Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 5:00 PM
After a very busy Thursday in Las Vegas, with long lines all over the city featuring bettors looking to wager anywhere from $5 to $5,000 (or more!) on their preferred picks…Day Two of the 2016 NCAA Tournament will bring even more opportunity for fun and profit.
Just like yesterday, my sharps report will go in rotation order for the four sites…but in starting time order at each location. Though the day technically begins in St. Louis on the clock…the Nevada rotation starts out East in the Big Apple. So, let’s head to Brooklyn…
GAMES IN BROOKLYN
VILLANOVA vs. NC-ASHEVILLE: 12:40 pm ET on TruTV
Villanova opened at -16, and has been bet all the way up to -17.5. Given how many games didn’t move far off their openers yesterday, that seems like a big move! A combination of sharp and square affection for the Big East regular season champions. Obviously the Wildcats will have a larger rooting contingent at this location, which isn’t far from Philadelphia. Nothing happening yet on the total, which is still at 141.5.
IOWA vs. TEMPLE: 3:10 pm ET on TruTV
Iowa opened at -7 and has stood pat. Temple should also travel well to New York. This is a spot where old-school dog lovers would likely be very fond of the Owls (shorter trip, vulnerable favorite from the middle of a major conference)…which is why square money hasn’t pushed the line any higher. We may just stay frozen on the seven until tip-off, with sportsbooks and sharps rooting for the dog, while the public is on the Big 10 entry. Quants have pushed the opening total of 138.5 up to 139.5 and 140.
GAMES IN OKLAHOMA CITY
OREGON STATE vs. VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH: 1:30 pm ET on TNT
Kind of an ugly matchup that may not be bet very heavily. Out here in the West, we know that Oregon State isn’t very good…and didn’t deserve a #7 seed. Respected computer ratings and market prices suggest they should have been in the NIT! How often do you see a #7 seed getting FOUR points from a #10 seed in this event?! VCU does have some name recognition in this tournament…but that came from the time Shaka Smart was their head coach. He’s at Texas now. Maybe a light tug-of-war for value between VCU -4 and Oregon State +4.5. I should add that Colorado’s poor scoreboard result vs. Connecticut early Thursday makes it even harder to bet a mid-conference Pac 12 school. The most respected computer influences just hated the Pac 12 this year compared to the media (and the selection committee). The opening total of 141 is still sitting at that number.
OKLAHOMA vs. CAL-BAKERSFIELD: 4 pm ET on TNT
Oklahoma was a popular choice for squares since the Sooners got to stay in their home state. An opener of -13.5 has been bet up to -14.5. I am hearing that some sharp money wants Bakersfield at the apex. The Wise Guys are waiting to see of +15 might come into play. Best guess, though is that +14.5 is the highest they’re going to see. Nothing happening on the opening total of 140. Quants were much more active with Over/Unders in the late Thursday session than they’ve been so far in the early Friday games.
GAMES IN ST. LOUIS
DAYTON vs. SYRACUSE: 12:15 pm ET on CBS
The reputation of these schools is better than their 2016 quality. You probably know that Syracuse was almost an NIT team. The market isn’t pricing Dayton as much better than that. This one opened at pick-em and moved to Dayton -1. There would be more of a chance for “New York money” to hit the board if this weren’t such an early tip (first of the day, even though it’s the fifth game we’ve talked about). Of course, Ohio is a gambling hotbed too. I’d expect this one to stay at the one until tipoff. If the public bets Syracuse on tourney name recognition, sharps would fade any move down right back to the one.
MICHIGAN STATE vs. MIDDLE TENNESSEE: 2:45 pm ET on CBS
Michigan State is up a half point from an opener of -17.5 to -18. That’s less than what we saw with Villanova and Oklahoma in similar situations (favored national powers who should draw well where they’re playing.). So, there may be some old school sharp pull on Middle Tennessee that isn’t happening yet with NC Asheville and Cal-Bakersfield. Biggest move of the day so far was on the total here. An opener of 139 has shot all the way up to 143. With so few Over/Under developments in the session, that seems huge.
GAMES IN SPOKANE
CALIFORNIA vs. HAWAII: 2 pm ET on TBS
A lot of buzz here in Vegas when this matchup was announced. There’s respect for Hawaii as a dangerous dog this year…but California was playing some of the best basketball in the Pac 12 down the stretch. An opening line of Cal by 6.5 has dropped to five or 4.5 because of an injury to a Bears player. Sharps who liked Hawaii had to act quickly on that news. Square action may not touch this game because Cal wasn’t on TV as much as other Pac 12 powers this season. The total hasn’t oved off the opener of 141.5.
MARYLAND vs. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: 4:30 pm ET on TBS
TV networks played up the upset potential of South Dakota State when the brackets were announced. But the line has moved up from an opener of -8.5 to -9.5. Some stores are testing the 10. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a tug-of-war between the square public at Maryland -9.5 and sharps at SDSU +10. Old school guys in particular will find double digits appealing. (This is similar to what happened in Duke/NC Wilmington in the early Thursday session…which the dog ultimately covered.) The total is down a point from 144 to 143. Quiet day on the totals…and it’s not like quants usually wait until just before tip-off to act.
That wraps up Friday’s early eight. Don’t forget that you can purchase my NCAA tournament selections right here at the website with your credit card. College basketball has always been my favorite sport to bet and handicap, as you longtime readers know. If you have any questions about service through the college postseason (or the NBA Playoffs), call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Try to take care of business early because things get hectic during Dance time.
I’ll be back with you early Friday morning to review sharp betting in the evening session. Then, if the markets are active early for the Round of 32, I’ll have a Friday evening report for Saturday’s games…and a Saturday evening report for Sunday’s games. If sharps are biding their time on the openers, I might have to push those back to game morning reports. I’ll let the market make that call for us because I want to get you meaningful information.
Thanks for reading. I hope your lines weren’t too long if you were out here in Nevada at a sportsbook. Still, is there a better place in the world to stand around in than Las Vegas?! High rollers standing next to people wanting to bed $5 or $10 parlays. Winning is a thrill no matter the size of your bankroll. It’s often more of a thrill for these smaller bettors!
Back with you early Friday morning to look at the late Friday session. Best of luck to you. I know, whenever you’re reading this, another game is about to begin!