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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, March 25, 2016 at 11:30 AM

All four favorites won and covered their spreads Thursday on night one of the Sweet 16. That’s generally bad news for sportsbooks (and many sharps), but good news for the general public. None of the four games were even close in the final minutes. The #1 and #2 seeds advance in both Louisville and Anaheim to set up some great Saturday action in the Elite Eight.

First, Friday brings the second half of the Sweet 16. Let’s see how sharps have been betting tonight’s action. As always, we go in tip-off order using the Nevada Rotation order of sites…

 

GAMES IN PHILADELPHIA

 

NOTRE DAME vs. WISCONSIN: 7:25 pm ET on TBS

Neither of these teams has been particularly respected by the markets in recent weeks. Remember Notre Dame was near pick-em with Stephen F. Austin last Sunday before closing at -1.5 at the very end (in a game they would only win by one thanks to a tip-in). Wisconsin was priced like a bubble team, but rallied to shock #2 seed Xavier. Now…LAST YEAR…this would have been a big game! You’ll recall that Notre Dame almost upset powerful Kentucky the game before Wisconsin did shock the Wildcats This year, it’s basically a #8 vs. #9 seed matchup according to market prices. The game opened at pick-em. Sharps have bet Notre Dame up to -1 or -1.5. (So, the market sees Wisconsin as equal to Stephen F. Austin). Quants have pushed the opening total of 129.5 up to 131.5. Some stores are testing 132. (ND and SFA played to 151 on Sunday).

 

NORTH CAROLINA vs. INDIANA: 9:55 pm ET on TBS

North Carolina opened at -4.5. Not surprising given the general public sentiment for #1 seeds that we’re now seeing -5 or -5.5 in the marketplace. Nothing from Thursday night suggested that squares should stop backing the best teams as seemingly affordable favorites! Sharps may be less open to taking Big 10 teams as underdogs given how poorly the league has fared overall this month. Both Wisconsin and Indiana saw openers move against them without much resistance. I would expect the Wise Guys to come in on Indiana +6 if that’s ever available. Plus 5.5 is more likely the best dog lovers will see. A very high opening total of 160 has fallen to 158.5. Both the Tar Heels and Hoosiers stayed Under last Saturday, playing to 151 and 140 vs. Providence and Kentucky respectively.

 

GAMES IN CHICAGO

 

VIRGINIA vs. IOWA STATE: 7:10 pm ET on CBS

Strong support for Virginia, as an opener of -5 was bet up to -6 and even -6.5 in some spots as I write this. That’s the kind of surge you’d expect more for a team like North Carolina or Kansas. Virginia is a #1 seed, and has a style of play that could exploit Iowa State’s defensive softness. Clearly sharps who focus on “matchup” dynamics haven’t seen a number yet that has encouraged them to take the dog. Nothing happening yet on the total of 141. Given how many moves of more than a point we’ve seen on Over/Unders in this round…that’s pretty glaring. Quants agree with oddsmakers that 141 is the right number, pending any late news on injuries.

 

GONZAGA vs. SYRACUSE: 9:40 pm ET on CBS

Looks like a tug-of-war developing here between Gonzaga -4.5 and Syracuse +5. Western syndicates have been doing very well with Gonzaga in the postseason. No reason for them to stop riding that horse now. But, Syracuse is always a dangerous underdog in the Dance because of their tricky zone defense. Sharps who like “defensive dogs” think +5 might be a steal. This could be a heavily bet game because bettors on either side could be very enthusiastic about their choice. Plus, “New York money” has a way of finding its way to Nevada for big events involving teams in that state. For now, it looks like a tug-of-war. The opening Over/Under of 134 is up a point from 135.

Some potential for great basketball tonight. Hopefully the games will be more entertaining than last night! You can always purchase my NCAA tournament selections right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 today during normal business hours.

Back early Saturday to talk about Kansas/Villanova and Oregon/Oklahoma in the Elite Eight. Then, I’ll have a Sunday morning report to talk about the games involving tonight’s winners. I’m also planning a Tuesday report to cover the full Final Four outlook for the NIT that will conclude at Madison Square Garden. College basketball is my favorite sport to bet, watch, and write about! Thanks for reading. Best of luck to you Friday Night. See you Saturday morning.

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