Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Back as promised to look at how sharps (professional wagerers) are betting Friday’s games in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Sixteen more matchups to talk about today. I’ll be back with you tomorrow to report on Wise Guy money for all the Thursday’s survivors paired up in Saturday showdowns.
As was the case yesterday, we’ll use the Nevada rotation order for the regions, but then tipoff order at each region so it’s easier for you to follow along throughout the day.
(9) SETON HALL vs. (8) ARKANSAS: 1:30 pm ET on TNT
Not a lot of betting interest here from any direction. These weren’t public teams who were in high profile TV games very often. This isn’t one of the matchups “everyone was talking about” through the week. An opener of Arkansas by 1.5 has dropped down to -1.5. Slight sentiment on the dog, but not enough to drive it to pick-em or flip the favorite. The total is up a point from 145.5 to 146.5.
(16) TEXAS SOUTHERN vs. (1) NORTH CAROLINA: 4 pm ET on TNT
A big move here because both sharps and squares thought the opener of North Carolina -24.5 was way too low for a game being played this close to home. NC is a very talented team…and Texas Southern probably should have been in one of the play-in games given their computer and market Power Ratings. Carolina is all the way up to -27.5 now. Sharps got off the bandwagon a point or so ago. There’s just no betting contingency for this big ugly dog. I would expect some buy-back if we reach 28. Over betters stepped in here too, with an opener of 153 up to 154.5.
(15) TROY vs. (2) DUKE: 7:20 pm ET on TBS
Duke is also playing close to home, and also received public sentiment at the opener of -19. The line is up to -20. This isn’t a game sharps are betting the favorite though. Any who liked Duke already bet them on Futures prices (which came way down in Las Vegas after Duke won the ACC tourney last week). Tough to ask for a blowout immediately on the heels of last week’s four-wins-in-four-days surge. The sharps who like Duke in this event are more likely to get involved later with prices closer to pick-em. Another Over move from the quants, with the opener of 152 up to 154.
(10) MARQUETTE vs. (7) SOUTH CAROLINA: 9:50 pm ET on TBS
Similar to Arkansas/Seton Hall in that we’re very close to pick-em in a game that nobody’s paying attention to. We did see a tick upward from the opener of South Carolina -1 to -1.5. But, that’s not much support considering the game is being played in their home state! Interesting that Greenville features NC and Duke…and then a pair of games matching the Big East vs. the SEC. The only Under money at this site came in on this game…with an opener of 146.5 coming down to 145.
(10) OKLAHOMA STATE vs. (7) MICHIGAN: 12:15 pm ET on CBS
A shocking first round matchup for those of us who keep Power Ratings. Most in the markets had been pricing these teams as #4 or #5 seeds late in the season. Remember that Michigan was a 4-point favorite on a neutral court over eventual #5 seed Minnesota last weekend! Oklahoma State was a neutral court favorite over eventual #5 seed Iowa State. How is this a 7-10 game and why do these teams have to play each other so early?! The opener of Michigan -1.5 has been bet up to -2.5. That’s from both sharp and square sentiment keyed by recent form. I would expect Okie State money to come in pretty hard from sharp dog lovers of +3 is broached. Under is the choice from the quants, with an opener of 155.5 bet down to 153.5 or 154.
(15) JACKSONVILLE STATE vs. (2) LOUISVILLE: 2:45 pm ET on CBS
A lot of projected blowouts today with so many #1 and #2 seeds on the schedule. These are typically lightly bet games unless a blowout feeding frenzy ignites. Slight interest on the favorite here, with Louisville opening at -19.5 before rising to -20. Strong interest on the Over from the numbers guys, with the opener of 131.5 rising to 134.
(10) WICHITA STATE vs. (7) DAYTON: 7:10 pm ET on CBS
This matchup was widely talked about in circles where the mainstream media meets sports betting. Wichita State opened as a whopping -6.5-point favorite despite being the inferior seed. Last year the Shockers were seeded a ridiculous #11, before being favored over #6 and #3 in the Dance. I had Dayton as a potential sleeper a few weeks ago. Can’t believe the Flyers got stuck with such a horrible draw. Few could bet Wichita at the high opener. It’s come down to Dayton +6 thanks to some respected but not high volume dog money. Big move on the Under, with the total falling from 148 all the way down to 145.5. The quants have been very active in first round totals.
(15) NORTHERN KENTUCKY vs. (2) KENTUCKY: 9:40 pm ET on CBS
Some media attention to this one because it’s a battle of same-state teams and the big dog has a cool nickname (Norse!). But, not much betting interest. A rare total that hasn’t moved. Kentucky opened at -19.5 before rising to -20. Some squares bet whenever they see the name “Kentucky.” Low interest game from sharps.
(14) NEW MEXICO STATE vs. (3) BAYLOR: 12:40 pm ET on truTV
Pundits have learned a lesson recently about picking this Baylor team to go deep. They couldn’t get past Yale last year. There’s limited interest in this game because nobody trusts Baylor while nobody respects New Mexico State. Baylor -12 is up a tick to -12.5 because the underdog Aggies weren’t on anyone’s Cinderella list. Quants have passed this total.
(11) USC vs. (6) SMU: 3:30 pm ET on truTV
This game was late to the market, with USC only qualifying late Wednesday night. First number up was SMU -6…which is what most sharps were expecting. No time yet, as I write this, for anything important to have happened on the total.
(16) CAL DAVIS vs. (1) KANSAS: 6:50 pm ET on TNT
Similar situation here, with Cal-Davis advancing Wednesday from a play-in game. Kansas went up at -22.5, and drew interest from the square mindset that doesn’t mind laying big points with Villanova, North Carolina or Kansas right out of the gate. Currently seeing Kansas -23.5, possibly on the way to -24. No time for anything to happen with the total yet.
(9) MICHIGAN STATE vs. (8) MIAMI: 9:20 pm ET on TNT
This one is interesting because a lot of sharps and squares love betting on Tom Izzo in this tournament. But, last year’s team laid a huge egg in the first round (a #2 getting knocked out by a #15), and this year’s team has performed well below expectations. Despite Izzo’s Dance history, the opener of Miami -1 has been bet up to -2. Two point move on the Over, from 123.5 to 125.5.
(14) IONA vs. (2) OREGON: 2 pm ET on TBS
Oregon would have been a very popular Nevada betting choice if they hadn’t suffered an injury to a key player in the Pac 12 tournament. Now their backers are in “wait and see” mode off the loss to Arizona. An opener of Oregon -14.5 is either still there or up a tick to -15 depending on the store. Dog lovers don’t want to ask Iona to travel cross-country and play great. Quants pushed the total up two points from 150.5 to 152.5.
(11) RHODE ISLAND vs. (6) CREIGHTON: 4:30 pm ET on TBS
A lot of sharp love for Rhode Island off their great showing last week in the Atlantic 10 tournament. An opener of Creighton -2 is down to pick-em. The public hasn’t seen much of either team on TV this year (except for Big East lovers with Creighton). So, you can deduce this is a sharp move. Nothing happening on the total.
(11) KANSAS STATE vs. (6) CINCINNATI: 7:25 pm ET on truTV
The opener of Cincinnati by 3.5 has stood pat since going up after Tuesday’s play-in game for Kansas State. I know a few sharps who were looking to ride both in this tournament, and are mad the teams drew each other. Could be a great game, with the winner poised to give UCLA quite a challenge Sunday. The numbers guys bet the total from an opener of 129 up to 130.5.
(14) KENT STATE vs. (3) UCLA: 9:55 pm ET on truTV
UCLA has been bet up from -17 to -18. Enthusiasm has dimmed in Nevada for the Bruins after their disappointing showing in the Pac 12 tournament last week. But, they do run-and-gun, which makes it easier to cover high spreads vs. outmatched opponents. The total is up three points from 159 to 162 because it’s expected that UCLA will force its tempo on proceedings.
By the time you’re reading this, you will already have enjoyed some Thursday action. No time to rest! I’ll be back again tomorrow to study the market dynamics for Saturday’s matchups. Don’t forget that you can purchase my BEST BETS each day in basketball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155.
Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.