Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 8:06 PM
We’ve been monitoring the lines in Las Vegas and offshore, and burning up the phones to make sure we could report to you what sharps were thinking about Saturday basketball with a special Friday evening report. We have some information for you. Let’s run through the eight tournament matchups site by site.
SATURDAY’S GAMES IN PITTSBURGH
The first game of the day is Kansas State-Syracuse. Sharps hit the underdog at the opener of +5.5, bringing it down to +5. There’s definitely skepticism about Syracuse going deep given their recent level of play. But sharps didn’t drive below that five. That could suggest they’re thinking more about fading Syracuse in the Sweet 16 more aggressively rather than stepping in here.
Ohio State plays Gonzaga in the second game. Note that BOTH of these games in Pittsburgh will be national telecasts with no competition from other games. This creates the possibility for a lot of game day action from the public that could bring the sharps out more aggressively. Ohio State got early support at an opener of -7, with the line now at -7.5 in most places, with some -8’s out there as go to press. Ohio State is a public team, so the sharps who liked the Buckeyes knew they had to act early. Gonzaga backers will wait to see what the public does.
Note that there was heavy early interest on the Over in OSU-Gonzaga, with an opener of 134.5 being bet up to 136.5.
SATURDAY’S GAMES IN LOUISVILLE
The first game is actually a pretty late starter. Marquette opened at -4.5 vs. Murray State and was bet up to -5. Some of that may be position-taking in anticipation of public money on the better known favorite. The total flew from 140 to 142 right away, with apparent sentiment to take it even higher. A lot more Over interest this year from sharps than Under interest thus far in the Dance.
Kentucky will be playing in prime time against Iowa State. You know that has “square” written all over it. Sharps bet the Wildcats at -10.5 and -11. We’re now seeing -11.5. This could be early position-taking given the potential for game day moves and middles. But, we’re hearing many sharps do like the matchup advantage here for the #1 team in the country. The Over was hit here too, with an opener of 138.5 being bet up to 140.
SATURDAY’S GAMES IN ALBUQUERQUE
Vandy and Wisconsin tip off a session that starts late in the afternoon. Vandy opened as a 1-point favorite. We’re now seeing pick-em in most places at press time. So, interest in the Badgers, but not enough yet to make them a favorite.
Baylor opened at -7 and was bet up to -8 against Colorado. Possibly position-taking here as well on a major conference favorite. But we are hearing there’s a lot of skepticism from sharps about Colorado being able to keep things going for one more game. Not much happening yet on either total…which may suggest Under bets from sharps on game day. They hit Overs early because the public generally bets Overs or passes totals. Under players are waiting to see if they get any better numbers.
SATURDAY’S GAMES IN PORTLAND
Louisville’s stayed at a fairly solid -1 vs. New Mexico. Though, sentiment generally favors the Cards from what we’ve been hearing. It’s just not strong sentiment. The total is up a point from 127 to 128. That’s the lesson for today. And, it’s one you’ve heard often before. If you like favorites or Overs, bet early. If you like dogs or Unders, give the public a chance to move the line.
VCU and Indiana finish off the schedule. Can you guess what’s happened given today’s theme? Indiana opened at -5 but was bet up to -5.5 or -6. The total opened at 137.5 and was bet up to 138.5
We’ll be back again late Saturday to look at sharp indicators in Sunday’s eight games. We’d like to remind you that the VegasSportsMasters will ride some sharp moves, but aren’t afraid to go against them if they believe the line has moved too far. Be sure you check in with your favorite handicapper(s) Saturday morning for guidance on what to do at game day prices.