Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Four games on the NCAA Tournament schedule Tuesday and Wednesday. Let’s see how sharps (professional wagerers) have been betting the games matching #16 seeds, and #11 seeds for the right to join the main field. Remember that all four games are being played in Dayton, so no home court advantage (or even home area advantage) for any of the teams involved. St. Bonaventure does have some experience on the floor because it plays Dayton in the Atlantic 10.
Radford vs. LIU-Brooklyn: You probably haven’t paid much attention to these two teams through the season. Radford is the bettor tea,. An opener of Radford -4 (high for two teams on the same seed line) was bet up to -4.5 by the Wide Guys. Though, stores testing the five are seeing underdog money come in. Pretty safe to say that those are the bookends. Four is too low but dog lovers will take five. The Over/Under opened at 136, and was bet up aggressively by quants all the way to 139.5 and 140. We’ve settled at 140 in many spots, but no sign yet of a buy back. Both teams have shaky defenses, with LIU-Brooklyn having one of the worst defenses in the tournament. Early sentiment for Radford and Over was exploiting that weakness. Though, we’ve seen in past years that it can be dicey asking this caliber of team to produce on command as a favorite. The winner gets Villanova.
UCLA vs. St. Bonaventure: An opener of UCLA -2.5 has been bet up to -3.5. I don’t expect four to come into play because dog lovers would jump in hard. It’s possible that St. Bonny money has been biding its time hoping for that higher number. UCLA does have a strong betting following in Las Vegas, and did take Arizona to overtime here last week at the T-Mobile Arena. To me, that’s why we saw the rise from -2.5 to -3.5. Sharp favorite money and public money hit early. Sharp dog money is waiting, and may have to settle for +3.5 this afternoon. Old school sharps like betting on quality guards, and St. Bonny has a good backcourt. A little bit of Under interest on the total, as an opener of 155.5 has come down to 154.5. Should be an entertaining game to watch given such a high Over/Under. The winner advances to face Florida, who can definitely be taken out as a #6 seed. If the UCLA/St. Bonaventure winner plays well, sharps will be looking to ride that winner as a dog in a couple of days. Some believe that this “head start” actually helps get a team ready against a nervous late-week favorite.
Texas Southern vs. North Carolina Central: NCC is the worst team in the tournament, ranking around the #300 mark of more than 350 Division I teams. That’s why they opened as an underdog of +3.5 points here. Sharps hit this favorite also. We’re now seeing as high as Texas Southern -5 in a few spots. Though, dog money does start to come in at that price. Another tricky game to handicap because you either have to bet an ugly underdog, or a favorite who may not thrive under pressure. The opening Over/Under of 148 has been bet down to 146.5. The winner gets Xavier, who has the lowest Power Rating of any #1 seed in my ratings and the most followed computers. Could the “head start” here make that game interesting?
Arizona State vs. Syracuse: Tough to like either team here given how shaky each looked down the stretch. Arizona State clearly isn’t a Dance-caliber team right now. They couldn’t even finish in the top half of the disappointing Pac 12! Great wins in November and December held up to get this resume into the brackets. Syracuse is the underdog anyway, so that tells you what the market thinks of the Orange. An opener of Arizona State -1 has been bet up to -1.5. Stores testing two have seen underdog money come in. There is respect for the Syracuse zone defense against offenses that haven’t seen it. That line of thinking is happy to take +2 in what might be a coin flip. The Over/Under is up from 142.5 to 143.5. This one’s tricky, because Arizona State has a poor defense by Dance standards, and even worse rebounding. That plus a possible late free throw parade could send this one higher than Syracuse games usually get. Not an actively bet game from the Wise Guys. Most will be scouting this game to evaluate how the winner will perform against TCU.
I’m on a 10-5-2 run the past several days in the college basketball postseason. Tuesday I have one release in the NCAA’s and one in the NIT. You can purchase my nightly BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. I’ll do my best to make sure it pays for you to have a friend in Las Vegas during the most exciting sports betting weeks of the year. You regulars know this is my favorite sport to handicap and bet. I’ve been waiting all year for March Madness to begin!
Thanks for reading. See you again later this week for more tournament coverage.