Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 4:08 PM
As promised we’re back to take a look at what sharps were thinking in Friday’s action in the NCAA tournament. There may not have been as much activity for this set of 16 games as there was for Thursday’s slate. But, we still have some important moves to talk about. Let’s take the sites in schedule order.
FRIDAY’S GAMES IN GREENSBORO
Sharps weren’t very active in this hunk of games. The biggest team side move was on Alabama against Creighton. The Tide opened at pick-em, and was bet up to -1.5 even though they were the #9 seed and Creighton was the #8 seed. No other relevant team sides move in the grouping.
On the totals, sharps liked the Under in Xavier/Notre Dame quite a bit at the opener. A line of 126 was bet down to 124 where it finally settled.
Part of the reason this group was quiet was because of the double digit spreads afforded to North Carolina and Duke in their openers. Sharps would have bet Lehigh had oddsmakers not given them enough respect. But, an opener of Duke -12 in a 2-15 game was very low by historical standards, and correctly anticipated sharp sentiment.
FRIDAY’S GAMES IN COLUMBUS
The biggest mover here was in the early game. Sharps absolutely loved NC State at pick-em, -1, and even -2 vs. San Diego State. This surprised many because NC State is a #1 seed, while San Diego State is a #6. Oddsmakers were right in thinking that the seedings were wrong, but they were wrong about what it would take to blunt sharp money. We’re hearing from a few sources that the “bad body clock” issue was in play for some sharps here, as San Diego State will be tipping before 10 a.m. body time in this early starter. Though, we don’t want to suggest that was the only reason. SDSU didn’t close the season very impressively, while NC State almost knocked off North Carolina on a neutral court last weekend.
Other moves of note, Michigan State opened at -19, but was bet up to -20 in their projected blowout of Long Island. Saint Louis received dog respect at +4 in their very tough opener against Memphis. That line was bet down to +3, even though many TV pundits are picking Memphis to reach the Sweet 16. The total in that game was bet up from 128 to 129.5
FRIDAY’S GAMES IN NASHVILLE
The big move here came in the last known matchup. South Florida’s Wednesday Night victory over California earned them a showdown with Temple. Oddsmakers opened the game at Temple -6…only to see sharps POUND South Florida with abandon. The game quickly fell all the way to Temple -2.5 where it’s been sitting for awhile. No buy back on Temple even with the middle opportunity.
Why such a big move? Temple didn’t impress in the A10 tournament…and then A10 teams didn’t impress in the NIT. That’s part of the issue. South Florida was in decent form down the stretch too…earning some late season signature wins that got them into the Dance (even if it was just barely).
The other big move in this quadrant was a total play. The Under in St. Bonaventure/Florida State was popular (which was no surprise given the defenses here). An opener of 132 was bet down to 129.5.
FRIDAY’S GAMES IN OMAHA
The big team side move here was on St. Mary’s. They opened at +1 vs. Purdue even though they enjoyed the superior seed on the Dance card. Sharps bet St. Mary’s up to -1.5. The total was hit hard too, as an opener of 138 was bet up to 140.
The other team side move of note in Omaha came on Florida. An opener of -2 against Virginia was bet up to -3.5. Billy Donovan has the respect of quite a few sharps given his past history in the tournament.
One additional total to mention. Norfolk State/Missouri opened at 146 and was bet down to 144.5. Odd to see an Under with Missouri’s style of play. But, 146 was a steep opener for tournament style basketball.
That’s it for Friday’s games. We’re currently planning a very late Friday or early Saturday report for Saturday’s eight games once the sharps have made their intent clear. We’ll be monitoring early moves closely (the public is in town, but they’re still typically slower to the mark than sharps are in terms of hitting the openers). And, we’ll be in constant touch with our sources in Las Vegas and offshore.
Now, the fact that the sharps are on a team side or total doesn’t mean that your VSM experts are going to be in complete agreement. In fact, the right choice is sometimes buying back the move for value after it’s happened. Be sure you stay in constant touch with your favorite handicappers so you can have the right teams…at the right prices…for the right amount of units.
We hope you make an effort to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp all through the Big Dance. We’ll see you again right here in this space very soon…