the market pricing. This factor is definitely in play again here. People “rooting” for Wisconsin are going to root with their money. People “riding” Wisconsin lately are going to keep riding them.
Now, Duke is a public team…and isn’t exactly getting ignored here. But, in big games there can be a pretty big “rooting against Duke” contingent that helps offset the usual Duke money. That’s also in play on Wisconsin’s part of the equation.
How do we know what sharps are betting if it’s not clear from market dynamics? You have to ask around. This summarizes my take.
*Sharps generally think it’s close to a toss-up. Both teams were highly regarded in pre-tournament Power Ratings. Nothing’s happened in recent days to change any of that. Both teams are getting such good results that they’d be moving in lockstep up the ladder if there was a change in perceptions.
*Sharps preferring Wisconsin played early in advance of public action. I can’t say that there are groups that “love” Wisconsin in this tough schedule spot just two days after a huge win. If a group made it Wisconsin by 1 or 2, they bet pick-em for value.
*Sharps preferring Duke are waiting to see if the line goes up above the one. If the game is destined to be a nailbiter, every half point helps. This Duke side of the line would include the more “classic” handicapping approaches that would penalize Wisconsin for being in the letdown spot. Not many “metrics” would make Duke the favorite here, particularly after the Badgers get the numerical boost from beating Kentucky. Approaches that penalize for a letdown, or heavily weight head-to-head matchups (Duke won at Wisconsin on December 4 as a 4-point underdog) would encourage some to take the Blue Devils.
So, that’s where we stand on the team side. Sharp Duke money, to the degree it’s out there, is probably waiting for at least +1.5. Sharp Wisconsin money got in at pick-em. Many Wise Guys may just leave the team side alone.
The Over/Under opened at 141. It’s been bet down to 140. Both of Saturday’s games went Over the total because the market may have adjusted too much for the possible dome influence. Duke’s game with Michigan State was helped Over by a lot of free throws for the winners. Under bettors are hoping the refs are less whistle-prone when the championship is on the line.
Sharps like Under 141, but interest largely dries up at 140. Stores testing 139.5 see Over money come in. The public is more likely to bet the Over than the Under because they like rooting for points. If a tug-of-war develops, it will probably be between squares (the public) at Over 140 and sharps at Under 141.
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Thanks for reading all of my Big Dance updates. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to provide NBA Playoff coverage. I’ll try to pick some spots at the beginning of each round, and then when the sites switch within a round to help you understand how sharps are betting each series. Enjoy tonight’s championship! See you later this month.
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