Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, April 1, 2016 at 2:00 PM
It’s been a great tournament so far, with the right mix of surprises and quality teams advancing round-by-round. Only one #1 seed is still alive as we approach the Final Four of the 2016 Big Dance in Houston. But, another team “should” have been a #1…and both of Saturday’s underdogs are fully capable of scoring upsets and advancing to Monday night’s final.
Let’s see how sharps have been betting the semifinals through the week. I’ll discuss the games in tip-off order. Don’t forget that the games are being televised by TBS! Don’t be the guy who misses the first few minutes of the opener because you instinctively put your TV on CBS. Those “shining moments” are now on cable!
VILLANOVA vs. OKLAHOMA: 6:05 pm ET on TBS
Villanova is now the #1 team overall in some respected computer rankings, even though North Carolina is the only #1 seed left in the field. Villanova certainly proved themselves last weekend with that impressive victory over red hot Kansas (who had covered 14 of 17 coming in). The opener here was only Villanova -1 (kept low because the media talked so much about how Oklahoma won the regular season meeting between the two back in December). Sharps jumped in hard on ‘Nova at that price…which has lifted the game to Villanova -2.
Action has largely balanced at the two, which could prevent any game-day tugs-of-war from developing. Sharps definitely loved Villanova at -1 or -1.5….but some smart dog money did come on OU at the two. The public seems fairly split as well…because both teams have looked so good in their recent TV games. I’ll put it this way….sharp syndicates would fade any move off the two caused by public action. Villanova money is very happy at -1.5…and a slew of new sharp money would definitely come in on OU if +2.5 were ever available.
Huge move on the total, as an opener of 149.5 was bet all the way down to 145. I’m also seeing some 144.5’s out there. Quants obviously made this game in the mid 140’s. It’s hard to know what oddsmakers were thinking with the opener. Villanova has slowed down its pace dramatically this year…and only played to 123 against Kansas. Oklahoma played to 148 with Oregon and 150 with Texas A&M….but had to shoot lights out from three-point land (23 of 49) to get that high. Really bad miss from oddsmakers. Particularly in a “dome” game that could mess up long range shooting because of the unique backdrop.
NORTH CAROLINA vs. SYRACUSE: 8:45 pm ET on ESPN
North Carolina opened at -9…and rose initially as “public” favorites often do. Any sharps who wanted NC jumped in immediately to beat the squares. Also, there may have been some “position-taking” from sharps who figured they take a bit of NC -9 only to come back harder on Syracuse if +10 ever came into play. (That strategy can increase your profit while limiting risk for the percentage of games that land exactly on the 9 or the 10). That ten was in play for a bit in some spots…but we’re mostly seeing North Carolina -9.5 out there right now. And, the Wise Guy money is still on the dog at +9.5. This sets up potential for a tug-of-war on game day either between NC -9 (public) and Syracuse +9.5 (sharps), or possibly higher at -9.5 and +10 if the public comes in very aggressively on the favorite in the late tip. Meaning…squares who win game one may re-invest that money in Carolina in the nightcap.
We’ve also had a drop on the Over/Under here, though it’s not as big. An opener of 147.5 is down to 145. The same “dome” issues are in play obviously. And, we have an underdog that will try to slow the game way down. Syracuse played to 130 and 123 last weekend vs. Virginia and Gonzaga. Carolina’s a lot faster than those guys…but only played to 145 when they hosted Syracuse late in the regular season.
In both games, we have totals that have settled around 145…with the potential for tugs-of-war around those numbers if the public decides to bet the Overs (which can happen in high profile TV games as squares love rooting for points rather than rooting for defense).
How will I be betting the games? You’ll have to sign up go find out? My daily selections can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during regular business hours Friday or by midday Saturday to take care of business.
I’ll have one more report for you this spring…as I cover the National Finals Monday around lunchtime right here at this website. I hope the Final Four in the NCAA’s goes as well for me as the Final Four in the NIT did. My customers and I had George Washington in both the semifinals and finals…covering by 22 and 18.5 in outright victories (I passed Valpo/BYU). College Basketball is my favorite sport to watch, handicap, and bet. It’s sad to see the season coming to an end…but I am looking forward to this big weekend. Thanks for reading! Best of luck to you. See you Monday afternoon.